Hampstead and Kilburn: Convincing win for Tulip Siddiq but she mourns party’s losses
MP says Labour should take its time picking right leader
13 December, 2019 — By Richard Osley and Dan Carrier
Tulip Siddiq assesses the election night results with fellow Camden MP Sir Keir Starmer
HER seat used to hang on a knife-edge divided by just 42 votes, but for the second general election in a row, Labour’s Tulip Siddiq claimed an emphatic win in Hampstead and Kilburn this morning (Friday).
She had been warned that voters would not side with her this time due to her party’s stance on Brexit and its difficulties with anti-Semitism controversies.
But in the end, although Ms Siddiq’s majority was shaved fractionally, the result could hardly be considered close.
She walked away from this poll with a majority of 14,188, but is now among just 203 Labour MPs.
While there were the customary cheers at the count in the Somers Town Sports Centre, there was, however, little mood to celebrate among Labour campaigners.
Ms Siddiq said she was wearing black because she was in mourning for the party’s losses across the country which has handed the Conservatives a giant 80-seat majority in the House of Commons today.
Brexit, which Ms Siddiq has repeatedly voted against, now looks inevitable under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“There seemed a real sense of determination amongst people in Hampstead and Kilburn,” Ms Siddiq told the New Journal.
“People on the doorstep did mention my stance on Brexit. I’m glad my track record helped. But the national picture is devastating. It’s really hard to watch friends, one after another, being knocked out.”
She added: “There’s no doubt that we need to look and examine where we went wrong and how we win the country back, because I really don’t think our vulnerable communities can take another five years of Boris Johnson’s austerity.”
She repeated her pledge to vote against Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal but said opposition votes would not be able to stop it now.
With party leader Jeremy Corbyn announcing plans to stand down, she said “no way” when the New Journal asked her if she herself would consider standing for the leadership.
Ms Siddiq, a former Camden councillor, said Mr Corbyn could not have carried on after fighting two general elections without reaching Downing Street.
“I think a period of quiet reflection is probably a good thing,” she said. “I don’t think we should have a leadership contest too hastily. Let’s wait. Let’s reflect and let’s choose someone properly. We have to pick someone who speaks to all communities to go forward.”
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Ms Siddiq added: “There is no politician that deserves to be prime minister less than Boris Johnson. He doesn’t deserve to have all these seats, but he’s won it and it’s a shame on the Labour Party, a shame on all of us for not being able to stop him for our communities.”
Johnny Luk, the Conservative challenger, won the tug-of-war for second place with the Liberal Democrats; both parties had argued over who was the main opposition and both ended up with more than 13,000 votes.
Asked what he would tell residents in Camden who overwhelmingly voted to “remain” at the EU referendum, he said: “With a large majority, we’re going to be able to negotiate the best possible deal because one of the challenges we’ve had is that no matter what the EU proposes, we couldn’t pass it through parliament.”
He added: “I want to reassure people, not just in Hampstead and Kilburn but all over the UK that this will be a time of coming together. I have confidence that we’re going to do not just good, but great.” Mr Luk had been teased for spending time in other constituencies during the campaign.
But he said: “The Lib Dems were throwing the kitchen sink at it and pumping out five leaflets a week. They were probably spending 10 times more than we were. We were barely spending any money at all but even in these circumstances we showed we are the only ones who can beat Labour.”
Lib Dem candidate Matt Sanders said: “This constituency has actually sent a really clear message that it doesn’t want the Tory Brexit which is now going to be imposed on us. It’s really tragic and we have to keep fighting it.”
He conceded it had been a disappointing night for his party but said he had “increased our share of the vote” in Hampstead and Kilburn.