General Election 2019: Alan Mak commands resounding Havant win - but candidates pour scorn on his record
HAVANT MP Alan Mak has vowed to help Brexit and boost funding for public services after holding his seat.
But Mr Mak batted off jibes from fellow candidates and defended his track record.
There were Conservative roars as he won for the third consecutive time since standing in 2015, extending his majority from 15,596 to 21,792.
Moments after claiming victory he said: ‘I’m honoured the residents of Havant have re-elected me.
‘We’ve built a strong relationship together over the last couple of years and I’m looking forward to working hard for them all year round and continuing the work I’ve been doing (not just) to get Brexit delivered, but to invest in our public services, our police, our armed forces, our schools and our hospitals.’
Mr Mak received 30,051 votes – a 65.3 per cent vote share – but drew harsh criticism from losing candidates of the other top parties.
Labour candidate Rosamund Knight, who earned 8,259 votes, said she was ‘scared’ Havant and people in crisis will now ‘suffer' under him.
And the offensive was ramped up by Paul Gray, of the Liberal Democrats, who got 5,708 votes and branded Mr Mak a ‘vacuous’ MP who has ‘done little than turn up and get his photo taken’ since first rising to power.
In a prickly retort Mr Mak said the remarks came as both runners-up were 'comprehensively rejected by local residents'.
He added: ‘I've run a very positive campaign emphasising the successes I've achieved.
‘I've not criticised any other candidates personally and I'm disappointed that they've criticised me, but that probably reflects their disappointment and the poor campaigns that they've both run.’
Though her first foray into parliamentary politics led to defeat, Ms Knight ended the night with a vow to return for a future Havant showdown.
The focus of such efforts, she said, would be to help people on society’s margins – drawing from her experience of homelessness and becoming a mum at 19.
‘This is only the beginning for me – I'm only 32,’ she said.
‘I've got many years ahead of me, I've made good connections in the community and I will carry on fighting for a fairer future for Havant.
‘I will be looking to stand in the local council elections and if a parliamentary election comes up soon I'll be looking to stand again.’
The night also brought a call for the first post the post electoral system to be scrapped in favour of proportional representation.
Mr Gray said unless that happens Conservative landslides will be commonplace.
'I knew this morning this was not going to be a Liberal Democrat victory – I knew this was going to be a Conservative victory,’ he said.
'I think until we get to a point in time where we can adopt a modern, 21st Century electoral system, we are going to keep having these tensions within our democracy because we have a system that is simply not fit for the era in which we live.’
For Green candidate John Colman it was an evening of self-confessed excitement and nervousness.
The declaration of his 1,597 votes was a welcome one, but he had words for Mr Mak as he concluded his first night at the polls with a handshake.
‘If he really puts some effort in as he has shown previously, the constituency will be in good hands – and I'd like to see him do a good job for Havant,' he said.
'But what I'm hoping is that he doesn't become complacent, because with that size of a majority there is a risk he can think he can just rest on his laurels, when in reality he needs to deliver for this community.'
Mr Mak added: ‘I think residents know that I'm extremely hard-working all year round and I will never be complacent.'
Alan Black, who stood for the Social Democratic Party and attracted 344 votes, said standing as a candidate was a ‘victory’ in itself.
HAVANT’S ELECTION RESULTS
Alan Mak (Con): 30,051
Rosamund Knight (Lab): 8,259
Paul Gray (Lib Dem): 5,708
John Colman (Green): 1,597
Alan Black (SDP): 344
Majority – 21,792
Turnout – 64 per cent