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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Britain may be facing a hung parliament but in Harrow East the result is clear – Conservative Bob Blackman is the new MP.

Labour’s Tony McNulty has lost his seat after 13 years, gaining 18,032 votes compared with Blackman’s 21,435.

However is was mixed news for Harrow as Labour’s Gareth Thomas held on to his Harrow West seat, beating off Dr. Rachel Joyce for first place with a majority of 3,143.

Full Results

Bob Blackman (Con)21435 (44.65%) 3403

Tony McNulty (Lb)18032 (37.56%)

Nahid Boethe (Lb Dem)6850 (14.27%) 
 
Abhijit Pandya (UKIP) 896 (1.87%)
 
Madeleine Atkins (Green) 93 (1.65%)
 
Harrow West

Gareth Thomas (Lab) 20,111

Dr Rachel Joyce (Con) 16,968 (36.79%)

Chris Noyce (Lib Dem) 7,458 (16.17%)

Herbert Crossman (UKIP) 954 (2.07%)

Rowan Langley (Green)  625 (1.36%)

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Weeks ago, when the 2010 campaign kicked off, the outcome looked like a dead cert. After Labour missed the opportunity to go to the country when they were riding high in the polls, the Conservative party were enjoying a place at the giddy heights of public popularity.

For a few days, that was it. 2010, the first national vote in half a decade and the election campaign that wasn’t.

But then came the televised debates, the rise of Nick Clegg and the shaky performance by David Cameron. Then came a gaffe in Rochdale, beheaded chickens, ‘revelations’ about the Lib Dem past. Then came the realisation that we live in a democracy, that our vote counts and that we have a say in Britain’s future.

This election, in Harrow at council and constituency level, is about choice. For some that choice emerges as between cuts and investment, for others between big state and big society, certainty versus unpredictability.

Stanmore Politics isn’t going to tell you how to vote. All I can do is offer the information, fairly and faithfully presented, about the scope of candidates appealing for your cross next to their name. Who gets that is for you to decide.

No, I won’t tell you who to vote for. But I will say this; use your vote.

Man or woman, old or young – at some time in history you may not have been able to. You can now, and tomorrow the result rests on you taking up that responsibility.

Neither of Harrow’s two constituencies are guarantees for any party, and your choice matters. Already, our electoral system enables power without equivalent mandate. The more people who turnout tomorrow, the more legitimate our next representation in council and parliament will be.

Whatever happens, Stanmore Politics will be on hand with the results as soon as they arrive. I wish good luck to all the candidates – regardless of personal views, serving the public is something few of us ever seek to do.

And remember, those results are not yet decided. Have your say, because you can make a difference. If you don’t speak up, you certainly won’t.

Confused about the vote tomorrow? Click here for the Stanmore Politics election guide.

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As regular Stanmore Politics readers may have noticed, there has been some controversy in the aftermath of last week’s Harrow East hustings.

Some in the audience felt Labour candidate Tony McNulty had slammed his UKIP opponent, Abhijit Pandya, as being ‘a BNP man in a suit’.

However McNulty has since asked to clarify his comments. He told Stanmore Politics:

“I said that given his comments, it was no wonder that people called the UKIP the BNP in a suit.

The incumbent MP also said he did not remark on Pandya’s roots, but wanted to make clear that ‘multiculturalism is about everyone celebrating their roots within a British context – not separatism’.

In 2005 UKIP won just 757 votes in Harrow East, a 1.8 per cent share.

Read the complete guide to Thursday’s elections here.

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As Stanmore Politics reported, yesterday saw a high profile visit by ex-prime minister Tony Blair to Harrow West.

 Blair dismissed the polls and spoke confidently about Labour’s chances, but not everyone in the media was convinced.

 Writing for the Telegraph, James Kirkup said the strangest thing was that Labour strategists thought the visit was a good idea.

“What propelled Mr Brown into No 10 in 2007 was antipathy to Mr Blair: voters, and especially Labour voters, had had enough of him, his grin and his interventionist wars.

“For those voters, Mr Brown’s principal offer was that he was not Tony Blair. What message does this send to them?”

The Guardian was more forgiving, running with the headline ‘Tony Blair’s tan brings much-needed glow to Labour on the road’, but went on to say:

“Blair’s appearance in Harrow West may indicate how worried Labour has become.

“A Tory victory in this seat would hand Cameron a majority of 84 – almost double Margaret Thatcher’s majority in 1979.”

Jim Pickard asked on the FT blog: ‘Tony Blair rides to the rescue’ but then added:

“I’ve put down a bet of £20 at Ladbrokes on a Tory win

“Blair said Labour still had a chance of winning. If you say so.”

For the Mail, the question was why Blair was not campaigning with Gordon Brown, adding:

“Mr Blair, who looked extremely thin but deeply tanned, offered only lukewarm support for his successor as he attended a clinic in Harrow.”

What do you think about Tony Blair visiting Harrow. Perfect pitch or last ditch? As always let Stanmore Politics know.

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