General election 2010: Labour hold off Tory surge in Sunderland

By Sam Dale

Labour has held off a Conservative surge to hold Houghton and Sunderland South after the new seat became the first to declare in the general election.

Bridget Phillipson has been elected for the Labour stronghold for the first time with 19,137 votes, gaining 50% of the votes, despite a Tory swing of 8.4 per cent.

If the swing was repeated nationally it would result in a Tory government with a small majority but the seat had a low turnout and it would be surprising to be repeated nationally.

Ms Phillipson, who was just 25 when selected, won a majority of over 10,000. Tory candidate Robert Oliver came second with 8,147 votes.

Liberal Democrat candidate Christopher Boyle came third with 5,292 votes.

Due to boundary changes the new constituency is a combination of two former seats both of which were in safe Labour heartlands.

The new MP is from nearby Washington and is a former chair of the Oxford University Labour Club.

The race to reveal the result as quickly as possible was delayed by a larger than expected number of votes.