General election 2010: Defence minister loses seat to Tories

By Sam Dale

Armed forces minister Bill Rammell has lost his seat to the Conservatives in a key Tory target.

Mr Rammell was defeated by Tory Robert Halfon after a 5.9% swing against his party.

Mr Halfon won 19,691 votes with a majority of almost 5,000 but was expected to win comfortably with the Tories making it their fifth target.

The swing is around the national average although it is varying from seat to seat.

The Labour vote dropped by seven per cent after a tiny majority of just 97 in 2005.

The seat has always been surprisingly Conservative considering its high proportion of social housing, its skilled working class and the lower middle class population.

At the 2005 general election it was one of the most marginal seats, and the final seat to be declared, following three recounts.