Owen Thompson vows to be “the voice of Midlothian” and a “champion” for his constituents as he returns to Westminster

General Election 2019 Midlothian count at Lasswade Centre.
General Election 2019 Midlothian count at Lasswade Centre.

The SNP has taken back the Midlothian Westminster seat from Labour in the General Election.

The result, announced in the early hours of last Friday morning, sees Owen Thompson regain the seat he lost in 2017 to Labour’s Danielle Rowley, who came second.

Labour’s vote dropped from Ms Rowley’s winning number of 16,458 votes two years ago to 14,328 last week. While Owen Thompson’s vote rose from 15,573 to 20,033.

The Conservatives in third roughly held their vote from 2017, while Liberal Democrats in fourth doubled their share from two years ago.

Nationally, the Conservatives increased their majority at Westminster by 47 seats, with Labour suffering its worst result since the 1930s. The SNP took 48 of the 59 available seats in Scotland.

Speaking after his victory, the new Midlothian MP called for another referendum on Scottish independence.

He said: “I’m delighted to be elected as Midlothian’s MP and I look forward to being the voice of Midlothian at Westminster, and a champion for local people here in Midlothian.

“The election result was decisive in Midlothian, as it was across Scotland.

“The UK Government must now respect the voice of Scotland, and the right for us here to choose our own path.

“As we look ahead at the prospect of a January Brexit and a brutal Tory Government for at least five years it is clear I will have my work cut out for me in Westminster.”

The result was disappointing for the Labour party, not only in Midlothian but across the UK, with Danielle Rowley losing her seat despite being named recently in the top 20 hardest working MPs in the UK.

Speaking to the Advertiser at the count just before the result was announced on Friday morning, Ms Rowley said: “I know that I have had great chats, not just during this campaign but the whole time I have been elected, where people have said they are so thankful to have someone standing up for the constituency, and I have had so many people wishing me good luck and thanking me for my good work.”

Ms Rowley was the only Scottish MP in the top 20 of the UK’s first People-Power Index informing voters about how “people-powered” their MP was, announced earlier this month. The ranking, from Change.org, revealed the top MPs who engaged with their constituents over the last two years. Ms Rowley was ranked 16th in the table.

Across the UK 59 Labour MPs lost their seats last week as the party suffered a crushing defeat to the Conservatives.

Also speaking at the count, Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan (Lab) spoke of his sadness that Danielle lost her seat, given how much she had put into serving Midlothian since she was elected in 2017.

He said: “For me it’s disappointing that a young, excellent, hard-working and committed MP that’s really put her heart and soul into serving her community seems to have been caught up in national politics.”Speaking as the votes were counted at Lasswade Centre on Thursday night, Conservative candidate Rebecca Fraser told the Advertiser she was happy with how she performed in her first stint as an election candidate.

She said: “It’s interesting, it’s my first time (being a candidate). I think our vote here is holding up against what we achieved in 2017.

“Nationally, I’m delighted with how the night is going.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Arrundale was positive about the progress he has made for his party. He told the Advertiser: “We got 3.8 per cent of the vote in 2017, so my aim here is to grow the support and get back somewhere towards being a competitor at future elections.

“It looks like we have done that. I think we have achieved a lot in a small timescale.”

Full result: Steve Arrundale (Lib Dems) 3,393; Rebecca Fraser (Con) 10,467; Danielle Rowley (Lab) 14,328; Owen Thompson (SNP) 20,033. Turnout was 48,362, 68.6 per cent. There were 140 rejected ballot papers, 20 of which were for voting for more than one candidate.