EAST DEVON: Conservatives narrowly take Exmouth and Exeter East with 121 vote majority

Conservative candidate David Reed has won the new Exmouth and Exeter East (triple E) seat for his party with a nail-biting 121 majority.

Mr Reed secured 14,728 votes, narrowly beating Labour’s Helen Dallimore who received 14,607 votes.

The win helps the Conservatives avoid a total whitewash in Devon, although Mel Stride’s majority of just 61 would have caused nails at his count to have been chewed down to the knuckle.

Across the county, the Conservatives lost the majority of its seats.

The triple-EEE count at Exeter Science Park was pitched as being a close race from fairly early on, but it soon became clear that it was a two-horse race between Labour and the Conservatives.

A partial recount – known as a bundle check – was required ensure that the votes for both Mr Reed and Ms Dallimore, an employment lawyer, had been correctly totted up.

Mr Reed, a former royal marine, has been campaigning for the best part of a year, and attributed that effort to his win.

“I think I’ve known for a long time it would be a tough fight, especially with the boundary changes, but I was selected almost a year ago and I have been doing the hard graft by going up and down the constituency, speaking and listening to people, businesses, and organisations to build trust,” he said.

“That is the only way you are able to drive home a win, by putting in the work beforehand, and I wanted to demonstrate that was the type of MP this area would get.”

Mr Reed acknowledged some voters had been “unhappy” on the doorstep with the national party.

“I completely understand that, but I have not associated myself with it, and that behaviour is not something I will take into parliament.”

He added that the new constituency could be “tricky” given part of it now includes wards within the city of Exeter, which is historically a Labour stronghold, but that he would “put a lot of energy into making sure all parts of the constituency are represented in Parliament”.

In terms of his immediate priorities, he quipped that his honeymoon was top of the list, given he got married at the start of the campaign meaning “life has been on the backburner”.

The full result is:

Paul ARNOTT – Lib Dem – 11,387

Mark P Baldwin – Climate Party – 134

Helen DALLIMORE – Labour – 14,607

Olly DAVEY – Green – 2,331

Peter FAITHFULL – Independent – 454

David REED – Conservative – 14,728

Garry SUTHERLAND – Reform UK  – 7,085


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