The 2017 General Election may not have gone as well as the Conservatives had hoped nationally, but in West Suffolk Matthew Hancock had a more than comfortable victory.
Mr Hancock won 62.2 per cent of the vote, a rise of 9 per cent on 2015 as he polled 31,649 votes to increase his majority from 14,684 to 17,063 and win his third general election since 2010.
Although Labour’s Michael Jefferys saw his share of the vote rise by 10.7 per cent from the 8,604 votes he won two years ago to the 14,586 this time around in coming second, he still came nowhere near loosening the Blue stranglehold on West Suffolk.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Hancock said: “I’m delighted to have increased my majority. I work hard as the MP to represent everybody and I’m glad to have got an increasing level of support and more people backing me and I’m looking forward to carrying on with that work.
“Improving the A1307 is very important and I’m working with the new mayor of Cambridge on the potential for a railway which is an exciting idea that’s in it’s early stages and that’s got a lot of support in town.
“Then there is the town centre redevelopment plan, so there’s a lot of positive things that we need to get done and my job is to listen to everybody and represent everybody and try to make it happen.
“I’m pleased that more people have chosen to put their cross in my box, it gives me a heavy duty to deliver to them as Haverhill’s voice in Parliament.
“I try to work with everybody and that’s how I’ve got to do the job.”
While Labour and Conservatives saw their share of the votes rise healthily in West Suffolk the opposite was true for UKIP as Julian Flood received just a 4.6 per cent share of the vote, way down on the 21.7 per cent he got in 2015.
It was an outcome that was typical of the national picture for UKIP, whose popularity at the polling booths plummeted from the levels that it was at two years ago.
Liberal Democrat candidate Elfreda Tealby-Watson and Green Party hopeful Donald Allwright also saw their percentages of the vote drop from two years ago.
In the South Suffolk constituency, which includes Clare, the Conservatives held on as James Cartlidge received a whopping 60.5 per cent of the vote to register 32,829 votes, compared to 27,546 in 2015
As in West Suffolk, Labour offered the sternest competition as Emma Bishton won 15,080 votes (27.8 per cent share). an increase of more than 5,000 from two years previously.
Mr Cartlidge, a 43-year-old father of four said he was delighted to be reelected and promised to look into housing and policing in his constituency.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed with the result. I never thought we would achieve over 60 per cent of the vote.
“I am so encouraged to receive such a strong endorsement from local constituents.
“My pledge is to continue being a good constituency MP and to work for all my constituents regardless of who they voted for.
“I was very pleased our vote went up, some of this was to do with us personally and partly to do with the national swing.
“A number of people on my campaign trail said I was doing a good job locally, even if they were not voting for me.”
Mr Cartlidge also complimented Mrs Bishton as she increased the Labour vote percentage, saying she had been a good candidate and had done well for the party.
The other parties all lost votes on the night with UKIP falling from third to fifth in the constituency.
Aidan Powlesland picked up 1,449 votes, compared to Steven Whalley’s 7,897 in 2015.
Liberal Democrat Andrew Aalers-Dunthorne received 3,154 votes, compared to 4,044 for the Lib Dems in 2015 as his party finished third.
Green Party candidate Robert Lindsay also lost votes, picking up 1,723 this year compared to 2,253 in 2015.
Mr Cartlidge, who cited policing and housing as his two main local concerns, ensured his constituents the work of Government would continue, with it being in the best interests of the country to form a Government to ensure political and financial stability.