Labour’s Jon Cruddas relieved to win ‘three-horse’ Dagenham and Rainham

Jon Cruddas

Jon Cruddas - Credit: Archant

Newly re-elected MP Jon Cruddas was “unsuprised” by the tightness of the election battle in Dagenham and Rainham, winning his seats by less than five thousand votes.

The Labour party policy coordinator described the contest as a “three horse race” as the count progressed, but eventually saw off the challenge posed by the UKIP and the Conservatives, who took home 12,850 and 10,492 votes respectively.

Despite extending his winning margin of 2,630 from 2010, the marked increase in UKIP votes was particularly evident – polling body YouGov even predicting a narrow victory for Peter Harris at one stage in the weeks leading up to the election – and Mr Cruddas insisted nothing had been taken for granted.

“I’m relieved and very, very happy at the moment,” he told the Post, moments after the result was announced.

“The closeness of the results was totally unsurprising. Anyone that knows this constituency knows that UKIP has been on the rise.

“It was a three-horse race and the tightness proved that.”

A prominent Labour figure, Mr Cruddas lost out to Harriet Harman in Labour’s 2007 deputy leadership contest, despite public backing from the likes of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Roy Hattersley.

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With heavy losses for the party across the country, leading to the resignation of Labour leader Ed Milliband, the Dagenham MP was thankful for his own support.

“It’s always a different story in Dagenham and Rainham to elsewhere, but we did it,” he added.

“We had three tough parties battling for this seat, the challenge was to hold up the Labour vote and make sure our supporters turned out, and that’s exactly what we have done.

“I’d like to thank everyone that voted for me as well as my team, especially Andrew Achilleos, my campaign officer, who did a fantastic job.”

Collecting 41.4 per cent of the vote, the winning margin for Dagenham and Rainham was more than ten thousand less than the buffer enjoyed by Barking colleague Margaret Hodge,

Earlier on, Mr Cruddas had predicted a “long and interesting night”.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it’s close,” he told the Post earlier on in the proceedings.

“In 2010 the Conservative’s said they had won it mid-way through the count, so I say let’s see what happens with UKIP.”