By Harry Mottram: The MP representing Axbridge as part of the Wells and Mendip Hills constituency in the next parliament will be Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt. The former MP and current Somerset councillor romped to victory in the General Election of Thursday, 4th May, 2024, with a majority of 11,121. That is far in excess of her majority when she won the seat in 2010 when she defeated the Conservative David Heathcoat-Amory but then lost out to James Heappey in 2015.

The voters of the newly created constituency – it was formerly Wells – which has returned MPs since 1295 – have given Ms Munt a clear mandate to represent them after she fought an energetic campaign against her Conservative rival Meg Powell-Chandler. Meg was not helped by the national swing against the Tories created in part by the partygate scandal, the short lived premiership of Liz Truss (who lost her Norfork seat to Labour) and The Cost of Living Crisis. Also not being a resident and with associations with Boris Johnson and 10 Downing Street maybe counted against her – although she posted some very professional videos online. The surge in support for Reform UK’s Helen Himms who polled third with over 6,000 votes will have taken some of the oxygen from Meg’s campaign. Helen will have benefited from being a resident and known business woman but also from the high profile media presence of Reform’s leader Nigel Farage who won in Clacton.

This trio hit the vote of fourth placed Joe Joseph for Labour. In normal times an ex RAF man and sheep farmer would have expected to have done much better than his 3,527 votes. He was one of the few Labour candidates nationally who saw his share of the vote fall. Unlike across the country where Kier Starmer’s party have picked up 411 seats and a large majority over the much diminished Conservative party of Rishi Sunak. The received wisdom is that many Labour voters swithed their support to the Lib Dems – but that is speculation.

Peter Welsh for the Green Party polled a creditable 2,068 votes – a similar number to the last time the Greens put up a candidate in 2015 – and he will be cheered by the fact that the Green’s now run Bristol and also now have a Green Party MP in Bristol Central with Carla Denyer.

Abie McGuire from Shepton Mallet stood as an Independent and polled 1,849 – she ran a professional campaign and despite the small amount of votes as a first timer with no party support she did very well and has certainly raised her profile locally.

Finally Craig Clarke who was another Independent pulled in just 190 votes – and will lose his deposit – but will have the satisfaction that he took an active role in our democratic process.

These results are from the BBC:

Wells and Mendip Hills results

Counting complete

Change compared with 2019

  1. Liberal Democrat,Tessa Munt
    • Votes 23,622
    • Share 46.9%
    • Share change +16.1
  2. Conservative,Meg Powell-Chandler
    • Votes 12,501
    • Share 24.8%
    • Share change -31.3
  3. Reform UK,Helen Hims
    • Votes 6,611
    • Share 13.1%
    • Share change +13.1
  4. Labour,Joe Joseph
    • Votes 3,527
    • Share 7.0%
    • Share change -3.8
  5. Green,Peter Welsh
    • Votes 2,068
    • Share 4.1%
    • Share change +2.9
  6. Independent,Abi McGuire
    • Votes 1,849
    • Share 3.7%
    • Share change +3.7
  7. Independent,Craig Clarke
    • Votes 190
    • Share 0.4%
    • Share change +0.4

Change compared with 2019

Axbridge News is edited by Harry Mottram and is published for the interest of himself and fellow residents.

Harry is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc