CONSERVATIVE favourite Fiona Bruce romped to victory in Thursday’s General Election to become only the second ever MP in the history of the Congleton constituency.
The mother-of-two and local businesswoman easily retained the safe Tory seat vacated after more than 25 years by Lady Ann Winterton, retaining a solid majority of more than 7,000, winning 45.8% of the vote by polling 23,230.
After returning officer Brian Reed announced the results at around 4.45am, there were loud cheers from Tory supporters in the bleary-eyed crowd.
She told the party faithful: “It is an honour and a privilege to be chosen to represent this wonderful constituency.
“From Sandbach to Holmes Chapel, Middlewich to Alsager, I’ll stand up for every one of my constituents. I can’t wait to get started.”
Mrs Bruce told the Chronicle she was delighted to have reinforced the area as a Tory stronghold and was impressed with the excellent 69% turnout, up 5% from 2005.
“It shows that we have a healthy democracy here. Our hustings were a great success and it means we have engaged with the electorate.
“The people I’ve spoken to on the doorsteps for the last four weeks have been thinking long and hard about where to put their vote and it has been an honour talking to them all.
“I’d like to thank all the people of Congleton who have given me this opportunity and hope we can enjoy a happy and prosperous journey together.”
Mrs Bruce held off what had looked early on in the night to be a strong challenge from Lib Dem candidate Peter Hirst who eventually won 31.9%, polling 16,187.
Labour hopeful David Bryant finished third, receiving 17.2% of the vote with 8,747. It was a disappointment for the party who hoped to make up ground after their second place finish in 2005.
UKIP’s Lee Slaughter polled 4.2% with 2,147 votes while the two independents candidates and the unaffiliated hopeful Paul Rothwell shared the final 0.9% of the vote.
Paul Edwards polled 276 votes, Mr Rothwell 94 and Adam Parton 79.