Jo Platt makes history becoming Leigh's first female MP
Jo Platt made history to become Leigh's first female MP as Labour held the seat with a reduced majority.
Ms Platt, who was contesting the constituency after Andy Burnham became Greater Manchester Mayor, polled 26,347 votes off a turnout of 61.6 per cent.
However, Conservative challenger James Grundy ended up less than 10,000 behind with 16,793.
The Ukip vote suffered a dramatic decline, with Mark Bradley getting 2,783 votes, while Lib Dem Richard Kilpatrick polled 951.
Voters flocked to the polls as turnout was up two per cent on the 2015 contest and fast counting at Leigh Leisure Centre meant the result was announced at about 1.15am.
In her victory speech Ms Platt said people in Leigh simply failed to recognise the benefits of the “strong and stable government” the Conservatives were claiming.
She said: “Today the people of Leigh have spoken, They are shocked about the rise of homelessness on their streets.
“They are rightly concerned for our children’s education and the drastic cuts to our services.
“They are rightly concerned about pensions and social care, and they are rightly concerned about cuts to our much-loved public services, the NHS and the police.
“I will use my voice in Parliament to address these issues for the whole of the constituency.
“The Labour Party campaign has been positive. It’s about bringing our communities, our businesses, our people together, creating opportunities for everyone no matter what their background.
“Thank you Leigh. The hard work starts now.”
She also thanked her campaign team and Leigh residents for “putting their faith” in her as MP as well as praising her predecessor Mr Burnham, saying he would be missed.
Ms Platt also joked it was even more special as it came just hours after Leigh Centurions defeated Wigan Warriors in the Super League.
Mr Grundy hailed the result as one of the best achieved by the Conservatives in the constituency.
He said: “To get almost 17,000 votes for a Conservative in Leigh is a remarkable result. The closest I can remember was about 13,00 in 1992.
“The policies we have run have proved popular locally and while there’s still a sense of loyalty now people know Labour can be challenged I intend to fight again next time.”
Full result: Jo Platt (Lab) 26,347; James Grundy (Cons) 16,793; Mark Bradley (Ukip) 2,783; Richard Kilpatrick (Lib Dem) 951.