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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 04:05 GMT 05:05 UK
Smile wiped

By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

POSTED: Friday 6 May, 0255BST

It was one of the iconic moments of the 1997 election night - the sight of Steven Twigg's face when he ousted Tory star Michael Portillo.

"Were you up for Portillo" became a much heard cry after the poll.

Well it was a very different face Mr Twigg, now familiar as a schools minister, was wearing when the Tories came to reposess their seat in Enfield Southgate on election night 2005.

But another iconic moment - this time summing up what seemed to be happening to Labour across the country. That is, to coin Michael Howard's phrase, the smiles were being wiped off their faces.

Twiggs's defeat sums it up. He was a great MP and I voted for him both times in 1997 and 2001. But if you vote for Stephen, you're automatically voting for Blair, and I just couldn't do it. Sorry Stephen, but it's Blair's fault you weren't re-elected.
John Tracey, Winchmore Hill, Enfield

I think stephen twigg is one of the most committed and responsible mp's in this country's history and I am sad to see him being replaced, not least because he provided one of the funniest election night moments ever when he beat portillo in '97. I hope he comes back stronger and I wish him well.
jo, ware

I am truly sorry for Stephen Twigg who is a fantastic chap and has been hard working for the local community for which he represented. Unfortunately , it was not a personal thing that the voters did when they voted Conservative , they were voting for the party and not THE MAN. It's a real shame but this is what happens when you have a situation where local issues are overwhelmed with the nations issues eg a general election. I wish him all the best and good fortunes to Stephen Twigg in the future , he has the potential to become a future prime minister!
Ben Soydan, Southgate / Enfield

Sad for Steven perhaps, but hardly iconic. This seems to show two things. One, a lot of people regard Iraq as important and are prepared to change their voting patterns because of it. Two, most people still do not want the Conservatives in power. I don't think that very much more can actually be drawn from last night's results. After all, there is (practically speaking) very little "blue water" between either of the two main parties any more.
Rob Miles, Barnet, Herts

I'm glad Mr Twigg has finally been removed as MP for Enfield Southgate. From my own personal experience of him (after speaking and writing to him), I found him to be just another spineless career politician who touts the party line without standing up for his constituents' grievances!
JN, Southgate, London

The smiles certainly won't be "wiped off their faces". The reduced majority of the Labour victory shouldn't worry Blair. With the Civil Contingencies Act now in place he can declare a totalitarian state any time he chooses. It's 1933 all over again...
Tyler, London

I agree with Matt. I live in Enfield Southgate and this a truly terrible result. Stephen Twigg was a fantastic MP who worked hard for local people. Voters became too side tracked with the Blair credibility problem and fell for a set of false promises from a single issue party. I wish Mr Twigg well in whatever he decides to do and hope he remains in public life. Pity he'll probably never be my MP again though.
Michelle , London

This is a terrible result for Enfield and a result of Labour supporters protesting with a Lib Dem vote. Unfortunately it has resulted in the loss of one of the most hard-working and ambitious MPs who has done a lot for Enfield. I am regretting my own vote as I know are others. I hope Mr Twigg is around in four years when the Iraq issue will not impair judgement.
Matt, London

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