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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 07:25 GMT 08:25 UK
Labour restrict their Kent losses
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Derek Wyatt
Derek Wyatt's majority dropped from 3,509 to less than 100
Labour held on to three of their Kent constituencies with majorities of less than 300 votes - all of them after at least one recount.

Derek Wyatt held Sittingbourne and Sheppey with a majority of just 79 votes after two recounts.

Medway's Bob Marshall-Andrews won with a majority of 213 while in Gillingham Paul Clark had a majority of 254.

Labour lost just one of the eight seats they were defending in Kent - Gravesham, where Chris Pond lost.

There were wins for Labour in Dover and Deal, Dartford, Thanet South and Chatham and Aylesford.

Conservative Adam Holloway beat Labour's Chris Pond, a junior minister who had been Gravesham MP since 1997, after another recount.

Mr Pond put his defeat down to rural controversy, saying the constituency had voted against him because of issues like the ban on fox hunting.

New Gravesham MP Mr Holloway said he would begin serving his constituents on local issues of crime and disorder.

"We have lost control of the streets and people know we've got to get them back," he said.

"I don't know the answer, I don't know how you do that.

"But you know what, we've actually got to start looking because in 10 years time this place is going to look pretty bad if we don't do something about it."

Mr Holloway is also the first Gravesham MP in nearly 100 years who has not represented the winning party at the general election.

Gwyn Prosser, Dover and Deal MP
Gwyn Prosser won his third election for Labour in Dover and Deal

Derek Wyatt, who has held Sittingbourne and Sheppey for Labour since 1997, had earlier said he thought he had lost.

The first count was reported to have shown the Conservative candidate Gordon Henderson with a very small lead and Mr Wyatt had been heard telling his staff he thought he had lost.

But after a third count he emerged as the winner with the majority slashed to just 79 from the 3,509 it stood at in 2001.

Bob Marshall-Andrews had also said he had lost his Medway seat, loudly blaming Tony Blair before winning after a recount.

Paul Clark in Gillingham had previously held a majority of more than 2,000 but beat off the Conservative challenge by just 254 votes.

Paul Clark, Gillingham MP
Paul Clark held Gillingham with a majority cut to just 254

In Dover and Deal, Gwyn Prosser, MP since 1997, held the seat with a slightly reduced majority.

Dr Howard Stoate won Dartford with a reduced majority of 706 - down from 3,306 in 2001.

Jonathan Shaw's victory in Chatham and Aylesford also came with a reduced majority - 2,232 compared with 4,340.

Conservative leader Michael Howard, whose own seat of Folkestone and Hythe is in Kent, said earlier this year he thought his party could win every seat in the county, but Labour have held on to seven of the eight they were defending.



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