General Election: George Hollingbery holds Meon Valley for Tories

George Hollingbery has been re-elected as MP for Meon Valley. Picture: Malcolm Wells (150508-9401)
George Hollingbery has been re-elected as MP for Meon Valley. Picture: Malcolm Wells (150508-9401)
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THE Meon Valley was painted blue once again as the Conservatives romped to victory with a resounding majority.

There were cheers of delight as George Hollingbery was declared the general election winner with a comfortable majority.

Mr Hollingbery told The News: ‘I am delighted with the result.

‘We fought the campaign we normally fight.

‘Every candidate likes to think they have something to do with it.

‘I have held regular surgeries in Waterlooville and I think people have seen that.’

Mr Hollingbery said the national picture also had a big influence on the votes.

‘It’s plain people have gone to the polls and have voted for the economic progress this government has made,’ he said.

‘And for the continuation of two million jobs created so far and many more to come - with the country producing more jobs that the whole of the rest of the EU.

‘They wanted to continue down that path.’

Mr Hollingbery won the seat with a 12,125 majority when the constituency was created in 2010.

It was an incredibly long night in the count room of River Park Leisure Centre in Winchester as the candidates, their entourages and a horde of journalists, eagerly awaited the declaration.

The announcement was the last to arrive in the area at just after 8.35am.

All the voting slips had to be transported to Winchester from across the massive constituency, which stretches across a large swathe of Hampshire - from Bishop’s Waltham in the west to Rowlands Castle in the east.

It was a well-fought election contest with no big controversies along the way.

And there was never any serious expectation of an upset as the Meon Valley is considered Tory heartland, albeit with a sturdy Liberal Democrat following.

Driving around Waterlooville and Denmead in recent weeks, one might have been forgiven for thinking it was a one-man race, given the numerous election placards urging people to vote George.

Many, but not all, believe he has been a strong voice for the area.

In Lovedean, he took a stand against unsustainable housing development.

He was a regular visitor to Hambledon during the floods of last year and continued to lobby the government to invest in a flood alleviation scheme – and celebrated when they did stump up the cash.

He publicly opposed a controversial bid to build a travellers’ site at Worlds End, near Denmead.

And his converted kebab van is a regular sight in Waterlooville precinct at weekends as he meets his constituents for one-to-one surgeries.

His vehement support for the controversial 700-home Hazleton Farm development at Horndean may have earned him a few enemies, but not enough to topple his lead.

And he disappointed some traditional Conservatives when he voted in favour of gay marriage.

The only minor blip on his record was when police were called to his country home last year after neighbours complained about the noise from a family birthday party.

Mr Hollingbery has served on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, the Welfare Reform Bill and as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary Theresa May.

Pundits might give him good odds of a promotion at Westminster, but locals are keen for him to be a good constituency MP.

Before the count, John Pickering, chairman of Rowlands Castle Parish Council, said: ‘He’s got the most Tory-inclined constituency in the country probably.

‘We will be looking for him to recognise our corner of the constituency and to deliver on his commitment to work for individuals and collective need – in other words, to be a constituency MP.’

Full result:

George Hollingbery (Con) 31,578

David Alexander (Ukip) 7,665

Gemma McKenna (Lab) 5,656

Christopher Carrigan (Lib Dem) 4,987

Diana Korchien (Green) 1,831

Total Meon Valley turnout: 51,717

Percentage turnout: 71.25 per cent

Majority: 23, 913

See updates here from our reporters and photographers at all the counts in the Portsmouth area, and a live feed of the headlines as they happen nationwide.