UK now has 4 vegan MPs
This is a guide to the UK General election results of particular interest to vegans and animal advocates, conveniently in results order. [Updated with results June 9th].
The results are in italic – and as the title says, the UK now has at least 4 vegan MPs, which I suspect is a first for any legislature anywhere in the world.
The UK goes to the polls today June 8th to elect a new House of Commons. For some people, staying up for the results is part of the fun, others simply can’t sleep, and still more are watching from a different time zone.
I’ve taken expected declaration times from AP, and chances of winning from the final Britain Elects nowcast, except where stated.
2am: The return of Naomi Long?
Belfast East – Long badly defeated
Naomi Long is a candidate for the cross-community Alliance Party, and was the MP from 2010 to 2015. After that, Animal Aid praised her as an MP to keep – and she’s trying to gain the seat from Unionists (for whom the defining issue is Northern Ireland’s membership of the United Kingdom).
She’s got a 1 in 3 chance, according to LucidTalk.
In a good night for the pro-UK Democratic Unionist Party, there was a 6% swing their way in this seat. Naomi Long wasn’t even close.
Hastings & Rye – Rudd holds, barely
Amber Rudd (Con) was one of Animal Aids ten marginal MPs to ditch for pro-hunt views in 2015. This result will probably be on the TV too, as she’s home secretary and there’s been a concerted cross-party attempt to unseat her. Which Britain Elects gives a 0.5% chance of success.
It was very close, with a majority of 346, but Amber Rudd kept the seat.
3am: A new vegan MP?
Bristol North West – New Vegan MP
Darren Jones (Lab) is the optimistic vegan challenger trying to capture Bristol North West. (Britain Elects suggests he has a 0.9% chance. But they don’t capture local factors.)
In any case you can cheer on a re-elected vegan MP in one of the safe seats.
To his own surprise, Darren Jones won, helped by the Greens asking their supporters to vote tactically for him, as well as a swing that exceeded national trends.
It should be a safe seat (but I’ve said that before) – and the incumbent is vegan Christina Rees (Lab).
Christina Rees increased her majority, in line with the overall trends in Wales.
If this safe seat is televised, wave to the minor party candidate waiting patently on the platform in the Green rosette – that’s vegan Marten Kats.
Crawley; Southend West
These are a couple of Tories whose work for animals gained Animal Aid’s respect in 2015.
Crawley should return Henry Smith, a vegetarian who turns up to VegFestUK to represent the Conservatives and is involved in animal causes in parliament, should be re-relected.
And Southend West should return anti-hunt anti-cull David Amess.
3:30am: The fall of a pro-hunt Lab MP?
Vauxhall – Hoey wins easily.
This should get a lot of broader attention. Kate Hoey is in a theoretically safe Labour seat, Vauxhall, but during the EU referendum she didn’t just side with Brexit, but sided with the more extreme of the two Brexit campaigns. So the pro-EU LibDems hope to convince her cosmopolitan pro-EU constituents to vote her out.
Why are we interested? She’s also pro-hunt.
Despite LibDem leader Farron claiming that their canvass returns suggested a close race, Hoey was returned with an increased vote share and one of those majorities you weigh rather than count.
West Bromich East
If they show this, wave to the person in the yellow rosette. The LibDem Karen Trench (who doesn’t stand a chance of winning) is vegan.
4am: Can David Drew return?
Stroud – Yes he can
David Drew (Lab) proposed many pro-animal “Early Day Motions” (parliamentary petitions) when he was an MP before 2015. Including one on vegetarian and vegan labelling. And he’s tryng to get his seat back. But the NowCast only gives him a 3.7% chance.
Drew won the seat with a better-than-national swing of under 5% and a narrow majority of 687.
Alison McGovern (Lab) was another animal advocate that Animal Aid cheered on in 2015. She should keep the seat (93.8%), but if it’s a bad night for Labour, she could be in trouble.
And (apart from losing) it wasn’t a bad night for Labour.
Dudley South (safe)
Natasha Millward (Lab) is vegetarian and did veganuary in 2015. So we’re working on her.
