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So the dust has settled: Tony McNulty is out and Bob Blackman is in. Gareth Thomas fought off Rachel Joyce and despite Cleggmania there were no significant gains for the Lib Dems. 

The web is buzzing with views on the result of the 2010 election in Harrow, so here is Stanmore Politics with the most interesting theories:

All down to Boris: When London went blue to years ago it certainly boosted the Conservatives. And as the mayor himself told Evening Standard journalist Paul Waugh: “I would say it’s Boris wot won it in areas such as Harrow East.”

  Elsewhere, blogger Boris Watch disagrees, noting that where there were high profile Labour losses – in Harrow East or in Brentford and Isleworth for Ann Keen – it was more about constituency record and expenses.

“So where does this leave Boris?  Well, when elected he was supposed to use his charisma to deliver London to Cameron, which would have won him the Premiership.  

“Instead Boris has been decidedly low-profile [...] where Labour seats were lost there appear to have been extraneous factors like an undefendably low majority or expenses scandals rather than a Boris Halo

Paying the price? The majority of commentators have argued that McNulty’s loss – and conversely Gareth Thomas’ win – comes down to expenses.

The Telegraph raged ‘disgraced MPs are driven out by angry voters’ while the Scotsman noted ‘the expenses scandal claimed another victim’ and the Daily Mail waved ‘Cheerio to those cheats’.

One commenter on the blog ThisisBigBrother wrote: “This bunch of sleaze merchants refused to resign but justice has now been done!”

Tory trouble? Lest we forget, both Harrow East and West were Conservative before 1997, but while new Labour has been well and truly decimated Gareth Thomas held on with a respectable majority. Helped by some boundary changes, why did his opponent Rachel Joyce – a very credible candidate – not boot him out too?

The Telegraph’s London Editor Andrew Gilligan  writes that ‘it was also due to a patchy performance by the Tories’ and comments:

“First, candidates clearly mattered in this election. And unlike Boris in 2008, Cameron has not broken through to the working class, in the capital at least.”

The Times notes that this was ‘a terrible night for science’, something that had Dr Joyce been elected, would have been slightly less the case.

Lib Dem loss? Days ago, the Lib Dems under Nick ‘British Obama’ Clegg were tipped by all the pundits and polls to come second in the popular vote, and certainly improve their share of seats. In Harrow, not much changed.

Neil Midgley, the Telegraph’s assistant media editor said: “If you look at the opinion polls at the start of the campaign, and the final results, they are very similar.

“In other words: all that TV hoopla had pretty much no impact on the overall final result at all.

“Of course, individual voters may have switched to and fro based on what they saw on the TV. But the individual constituency results that are striking tend to be so (Jacqui Smith, Tony McNulty) because of the MPs’ expenses scandal”

Green candidate Rowan Langley notes happily: “in Harrow our own supporters turned out to take that leap of faith on the Green candidates, on the ballot paper for the first time, 625 in Harrow West and 793 Harrow East.”

What did Twitter think? One of the sad parts about the defeats of McNulty and Joyce is that Harrow now has even less political representation on twitter. But that didn’t stop the local Twitterati from having their say:

@bigpantywoman: “Wish lab had put up new people in  [sic] Smith and Tony McNulty’s seats, must have known wd lose” 

@MarcusDysch_JC: “The electorate knows what it is doing. Had given the likes of Tony McNulty and Jacqui Smith a kick in balls where they deserved one. Good.”

@alextingle “I agreed most with Christopher Noyce (Liberal Democrats) in Harrow West – how about you?”

@reporterboy “Tony McNulty was cheerful and polite throughout the night, and still so despite the clear dejection of defeat. Respect for that from me.”

@mattgodbolt “Yay! Tony McNulty is no longer my MP. Conservatives got in, not my choice but not a total disaster”

@ilyine “Tony McNulty is goneski.”

Labour swept back to victory on Harrow council this week, overturning the Conservatives majority with a ten seat gain.

 But what do the results mean for all the different parties? Who were the winners and who were the losers of the local elections this year?

 Labour:

With their eye on defending the constituency seats (which saw mixed results for them as  Tony McNulty lost his seat) it seems the party weren’t expecting to storm back to power and certainly not quite so decisively.

Councillor Bill Stephenson claimed he was ‘shell shocked’ about the result.

 There were big wins across the borough for the party, including a clean sweep of seats in Queensbury and West Harrow.

 Conservatives:

While a good day for the party nationally, they lost their majority, including forfeiting seats in Rayners Lane and typically blue Harrow-on-the-Hill, where two Labour candidates made it on to the council.

 Notable casualties include Kenton West’s Jeremy Zeid (who had a razor thin majority of six votes to defend) and Headstone North’s Eric Silver. This election also marked the end of an era as former council leader and 2005 parliamentary candidate David Ashton and his wife Marilyn, who held the Stanmore Park ward, both stepped down.

 Stanmore Park remains a wholly Conservative ward.

 Lib Dems:

It seems the Clegg effect didn’t do much for Harrow. Nahid Boethe and Chris Noyce both came third in the constituency votes, but the party only managed one seats on the council.

 Independents:

Independent candidate, James Bond, managed a not unsurprising victory and ousted Mayor Eric Silver.

Bill Stephenson: Elected on to council in is likely to become the next council leader, to be voted on by cabinet next month.

 You:

Largely because the local and general elections coincided, turnout was up this year, meaning more people in Harrow had their say. Whatever you think of the result, that is an undoubtedly positive outcome.

Council results

Labour has indeed taken back the majority on the council, with Bill Stephenson expected to be chosen as leader next month.

Results:

Labour – 34 (+10)
Conservatives – 27 (-8)
Lib Dems – 1 (-1)
Independent – 1 (-1)

Further election analysis to follow shortly.

The end of the day has brought better news for Harrow Labour, as it appears they have taken back the majority on the council.

After the news that Tony McNulty lost his seat to Bob Blackman, the Harrow Times is reporting that Conservatives have not enjoyed the same success in the local elections.

A recount is currently going on but it seems Labour are in the lead with 31 seats to The Conservatives 27.

This will remove the majority the party won four years ago, with council stalwarts like Eric Silver set to lose power.

Former Harrow council leader David Ashton had retired at this election.

Harrow East’s newly elected MP has spoken about his win.

Bob Blackman, victorious on his fourth attempt to gain a parliamentary seat, hailed it as a rejection of Labour locally and nationally.

Conservative Blackman, who resigned from Brent council to stand in Harrow, said he hoped this would be the dawn of ‘an even better age and a better time’.

 He said: “I look forward to serving the people of Harrow East.”

Paying tribute to ‘concientious former MP Tony McNulty , who he ousted with a majority of 3,403, he said “I do know what it is like to lose an election.

“He must be feeling pretty rough now.

“I would like to be as diligent as he was if not more so.”

McNulty commented that Harrow East had not heard the last of Labour.

“Anyone who thinks this is a good result for the Conservatives locally or nationally needs their head examined.”

Harrow saw high turnout for the general and local election yesterday with more than two thirds of voters having their say.

The borough beat the national average with 67.5 per cent turnout, a figure which rose to 74.3 in Headstone North ward.

Three quarters of postal votes were returned and for the council election, 65.1 per cent voted.

Last night saw one of the longest counts for Harrow in memory.

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