Southport has been hailed as “one of the best performances for Labour in the country”, bucking the national trend of the general election as the party’s vote rose considerably in the constituency.
In an election that proved to be disappointing for many Labour supporters with the party losing voter share across the country, Southport Labour and its parliamentary candidate Liz Savage actually made significant gains, polling nearly 19,000 votes in total.
Despite ultimately losing on the night, the Labour vote here went up by 6.4% on the previous general election in 2017. The Conservatives also gained ground however and held onto the seat.
In yet another disastrous showing, the Liberal Democrats saw their vote crumble once again to continue a decade of steep decline locally.
It was the strength of the Labour vote in Southport though that stood out, with only two constituencies across the country doing better in terms of both vote share gain and overall vote for Labour – Bradford West and Portsmouth South, both already Labour held.
Buckingham also had a better vote share gain but with a far lower total number of votes polled, less than 8,000, meaning Southport has a strong case for Labour’s best non-defensive result nationally.
Liz Savage says that despite the defeat, she’s immensely proud of the campaign fought and how far Labour support in the town has come in a short time:
“I’d like to thank everyone who has voted for me. We didn’t quite get there this time but just four and a half years ago when I first stood here, the Labour vote in Southport was languishing at just over 4,000 and now it’s just under 19,000.”
“That’s a testimony to the hard work and dedication of local Labour campaigners and councillors and I’d like to thank them also.”
“The Brexit Party stood aside here in this election to allow the Conservative candidate unfettered access to the Leave vote, we needed the Liberal Democrats to show the same commitment.”
“Despite knowing their vote was crumbling and all the advice from the tactical voting sites and the People’s Vote campaign, they refused to do so.”
“For the second general election in succession, they have split the anti-Tory vote here allowing the Conservatives through the middle and they have to own that for the next five years.”
“At least it is abundantly clear to everyone now that the Lib Dems are a spent force here and that Southport is not even a three-way marginal any more but a straight contest between us and the Tories, as we have been saying for some time.”
“Naturally I’m disappointed, not least for all the local residents who have suffered since 2010, but this result provides a rock-solid platform to build from.”
“It is the best ever vote for Labour in Southport and exceeded the winning vote for Damien Moore last time and John Pugh in two of his elections. We will move on from here.”
Southport Labour Chair Mhairi Doyle commented:
“It wasn’t quite enough but the context is also very important. To have come so far since 2015 is remarkable for us and to have produced one of the best performances for Labour in the country in this election is very heartening.”
“Nationally, we will learn the lessons from the result but I do find it rather odd that the media and Tories were saying this election was all about Brexit and now it seems they are trying to claim it wasn’t.”
“While there may have been some other elements at play, there is no doubt in my mind what the overriding factor was and now the Conservatives have to make it work – given some of their wild promises, it will be a very tall order.”
“I firmly believe that come the next general election, and after what will sadly prove to be a further period of great difficulty for many under this Tory government, Labour will win in Southport and across the country.”