GE2015 Harrogate and Knaresborough: Polls closed and count begins

Election count. Andrew McCaren/Rossparry.co.uk
Election count. Andrew McCaren/Rossparry.co.uk

The votes have been cast and ballot boxes have started to arrive at the Harrogate International Centre.

Volunteers will spend the next few hours counting the thousands of votes which were cast across the district and the constituency’s MP is expected to be announced at around 2am.

In 2010 a 71 per cent turn out saw 53,134 people casting their votes across Harrogate and Knaresborough and even more are expected to have turned out today.

Conservative Andrew Jones will be hoping to hold the seat which he won by 1,039 votes in 2010, the narrowest majority in the constituency’s history.

A momentous 9.1 per cent swing saw the Tories take back the seat from the Lib Dems after 13 years following Phil Willis decision to step down in 2010.

Harrogate was under Conservative control for more than 80 years before Phil Willis secured a landslide victory in 1997. He famously trounced the Conservative favourite, former Chancellor Norman Lamont, with a majority of more than 6,000.

The popular MP, now Lord Willis of Knaresborough, secured two further victories over the Conservatives in 2001 and 2005.

In 2010 Andrew Jones received 24,305 votes to Claire Kelley’s 23,266, turning over a majority of 10,429 through a 9.1 per cent swing.

This time voters have had five candidates to choose from, Andrew Jones (Conservatives), Helen Flynn (Lib Dems), David Simister (UKIP), Shan Oakes (Green) and Jan Williams (Labour).

We’ll be reporting live from across the district with reporters at the counts Harrogate and Knaresborough, Skipton and Ripon and Selby and Ainsty.

Keep checking our website for the latest updates.