Aylesbury’s returning MP David Lidington says that he is delighted that his constituents have voted him back into office
Mr Lidington, who was also Minister for Europe under the last government, spoke to the Bucks Herald this morning, shortly after the result was announced.
He said: “I’m absolutely delighted, and very tired by this stage in the morning. That was the biggest majority that I’ve had in terms of numbers since 1992, and I am very pleased.
“I owe a tremendous debt to the people who voted for me and of course the very hard working volunteers of the local Conservative Party.
“We went out and we knocked on thousands of doors in all corners of the constituency to get this result.”
UKIP, lead by candidate Chris Adams emerged as the second strongest party on the night, winning 10,925 votes.
And when asked whether he thought UKIP had been a credible election threat Mr Lidington said: “You never take anybody’s vote for granted, and I always try no matter how big the majority. As Scotland today shows you cannot simple assume that you are safe all the time you have to earn the election. I think what did strike us quite early on, was that though UKIP was spending a great deal of money and clearly mounting a high profile campaigning paying for advertising and paid distribution and so on, our canvass returns were telling us a different story.
“Our canvass returns were telling us quite consistently that, yes there were some people that were going from Conservative to UKIP, but not in massive numbers and that we were gaining support from people who at the last election voted Liberal Democrat or even Labour.”
He added: “There were a lot of people I think that were quite undecided until quite late on in the campaign, and I think that the message that David Cameron put about the central importance of the economy did come through.”
And Mr Lidington said that he did not agree with many aspects of UKIP’s stance on immigration.
He said: “A lot of people decided they were going to vote for UKIP. I’ve never been tempted to become a UKIP supporter myself but people are entitled in a democracy to put people up as candidates and to run an electoral challenge.”
He added: “People who were voting for UKIP raised immigration more than anything else on the doorstep, more than HS2 actually.
“That was clearly a national thing but I think that the strident way that UKIP goes about dealing with these issues is wrong.
“You can support firm and fair immigration controls but at the same time recognise and respect the contribution from so many people from other countries now make to British society.
“Go into Stoke Mandeville Hospital you can see it happening, go into our schools and you will see teachers there. So I think that the issues facing the United Kingdom and certainly facing Aylesbury is how you unite and integrate a diverse community.
“And as an MP I try in my small way to do something.”
We also asked Mr Lidington about HS2, as in his last tenure the MP came under fire as his ministerial position prevented him from voting against the scheme.
He said: “The first thing we’ve got is the committee coming, probably in a couple of weeks time, we don’t know for certain yet because that will depend on whether the committee will have to be reconstituted after the election or whether they can just get on with it.
“I will need to make sure that we have got an itinerary planned so they see the right people in Aylesbury, Wendover, Fairford Leys and Stoke Mandeville and they get to understand what the problems are.”
He added: “This is a really important visit for getting the problems facing the Aylesbury area really into the front of the committee’s minds.”