General Election 2019: Barclay demolishes all before him with a stonking 29,993 majority in NE Cambs
- Credit: Archant
If TV was to ever recast the 1970s sitcom The Glums, they could do no better than to have trawled the Hudson leisure centre in the early hours for suitable contenders.
Pa Glum? That would be Rupert Moss-Eccardt, the angst ridden Lib Dem candidate for NE Cambs, prowling the bitterly cold and unwelcoming sports hall in search of whatever faint consolation the night could offer.
For one moment he smiled, boyishly and almost euphorically after a debate with the returning officer Paul Medd over the validity of a voting slip on which someone had scrawled 'ha ha' against his Conservative opponent Steve Barclay.
Labour's Diane Boyd and her small, huddled group of supporters looked too for some consolatory moments from the wreckage of their campaign. They were nigh impossible to find.
But for Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay it was an altogether different story. No need for him to be too early to the count - the exit polls had offered assurance of another term and it was very much a procedural few hours to go through prior to the result being declared. The obligatory cheer as he arrived with his wife Karen was almost ritualistic.
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Fenland Council leader Chris Boden gleefully, and in hushed tones, shared moments of glee with Conservative colleagues as they monitored the voluminous piles of Tory votes from across the districts. He left early, his days as agent now but a dim and distant memory and he slipped out, with only a cursory nod to the cluster of fellow Conservatives chortling with delight as they watched on TV the cataclysmic destruction that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was effecting across the country.
It was only a matter of the margin of victory that needed to be established - and that of course in Fenland is not something that is ever done expeditiously.
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"The exit poll was a disappointment," remarked Rupert. "It would appear that Labour, by being a bit nasty to us, have generally helped the Conservatives do better."
And in a classic moment of understatement felt that "the Tories have done better than one might otherwise have thought."
His pragmatism steered him back to considering the financial consequences with the thought that "I am fairly confident we will not lose our deposit".
For Ms Boyd the evening was one of feeling "sad and disappointed" but with many seats elsewhere still to declare felt remaining optimistic was probably best. We parted before the true horror of her party's slow descent into the abyss was exposed.
Of the future she hopes NE Cambs "won't always be seen as a safe Conservative seat. "Nationally I thought we had a really good manifesto but Brexit dominated this campaign."
For the winner the spoils - and with magnanimity available to him in huge doses, Mr Barclay felt it was a clear message on Brexit. People were promised and saw members of Parliament do everything possible to stop it, he said.
"I think the result tonight sends out a very clear message to get Brexit done and to move the country forward."
He added:" I always fight positive campaigns and we've done that again."
A flurry of interviews followed but in truth by 4.30am his mind was elsewhere - no doubt pondering a summons to No 10 and whether his CV for work done on Brexit is near the top, middle or, heaven forbid, wedged underneath the rest in the PM's inbox.
* Barclay, Stephen Paul (Con) 38,423
* Boyd, Diane Ruth (Lab) 8,430
* Johnson, Ruth Margaret (Green) 1,813
* Moss-Eccardt, Rupert William (Lib Dem) 4,298
Tory majority: 29,993
Turn out: 63.56 per cent