New Arundel and South Downs MP: ‘I pledge to serve every resident’

Arundel and South Downs has been held by the Conservatives in the General Election.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 3:56 pm
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 4:03 pm

New MP Andrew Griffith has replaced Nick Herbert who stood down ahead of the campaign.

The former Sky boss gained 35,566 votes, slightly fewer than the 37,573 Nick Herbert gained in the 2017 election.

The Liberal Democrats came a distant second, with Alison Bennett gaining 13,045 votes and Labour’s Bella Sankey came third with 9,722 votes.

Andrew Griffith

Isabel Thurston, of the Green Party took 2,519 votes but was not at the count.

Former Brexit Party candidate Robert Wheal stood as an independent and gained 556 votes.

There was a 76 per cent turnout, 61,713 out of 82,736 registered voters according to Horsham District Council.

Andrew Griffith said of winning: “I pay tribute to my fellow candidates.

“For their personal and courageous commitment to the democratic process.

“It’s an enormous privilege to be elected.

“I pledge to serve every resident of Arundel and South Downs to the very best of my ability.

“I have a lot to learn but also to offer.”

Alison Bennett said she was ‘immensely proud’ of what her team had achieved.

She added: “It’s been incredible.

“I’m really, really proud of what we have achieved.

“We started with about four people round my kitchen table. Last time I totted it up we have got about 200 volunteers.”

Alison said she found the national picture ‘incredibly depressing’ for the Liberal Democrats. She added: “There’s no shying away from the fact we lost our leader.

“[But] there’s been some fantastic people that have been elected.

“There’s things to be sad about and things to celebrate.”

After the election Alison said she will ‘be spending more time with her family’.

She added: “My children and my partner have been very supportive.”

She said she plans to concentrate on her role as a Mid Sussex district councillor and as group leader for the Liberal Democrats.

Labour candidate Bella Sankey added: “It’s been a privilege to spend the past five weeks listening to the people of Arundel and South Downs.

“We must now more than ever come together to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are protected.”

Bella, a new mother, said she had ‘loved’ campaigning with her baby.

She added: “It’s been at times challenging but overall it’s been a rewarding and life affirming experience.”

She said her daughter was a ‘good sleeper’ and ‘quite portable’ which helped.

She also called for voting reform and said she was ‘very much in favour’ of a proportional representation system, which awards seats to a party based on the proportion of votes gained.

Former Brexit Party candidate Robert Wheal stood as an independent after party leader Nigel Farage stood down his candidates in 317 sitting Conservative constituencies.

He said of his campaign: “It’s a hard one. Fortunately I have half a dozen very good people who helped. We got out about 12,000 leaflets. We did very well considering what little time we had.”

Robert said a no deal Brexit was the ‘best thing’ for the country. He added: “I expect Boris to do the job properly. Brexit means Brexit.”