GENERAL ELECTION 2017: Mark Hendrick makes it six of the best in Preston
Mark Hendrick was returned to Westminster as Preston MP for the sixth time - and with an even bigger majority.
Supporters whooped with delight as the man who has represented the city in Parliament since 2000 pulled off a staggering victory, polling 24,210 votes, more than 15,000 above Conservative candidate Kevin Beaty.
The margin of victory was 3,656 up on his majority two years ago.
His Tory opponent polled 8,487, while UKIP’s Simon Platt received 1,348 votes, beating Lib Dem candidate Neil Darby (1,204) and the Green Party’s Anne Power (348).
Later Mr Hendrick said he was “over the moon” with his thumping victory and would continue to serve the city with the same passion he had for the past 17 years.
“I thought, given the exit polls, that I was going to win,” he said.
“But the margin was ridiculous really. Nearly 16,000 - I could never have dreamed of that.
“Obviously there is a mood in the country where people are fed up by the same old mainstream politics.
“And, whilst I am not particularly a Jeremy Corbyn fan - I didn’t support him for the leadership - I think there is a tide of change out there and it is looking for Labour the change things.
“If you had said to me when I was elected in 2000 that I would be standing for six elections I would never have dreamed of it.
“I was happy to have the privilege to serve Preston in the first parliamentary term. But to get five more opportunities afterwards it a tremendous privilege.
“I am proud that I have been given that privilege and I will continue to do my best for the people I am representing.”
Conservative candidate Kevin Beaty, who came second - but 15,723 votes behind Mark Hendrick, said: “It was whopping majority, But we made gains as well and it’s all at UKIP’s expense.
“It turned out to be a two horse race and everyone else lost their deposits.”
Mark Hendrick (Lab) 24,210
Kevin Beaty (Con) 8,487
Simon Platt (UKIP) 1,348
Neil Darby (Lib Dem) 1,204
Anne Power (Green) 348