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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Tory misery in Yorkshire
William Hague
William Hague will continue as MP for Richmond
It was a night of misery for the Conservatives in Yorkshire as they failed to make any impact on Labour's dominance, says Rod Jones of BBC Leeds.

Remarkably, not a single seat changed hands in the whole of Yorkshire in the 2001 election.

That fact itself was a devastating blow to Tory hopes.

It helped to precipitate the departure of the region's most high profile Conservative, the party leader and Richmond MP William Hague.


We have not done enough to convince the people that they should be for us

Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative MEP
In order to make any inroads into Labour's massive majority, the Tories desperately needed to win back constituencies like Shipley, Scarborough and Whitby, Colne Valley and Leeds North West.

These places, which were once regarded as safe Conservative seats, were swept away in the landslide of 1997.

In the event, Labour held on to power in all of them.

Timothy Kirkhope, the Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber said: "We have not done enough to convince the people that they should be against the government and that they should be for us".

Tories rebuffed

Labour did suffer a reversal just over the border in North Derbyshire.

Chesterfield had been held by Labour for 70 years, the last 14 of them by the veteran left-winger Tony Benn.

Vote counting
Less than 57 per cent of people voted in Yorkshire
Mr Benn retired when the election was called, and by the early hours of June 8 Chesterfield had fallen to the Liberal Democrat Paul Holmes.

The Lib Dems were also heartened by the ease with which they fought off Tory challenges in two seats which they won for the first time in 1997.

Richard Allan won Sheffield Hallam comfortably and Phil Willis increased his majority in Harrogate & Knaresborough by 2,500.

But, amid the mixture of jubilation and despair, there was one statistic likely to worry most candidates who took part in the election.

Fewer than 57 per cent of people bothered to vote - a drop of 11.6 per cent on 1997.

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