THERE were jubilant scenes in Bradford as Labour comfortably kept its three seats, putting to bed any talk of close races.

In a triumphant speech, Bradford East MP Imran Hussain said: “I have not seen results like this in a generation.”

But there will be soul-searching ahead for both the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, who lost their deposits in all three seats.

LIVE: Election night as it happened - our live reports from the Bradford district General Election counts

The Richard Dunn sports centre in Odsal hosted the count for Bradford South, East and West and the first result came in at around 3.15am.

Despite talk of a serious challenge from Conservative candidate Tanya Graham, Bradford South’s Labour incumbent Judith Cummins increased her majority to 6,700, winning more than half of all votes cast.

In her victory speech, Mrs Cummins said: “When I was elected I promised to put the interests of local people at the centre of everything I do. I think that that is reflected in tonight’s results.

“This election was called by a Prime Minister putting her own and her own party’s interests before the interests of our country.

“It was about so much more than Brexit. It was about the NHS, about cuts to police, about funding for education, about attacks to the savings of pensioners. The people of Bradford South have once again voted to reject what the Conservatives were proposing.”

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, Mrs Cummins said her celebration drink of choice would be a cup of tea.

She said she felt “tired, proud and humbled”.

Apart from Mrs Cummins and Ms Graham, all other candidates lost their deposit by failing to secure five per cent of the vote, including third place UKIP candidate Stephen Place, Stuart Thomas of the Liberal Democrats in fourth place, English Democrat Therese Hirst in fifth and Darren Parkinson of the Greens in sixth.

Next to declare was Bradford West, where talk of a close two-horse race between Labour incumbent Naz Shah and independent candidate Salma Yaqoob failed to materialise.

In the end, Ms Shah held her seat with ease, securing 64 per cent of the vote and increasing her majority to a massive 21,902.

Conservative George Grant beat Ms Yaqoob into third place, while the other five candidates lost their deposits.

Derrick Hodgson of UKIP came fourth, followed by Alun Griffiths of the Liberal Democrats, Celia Hickson of the Greens, and independents Khadim Hussain and Muhammad Hijazi, who had both withdrawn from the race and backed Ms Yaqoob.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Shah blasted Prime Minister Theresa May’s “arrogance and contempt for the electorate” for having called the snap election.

And on the tense and bitter race for Bradford West, she said: “I’d like to thank my fellow candidates. Each of you in your own way taught me how to fight political campaigns, some good, some bad.

“As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger so I thank you for making me a politician that’s now stronger than ever before.”

She then left the stage after only shaking hands with her Conservative and Liberal Democrat rivals.


Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus about having won two bruising election campaigns in two years, Ms Shah said: “It is great I can now get back to work. There were lots of things I was working on when they called this election.

“I think there will be lessons learned about the campaigns, and in due course I think we will reflect on this as being a sad chapter in politics. History will judge what happened in Bradford West on these campaigns.

“But the people of Bradford West have spoken and spoke very clearly, they chose hope over division.”

Ms Yaqoob – a self-professed fan of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - played down any disappointment, saying: “Of course it’s disappointing in terms of our campaign, but I’m actually delighted about what’s happened nationally. Jeremy Corbyn has absolutely smashed it.”

The last result of the night was Bradford East, where Labour’s Imran Hussain eclipsed the opposition, bagging a majority of more than 20,000 and attracting 65 per cent of the vote.

He gave an impassioned speech in which he said the Bradford district had rejected austerity at the ballot box.

He said: “For the last seven years we have had a Government that has stripped and starved Bradford, that has stripped and starved our vital services, that’s given our council massive cuts, disproportionate, unfair cuts while leafy suburbs have had increases, which has meant our youth centres, our community centres, our libraries, our swimming pools have been put at threat.”

Speaking afterwards to the Telegraph & Argus, he said he was “very, very tired” after a long campaign.

“I never take the electorate for granted,” he said. “I have knocked on a lot of doors.”

His nearest rival, Conservative candidate Mark Trafford, reflected on a “disappointing night for the Conservative Party”.

He said they seemed to have fallen victim to the vagaries of the constituency system, saying: “What is extraordinary is it seems we have 44 per cent of the vote nationally, which is the same Tony Blair got in 1997 and the same Margaret Thatcher got in her heyday.”

Independent candidate and former Lib Dem MP David Ward came a creditable third, although he wasn’t to be seen at Richard Dunn for the count.

All other candidates lost their deposit.

UKIP’s Jonathan Barras came fourth, knocking the Liberal Democrats’ Mark Jewell into fifth place, with independent Paul Parkins coming sixth and Green Party candidate Andy Stanford seventh.

After hearing all the results, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, said: “I’m delighted we’ve got the three Labour MPs in Bradford back in Westminster. On top of that we now have John Grogan winning a seat in Keighley, which is marvellous news.

“Together we are all going to make a great team, batting for the Bradford District in Parliament. We want to make sure people in Parliament sit up and take notice of Bradford.”

Ousted Keighley MP Kris Hopkins had made calls for Shipley and Keighley to break away from control of Bradford Council and form its own local authority. With Keighley now having a Labour MP, this seems less likely. Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “The Bradford District is better together. This district has the youngest population in the UK, which gives us significant advantages.

“We should make the most of this advantage and we shouldn’t spend time messing around with bureaucracy.”