A DELIGHTED Caroline Spelman was returned as Conservative Party MP for Meriden on Friday morning with a thumping majority of over 16,000 over Labour’s Ed Williams.
As the vote for Solihull went to a re-count, Mrs Spelman said: “I’d like to thank the electorate of Meriden for putting their trust in me.
“Whoever governs there will be some tough choices to make and I hope there will be a strong government to follow.
“I am indebted to so many people who have gone the extra mile for me.”
Labour polled 10,703 votes, a massive 11.7 per cent down in 2005, while the Lib Dems’ Simon Slater polled 9,278.
The result was declared at 5.35am after a massive turnout of 72.4 per cent in Solihull and 63.7 per cent in Meriden put the results timetable hours behind schedule.
Mark Rogers, returning officer, said the process had also been hampered by some voters who had taken postal votes to polling stations.
However, the candidates didn’t think that Solihull had been hit by some of the difficulties that had caused havoc in other parts of the UK - such as a shortage of ballot papers.
Speaking from North Solihull Sports Centre last night, Tory candidate Maggie Throup said that it was too close to call.
“This was always going to be a close battle, but it’s clear that people did want to have their say,” she said.
“I’ve heard stories about people queueing at polling station and one voter who had been going to the same one for 25 years said he had never seen anything like it.”
Candidates were practically unanimous in praising the turn-out, but it seemed that most people had decided to keep their support with the three main parties.
Neill Watts, standing for SAMRA in Solihull, said: “I think the situation has squeezed the vote of the smaller parties and in Solihull it seems they have decided to go with either the Lib Dems or Tories.”
* For the final election results go to www.solihullnews.net.