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Last Updated: Friday, 6 May, 2005, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Labour kicked out of Reading East
Tory Rob Wilson
Rob Wilson won Reading East by 475 votes
Labour has been kicked out of Reading East by the Tories after months of infighting that saw their sitting MP deselected by local activists.

With 15,557 votes, Tory Rob Wilson beat Labour's Tony Page by 475 votes.

He put his victory down to the split in the local Labour party and his own local credentials.

Meanwhile, Labour held onto Reading West but MP Martin Salter urged the government to learn from the number of votes protesting against the war.

Labour was split from top to bottom in Reading East and they have kept shooting themselves in the foot over the last couple of years
Rob Wilson

Mr Salter held onto the seat, but saw a 8.1% fall in his majority with a 5% swing to the Conservatives.

In Reading East, pundits had predicted a return to power for the Tories after Jane Griffiths was deselected after a series of rows with her local party workers.

Mr Wilson told the BBC News website: "We were pretty confident for about a year that we were going to win.

"The reasons were that I was a local candidate, was a local councillor and had run a number of local campaigns that people had supported.

"The second thing was that Labour was split from top to bottom in Reading East and they have kept shooting themselves in the foot over the last couple of years."

Martin Salter
Mr Salter called on the government to learn from the election downturn

Meanwhile Mr Salter said he avoided a poorer showing by also being a candidate with a strong reputation as a local campaigner who was "more independent of thought".

He told the BBC News website: "I am delighted to have achieved a majority which, whilst down on 2001, is still in excess of what I achieved in the landslide victory year of 1997.

"We should not lose sight of the fact that Labour has won a historic third term."

He added that Labour's lost support across the country was down to the war in Iraq, adding: "I bucked the trend to some extent by being a strong local campaigner and being independent of thought."





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