Poplar & Limehouse (safe)
Jim Fitzpatrick was a vegetarian farming minister who pushed through some welfare reforms (which were then undone by the 2010-5 coalition.)
4am-6am: How will the Animal Welfare Party do?
The vegan-led Animal Welfare Party is standing in four safe seats to publicise their pro-animal agenda without risking splitting the progressive vote.
Historically, if they get above 1%, they’re doing well; and if they’re getting the 5% needed to save their deposits, they are exceeding their wildest expectations.
The usually stand a better chance under proportionate elections, such as to the European Parliament and the London Assembly. But Brexit will put paid to the former, and the Conservative Manifesto to the latter; so this could be their last election for 5 years.
They are standing in:
- Hackney North & Stoke Newington (expected 4am, candidate Jon Homon) [222 votes, 0.4%]
- Lewisham Deptford (expected 4:30am, candidate Laura McAnea) [225, 0.4%]
- Maidenhead (against Theresa May; expected 4:30am, candidate Andrew Knight, who has been a guest on this show talking about vegan cats) [282, 0.5%]
- Hackney South & Shoreditch (expected 6am; candidate is party leader Vanessa Hudson) [226, 0.4%]
4:30am: Can Stephen Lloyd return?
Eastbourne – Yes, just.
The 2015 LibDem annihilation removed three MPs who were active for animals. (Perhaps because LibDems, being a less powerful party, tend to have more individualist MPs that follow their own non-party interests, and some of those happen to be interested in animal welfare). Only Stephen is standing again. Britain Elects gave him a 28.3% chance of doing so.
Both Lloyd and the Conservative incumbent increased their vote share, but Lloyd snuck past her with just a 2% swing.
Wolverhampton South West
If this seat changes back to Conservative, the victor will be pro-hunt pro-badger cull Paul Uppall. It did not.
5:00am: Bristol Cornucopia
Kerry McCarthy is the longest standing vegan MP, first elected in 2005. Her seat is safe. But I said that about Chris Williamson last year.
Kerry McCarthy substantially increased her majority.
Thangam Debbonaire (Lab, incumbent) is vegetarian going on vegan (she put it at 98% vegan, and says she’s getting really good at vegan cake). She’s facing a stiff challenge from LibDems and Greens.
As a party, the Greens have more pro-animal policies, and the only Green MP thus far has a solid reputation for working on animal issues – though there’s no reason to single out their candidate there, Molly Cato.
But still, perhaps we should just settle this with a vegan back-off next time.
Thangam Debbonaire won almost two-third of the vote, with Greens and LibDems losing votes, perhaps to avoid the Conservatives coming through the middle.
Brentford & Isleworth
If this is a Con gain, it’s the return of Mary Macleod, someone Animal Aid successfully recommended voting out in 2015. In the event, she feel even further behind.
6:00am: Can Chris Williamson come back?
Derby North – Yes.
Chris Williamson was one of the vegan MPs I interviewed back in 2011. He lost his seat in 2015 (despite me thinking it was safe) and is trying to get it back. Britain Elects gives him only a 0.3% chance, but still, the national exit polls seem positive.
Chris Williams, helped by the Greens not standing against him and the LibDems being squeezed, overtook the Conservatives to gain a 2015 majority.
Caronline Lucas (Green) was the UK’s first Green MP, and is active on animal issues. Despite rumours, she’s not actually a vegetarian.
Lucas kept the seat, gaining a majority (rather than just a plurality) of votes, but remains the only Green MP.
If the count is on-screen, and it probably won’t be, wave to the guy with the red rosette. Michael Thompson won’t win (“but he’s a winner with the animals …”), but he is vegan.
7:00am: A vegan Conservative MP?
Morley and Outwood
Andrea Jenkins has been variously quoted as vegetarian, vegan, and vegetarian going on vegan. She’s anti-hunt, as you’d expect. And she’s probably (92.3%) going to be re-elected.
She gained a majority of votes in this marginal polarised seat, perhaps helped by UKIP standing down.