Polls triumph leaves Tories in blue heaven

PUBLISHED: 12:38 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 09:54 12 August 2010

TRUE BLUE: Jo Johnson learns he has topped poll.

TRUE BLUE: Jo Johnson learns he has topped poll.

BOUYANT Tories romped home to victory with massive majorities.

BOUYANT Tories romped home to victory with massive majorities.

Bromley and Chislehurst incumbent Bob Neill retained his seat, while new Conservative heavyweights Colonel Bob Stewart and Jo Johnson were swept to power in Beckenham and Orpington as record numbers turned out to vote in Bromley.

Mr Neill, 58, who was elected in 2006 with a slim margin of 633, increased his majority to a thumping 13,900, Colonel Stewart enjoyed a majority of 17,784 and Mr Johnson, brother of London Mayor Boris, secured 17,200 votes more than his nearest rival, the Liberal Democrat David Macbride.

Speaking at the Bromley Civic Centre count at 5.30am last Friday after hearing that 53.5 per cent of the electorate backed him, Mr Neill said: "This is a very clear verdict that the borough of Bromley has given. It is not often that your majority goes up to 13,000 and you still have the most marginal seat in the borough!"

Watched by his father, ex-MEP Stanley and his brother Boris, Jo Johnson was visibly triumphant. He said: "Orpington, epicentre of a previous Lib Dem revival, has given a resounding endorsement of the Conservative programme."

Liberal Democrat David Macbride, who was also standing for the Cray Valley West ward in the local elections, appeared thoroughly disappointed that he polled only 12,000 votes.

Mr Macbride said: "Jo Johnson has the family name and backing and brought in a lot of help.

"I thought it would be much closer, but the Conservatives are having a good night and this has been reflected in Orpington."

The second declaration of the night was of the Beckenham result, where Col Stewart, a former British UN commander, romped home with 27,597 votes, and 57.9 per cent share of the poll. He said: " This is not trite but I really like the area and I really like the people. The campaign has been very exciting, very interesting and I've learnt a heck of a lot. I have walked and walked for miles around Beckenham."

"I have been on many operational tours and I have been nervous for many of them, and sometimes I felt the same nerves here because it's such a momentous thing."

Col Stewart was thought to have been parachuted into the safe Tory stronghold of Beckenham personally by David Cameron, who hopes the retired colonel's wealth of army experience could be valuable in a possible Conservative government.

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