Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps: Election losses were not a disaster
PUBLISHED: 10:43 03 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:44 03 May 2013
WELWYN Hatfield’s MP this morning said he was ‘disappointed’ to see his party lose seats in yesterday’s election – but denied it was a huge body blow for the Conservatives.
Grant Shapps said he was following the Herts County Council results on the Welwyn Hatfield Times website as they came in last night.
The Conservatives lost three seats – two to Labour, and one to the Liberal Democrats in the division.
But the party retained three of the seven seats in Welwyn Hatfield, and picked up 38 per cent of the overall votes – making it the largest party in the division.
Mr Shapps, Conservative Party chairman, said: “Had that been a general election last night, a Conservative MP would have been returned.”
He admitted that he would like to have seen a higher return of Tory councillors, but said: “I was pleased that we topped the poll overall, and I was pleased the Conservatives still have more councillors than other parties.
“Clearly it’s mid-term, we’re doing difficult things.
“I think people were voting on national issues, perhaps with the exception of Hatfield South.”
He described the election as a “snapshot” of the moment.
Asked whether the loss of seats within his own constituency would threaten his job as Conservative Party chairman, Mr Shapps said he was confident he had David Cameron’s full backing.
In the build-up to the local elections, speculation in the national press had suggested disquiet in the Tory camp, but the Welwyn Hatfield MP said: “It’s tittle tattle, it’s completely untrue.
“You’ve got people whose entire job is to write stories and stir.
“I just don’t think it’s helpful to comment.”
The polls saw UKIP pick up second place finishes in two wards – Welwyn and Hatfield Rural.
The Conservative MP said: “In Welwyn Hatfield we try to actively represent the concerns that someone voting UKIP might have.”
> For a full breakdown of results, see the election section of the website by clicking on the link on the top right of this page
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