‘Theresa May is the worst PM in living memory’ says defeated Lib Dem candidate for Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 13:11 09 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:26 09 June 2017

Julian Huppert gives a speech after defeat in the 2017 General Election. Picture: Keith Heppell

Julian Huppert gives a speech after defeat in the 2017 General Election. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Julian Huppert says it’s been a ‘strange election’ after Labour’s Daniel Zeichner massively increases his majority

Daniel Zeichner, Julian Huppert and John Hayward at the Guildhall. Picture: Keith HeppellDaniel Zeichner, Julian Huppert and John Hayward at the Guildhall. Picture: Keith Heppell

Theresa May shouldn’t continue as Prime Minister, according to Julian Huppert,

The Liberal Democrat, who was defeated by Labour’s Daniel Zeichner in the race for Cambridge, said he was delighted to see so many young people voting - even though a significant student vote is thought to have propelled his rival to re-election.

In 2015, the difference between them was just 599 votes. This time around, it was 12,661.

Dr Huppert said of the campaign: “We spoke to many tens of thousands of people – most people in the city – and the Labour activists mentioned to me that they thought we fought a hard and fair campaign, and I think that’s right.

Mayor George Pippas announces the results. Picture: Keith HeppellMayor George Pippas announces the results. Picture: Keith Heppell

“It’s been a very strange election – surely by the worst Prime Minister in living memory.

“Surely there is no way she can continue as Prime Minister, even if she hangs on in terms of the number of seats.”

He added: “I am delighted to see so many young people show up to vote; to see so many people taking the opportunity to vote.

“I wish that had happened last year – then we would not be facing a Brexit that is causing so much harm.”

Danel Zeichner celebrates with his supporters at the Guildhall in Cambridge. Picture: Keith HeppellDanel Zeichner celebrates with his supporters at the Guildhall in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Dr Huppert concluded with a message for his rival:

“Daniel, good luck over the next five years, or however long it is. Cambridge needs somebody who will stand up for this great city in these difficult times.”

Mr Zeichner kept his seat with 29,032 votes, with Dr Huppert receiving 16,371 votes.

Conservative candidate John Hayward finished third with 9,133 votes.

The turnout in Cambridge was a very impressive 71.4 per cent, the highest since 1997.

Mr Zeichner, who first took office in 2015, is an alumnus of King’s College and was enthusiastically cheered by supporters when he arrived at the Guildhall, and then again inside the hall when the results were announced.

He was hopeful long before the counting began, telling the Cambridge Independent shortly after his arrival: “From what I’ve seen, I’m optimistic. All I can judge is from what I was hearing the other day, and it’s quite extraordinary.

“When you’re walking up and down Mill Road and people are tooting their horns and getting off their bikes, you can tell sometimes.”

He believes young people have become more interested in politics, adding: “If younger people have been voting, then I think there’s a story here, which is about the fact that they have felt fed up about the way things have been going – and they’ve responded in a really good way, which is to vote.”

In his acceptance speech Mr Zeichner expressed pride in the fact that democracy can still triumph in the wake of the recent terrorist attrocities in Manchester and London.

He also praised Dr Huppert’s five years in office, from 2010 to 2015.

Mr Zeichner said there has been a change in the way the public perceive him since the last election.

He said: “What’s really nice this time is I think people know me better now. Last time, they were voting for Daniel Zeichner, who they didn’t really know, now they’re saying they’re voting for Daniel.

“It’s a subtle shift and, to be fair, that’s what Julian had last time.

“So it was much more evened out in terms of how people knew the two candidates this time.”

Cambridge General Election result 2017

Daniel Zeichner (Labour): 29,032 - elected

Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrat): 16,371

John Hayward (Conservative): 9,133

Stuart Tuckwood (Green): 1,265

Keith Garrett (Rebooting Democracy): 133

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