NEW FOREST EAST: JULIAN LEWIS ROMPS TO VICTORY

Bournemouth Echo – 7 May 2010 [4am]

Tory Julian Lewis romped to victory in New Forest East and increased his majority by more than 3,600 votes. He trounced Liberal Democrat rival Terry Scriven, whose bid to become the Forest's first Liberal MP since 1906 ended in failure.

Dr Lewis was first elected in 1997 and will now serve a fourth term as MP for the area, which includes Totton and the Waterside. He said:

"I am naturally delighted that we have had such a stunning victory in New Forest East tonight. If ... the much hyped Liberal Democrat bounce turns out to be ephemeral, the big losers will be the pollsters and the media that made so much of it.

"I wish to offer an olive branch to Liberals Democrats locally. Despite various events that have taken place over the past two years it has been possible to work with some Liberal Democrats on issues such as fluoridation and Save Our Community Hospitals and I hope to do so in the futures."

In a clear reference to Col Scriven, who was standing beside him on the stage, Dr Lewis added:

"In 25 years in politics I had never once made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission but I did this year because somebody told a Sunday newspaper that I hardly ever visited my home in the constituency. If that somebody is here in the hall tonight I invite him to step forward and take the microphone on the basis that confession is good for soul."

Col Scriven said:

"This has been one of the most exciting elections nationally for many decades and we still do not know what the outcome is. Naturally I'm dreadfully disappointed not to have won but I have had a jolly good time."

The bitter rivalry between Dr Lewis and Col Scriven proved to be one of the hallmarks of the campaign. They were locked in a war of words well before the General Election was even declared and neither has made any attempt to hide the personal animosity they feel for each other. Both candidates had to canvass voters without the help of visits from their party leaders and other major political figures.

Dr Lewis, 58, has been Shadow Defence Minister, with special responsibility for the Royal Navy, since 2002. Mr Cameron recently praised Dr Lewis's "formidable reputation" in the field of defence and disarmament. He added:

"Julian is held in very high regard by defence experts and has brought this real experience and expertise to my front bench team."