The final seat to be declared in the U.K.’s general election has been been called at long last – and, in a shocking turn of events, west London’s affluent Kensington constituency has gone to Labour for the first time in the area’s history.
The mostly residential and extremely wealthy area is home to several members of the Royal Family, as well as the manicured Kensington Palace Gardens. In addition to multiple private residences for the super-rich, the constituency also contains some social housing and student university halls.
Labour’s gain means the final tally of the election leaves the Conservatives with 318 seats (short of the 326 seats required for a majority) and Labour with 262. Labour candidate Emma Dent Coad, who describes herself as “fighting gentrification ‘one cupcake at a time’,” won with 16,333 votes.
The result of the ordinarily safe Conservative constituency, which had been held by Brexit advocate Victoria Borthwick, was delayed after exhausted ballot paper counters were given a break to recover before starting on their third recount of the votes. Reports from one recount suggested that the number of votes between the Tories and Labour was as close as 36.
Photos shared on social media showed vote counters laying their heads down on tables, clearly drained from the counting and recounting they had been doing throughout the night and morning.
Following the news of the seat being tightly-contested, a Kensington Labour Twitter account tweeted: “Young people of Kensington have really stepped up! They, and trad[itional] Tory voters ashamed of their party, and A GREAT CANDIDATE have done this!”
Social media users also slammed a tweet sent by the British Monty Python actor and Chelsea and Kensington resident John Cleese prior to the election, in which he said his vote was “utterly worthless” so would not bother heading to the ballot box.
“Looks like every vote counts. No more safe seats?” one Twitter user responded, while another sarcastically wrote: “Aaaaaand there’s apparently around 30 votes in it in your constituency. Well done man you really showed the system, super good job.”
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