Conservatives clean up in Westminster

PUBLISHED: 12:03 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:03 07 September 2010

CONSERVATIVE Party candidate Kit Malthouse romped home to an overwhelming victory in Thursday's vote, winning the West Central constituency seat on the London Assembly

Susanna Wilkey

CONSERVATIVE Party candidate Kit Malthouse romped home to an overwhelming victory in Thursday's vote, winning the West Central constituency seat on the London Assembly.

He secured more than half the vote from the constituency which incorporates the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

Contesting a safe Tory seat, his mood at the count in Olympia was relaxed throughout the day - whereas the spirits of Labour supporters plummeted when the news came through that Boris Johnson was likely to win the mayoralty.

While the Tories rejoiced, MP for Regent's Park and Westminster North, Karen Buck, worried for her constituents - but did not think the result would affect her seat at the next general election.

"I think it is impossible to tell for this seat at the next election because the borders have been redrawn. But all the evidence shows that people do not vote the same in local elections as a general election," Ms Buck said. "The thing that worries me about Boris winning is the implication for the people in my area, people who need housing and depend on public transport.

"One of the things I have fought hardest for is housing and Boris has said he is going to drop the 50 per cent targets completely, which is awful when we need it so badly."

But Conservative parliamentary candidate for Westminster North, Joanne Cash, said: "Boris's victory is tremendous news for London.

"It is clear from his appointments that Boris has serious and exciting plans for this great city.

"However, as the parliamentary candidate, the events of the past week change nothing.

"I am confident that a Johnson mayoralty will have a positive impact upon the lives of people throughout London.

"But, on a day-to-day basis, I will simply continue to work as hard as possible for the residents of Westminster North."

Voters in West Central voted for Mr Johnson with a massive majority, as well as voting for the Conservative candidate on their London-wide choice.

Murad Qureshi came second but was elected as an Assembly member through the London-wide vote.

Green candidate Julia Stephenson came third and Lib Dem Merlene Emerson came fourth.

Winner Mr Malthouse said: "We have a formidable team here and, with three Conservative councils, I think it will work very well.

"There are two preliminary objectives which come from what I have learned during the campaign - a big education project to tell people about what the London Assembly does and what it is for, and to bring everyone in London together - the suburbs and the inner city so everyone identifies themselves as Londoners.

"It is a brilliant result for the Conservatives but it is also a brilliant result for London politics."

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