General election 2010: Labour takes Washington and Sunderland West

By Sabine Klensch

Sharon Hodgson, who was the MP for Gateshead East and Washington West, has successfully defended the new seat with 19,615 votes despite a huge swing of 11.6% from Labour to Conservative.

The main challenger, the Conservative candidate Ian Cuthbert, came in second with 8,157 votes and the Lib Dem candidate Peter Andras came in third place with 6,382 votes.

Surprisingly, the Lib Dems have been overtaken by the Conservatives. The Lib Dems came second in 2005.

Washington and Sunderland West has a industrial and mining history, which makes this seat one of the safest Labour seats in the country.

It was created from parts of the former seats of Sunderland North, Sunderland South, Houghton and Washington East and Gateshead East and Washington West.

Washington and Sunderland West is the second constituency to announce its results.

The swing from Labour to the Tories of 11.6%, if replicated across the country, would be the biggest Labour to Tory swing since 1945.