Conservative and Labour leaders in Lincolnshire have given their reactions after the 2017 general election left the country with a hung parliament and a new Labour MP for Lincoln.
Ten out of the 11 MPs in Greater Lincolnshire retained their seats, while in Lincoln, incumbent Conservative candidate Karl McCartney was beaten by Labour candidate Karen Lee.
Nationally, Labour did better than expected with 40% of the votes compared with the Tories’ 42.4%. Theresa May will now form a minority government with the DUP to deliver Brexit.
Labour leader of the City of Lincoln Council Ric Metcalfe said he was ‘delighted’ about the local and national result and described the Conservative campaign for the 2017 general election as an “absolute shambles”.
He added: “We had some outstanding leadership from Jeremy Corbyn which engendered a huge amount of enthusiasm for the campaign. The Tory campaign was an absolute shambles and based on a very false prospectus in my view.
“We had an excellent local candidate in Karen Lee, and she obviously went down well with the electorate. It was clear people took to her and the fact she was local and had a real commitment and loyalty to the city.
“The incumbent MP Karl McCartney isn’t well liked in the city for a number of reasons.
“I think he has made some bad judgement calls on all sorts of issues. Take the local media. I think his attitude towards local media has been petulant and at times bordering on the paranoid frankly.”
Councillor Metcalfe added that he felt the long term credibility of Prime Minister Theresa May had been “fundamentally damaged”.
Conservative Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Councillor Martin Hill told The Lincolnite he was disappointed in the national result and his party’s overall campaign.
“We have more seats than any other party so I’m pleased on that front, but obviously we lost an overall majority and Lincoln went to Labour, so that was disappointing.
“To be honest our Conservative campaign was a bit lacklustre and I think the Labour party quite successfully targeted certain individuals. They made promises that frankly aren’t deliverable, but I think a lot of people gave them the benefit of the doubt.
“In Lincoln they successfully mobilised the student vote. Labour made promises about tuition fees, which are expensive and also will be bad for universities in the long run because they will have a funding crisis if that ever came to pass.”
On the loss in Lincoln, the only change in the county, Councillor Hill added: “Karl has been a very good local MP. I think he’s tried his best for Lincoln but obviously politics is a tough old game and congratulations to our new MP.”
With policing taking a prominent position in local and national campaigning, Lincolnshire’s Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones gave his reflection on the final result.
He took the view that a hung parliament could make it more difficult for the governnment to address funding issues.
“I’m delighted to see the vast majority of local MPs have retained their seats and in many cases with an increased majority. It creates stability and enables a united front in lobbying on behalf of Lincolnshire.
“Obviously the Conservative Party has lost the seat of Lincoln but traditionally it has always been a swing seat and, in the end, it was still a close race.
“I think it’s hard to predict what the effect of this will be until all of the results are in and it’s clear exactly how many MPs each party has and what the new Government will look like.
“What’s important for me is the affect the result will have on the issue of funding for Lincolnshire Police.
“Working alongside the county’s MPs I have worked hard to make a strong case for Lincolnshire to get a sustainable funding formula and I believe I had succeeded in doing so.
“But a hung Parliament may make it more difficult for any Government to successfully push through changes to funding and that is a concern.
“I have made it clear, as has Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, that the force can no longer continue to provide the quality of service it currently does unless our funding is addressed.
“I hope all the Lincolnshire MPs, including the new MP in Lincoln, will continue to present a united front in campaigning for a better deal for Lincolnshire.”