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Friday, 8 June, 2001, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Jones loses to Conservative
Fiona Jones
Fiona Jones saw her 4,073 majority overturned
The former Labour MP for Newark, Fiona Jones, has lost her seat in the only Conservative gain in the East Midlands.

Ms Jones claimed she had been the victim of a vendetta.

In another upset in the region Tony Benn's former Chesterfield constituency fell to the Liberal Democrats.

Tory hopes of a revival collapsed and they failed to capture several key seats.

The big upset was in Newark where Fiona Jones' 3,016 majority was overturned by a Tory majority of 4,073.

Patrick Mercer and wife
Patrick Mercer won Newark for the Tories

She had worked hard to restore her political reputation, following her conviction for breaking election law on campaign expenses at the last election.

That conviction was eventually overturned by the Court of Appeal and her disqualification from the House of Commons lifted.

After the result last night she said she was disappointed not to be rejoining her Labour colleagues in the Commons and claimed she had been the victim of a vendetta in the constituency.

In Chesterfield, Derbyshire, targeted campaigning by the Liberal Democrats paid off.

Lib Dem win

A local teacher, Paul Holmes, took the Labour seat once held by Tony Benn.

It is now their only seat in the East Midlands.

The Conservatives failed to win back several marginal seats.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn has retired from the Commons

They included the suburban Broxtowe constituency in Nottingham, where Labour's Nick Palmer increased his majority.

In Gedling, in Nottinghamshire, Labour's Vernon Coaker almost doubled his majority to 5,598.

In Leicester East, the controversial Europe minister Keith Vaz had a comfortable victory, although there was a higher-than-average swing away from Labour.

Low turnout

In Rushcliffe, in Nottinghamshire, the former Conservative chancellor of the exchequer Ken Clarke saw his majority increase substantially.

There is now speculation growing about his role in the Tory Party leadership race.

Across the East Midlands, the picture was one of voter apathy.

Turnout was down almost 13% on 1997 and the lowest for 70 years .

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