Labour has staged a major upset by taking one of the wealthiest constituencies in London, from the incumbent Conservative candidate Victoria Borwick, in a dramatic result 24 hours after polling closed.
Emma Dent Coad, the Labour candidate and local councillor, overturned Borwick’s 7,000 majority by just 20 votes. She took 16,333 (42.23%) of the vote compared with Borwick’s 16,313 (42.18%), representing a swing of 11.11% to Labour.
After the second count in the early hours, officials were sent home to rest before the third and final count began at 6pm on Friday evening.
Supporters for all the candidates made their way back to the Kensington town hall for the count, although there was notably more supporters for Dent Coad. The Conservatives were said to have accepted they had not won earlier on Friday.
There were also hints of the contest being a bitter fight between rich and poor – with Borwick seen to represent the richer members of the constituency and Dent Coad the poorer. Borwick promised that the fight to win the seat back would begin on Saturday.
The atmosphere was electric and emotional outside the hall where about 40 members of local community groups from some of Kensington’s most marginalised neighbourhoods were waiting to give Dent Coad a hero’s welcome as she walked out to greet them.
After chanting her name, the crowd fell silent to hear their new MP speak. She told them: “Kensington has spoken. Always speak out, never be silent again”.
She told the Guardian: “I’m very very happy and just absolutely thrilled especially for the people outside – to give them a voice. They deserve a voice.