General election 2010: Minister Woolas squeaks it

By Aled Thomas

Immigration minister Phil Woolas has survived a large swing against him to cling onto Oldham east and Saddleworth by his fingertips.

Mr Woolas has a majority of only 103 votes over his Liberal Democrat opponent Elwyn Watkins; winning 14,186 votes, or 31.9% of the vote.

In the three-way marginal, the LIb Dem candidate Mr Watkins gained 31.6% of the vote and the Conservative candidate Kashif Ali won 26.4%.

The swing in the seat was 5.1% from Labour to the Lib Dems

The disparate nature of the constituency, with affluent suburbs and deprived parts of Oldham, its high proportion of ethnic minority voters and the campaign of Mr Watkins, who took a tough line on immigration, made this battleground too close to call until the very end.