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General Election – Lib Dems Win Guildford with a 8,500 Majority

Published on: 4 Jul, 2024
Updated on: 5 Jul, 2024

Declaration of Guildford election result

By Martin Giles, Hugh Coakley and Tony Ferris

Follow the story of the election count, as reported live, below…

The Liberal Democrats won an historic election victory here this morning when Zoe Franklin became Guildford’s new MP with a respectable majority of 8,429.

Ms Franklin is only the second non Conservative MP to represent Guildford since 1910.

In what is part of a political earthquake across the country there were other Lib Dem wins across Surrey. That would have been unimaginable before the country became disillusioned with the Conservative Party after the Covid Pandemic.

The five other Surrey constituencies now orange are: Dorking & Horley; Epsom & Ewell; Esher & Walton; Surrey Heath; and Woking.

Former Chancellor Jeremy Hunt managed to hang on in the new Godalming & Ash Constituency and the Tories also retained their seats in East Surrey; Reigate; Runnymede; and Spelthorne. The new constituency of Farnham & Bordon, which straddles the Surrey/Hants border, was also won by the Conservatives.

See interview with Guildford’s new Lib Dem MP here…

And see our interview with the losing former Conservative MP Angela Richardson here…

05.46 Result declared Lib Dems win Guildford.

Zoe Franklin Lib Dem 22,937 (elected)

Sarah Gillinson Labour 3,931

John Morris Peace Party 255

Sam Peters Green Party 2,268

Angela Richardson Conservative 14,508

Dennis Saunders Reform 4,395

Total spoiled or rejected votes 162

05.41 Agents and candidates called in. Told result in five minutes.

05.24 Puzzled looks continue here. Bundles of votes being carried around and counted.

04.46 Count checking continuing here as news arrives that Jeremy Hunt has survived in Godalming & Ash.

04.10 Votes being recounted to try and reconcile a discrepancy between the total number of votes counted and those cast. Only a short delay expected.

03.47 Votes for Dennis Saunders, Reform UK, party being counted now. He is the last candidate to have his votes. Result should not be too far away.

03.24 They are counting the votes candidate by candidate, in alphabetic order. Currently the votes for Angela Richardson are being counted, gathered into bundles of twenty, then grouped into five bundles ie 100 votes and then added to one of three central tables ranked by candidate.

Listen to former Labour candidate Anne Rouse on the incidence of tactical voting in this election…

02.54 Angela Richardson arrives at the count and receives what appeared to be a sympathetic round of applause from her supporters.

Angela Richardson and her agent Adam Heilbrom arrive at the count.

02.35 Expecations are increasing here for a comfortable Lib Dem victory.


The count underway.

The Lib Dem camp.

The press desk

02.13 Sorting boxes being cleared away so presumably we are moving to the next stage – counting.

01.48 Call for agents to witness the first adjudication of doubtful ballot papers ie those without a clear indication of voting preference. Evidently some messages seen were a little less than polite!

Lib Dem candidate Zöe Franklin with her husband Chris.

01.27 Lib Dem candidate Zöe Franklin has arrived at the count with her husband Chris looking cheerful but declined to make a comment. Conservatives meanwhile were seen to be to be watching TV coverage looking glum.

Boxes ready for the next stage of vote sorting by candidate.

01:10 Despite earlier reports of a high turnout out, it is actually down by 7% to 68.6% compared with the last general election.  48,457 voted out of 70,662 eligible to vote.

In 2019 the turnout was 75.7% , 87% postal 72.1% at polling stations.

01:06 The live stream for the counts in all constituencies including those in Surrey (including Guildford) is available at:

0050: Official turnout report for Guildford expected soon.

Dennis Saunders

00:41 Dennis Saunders, the Reform UK candidate, expressed unhappiness with Dragon coverage. He said: “I’m not happy with The Dragon. We will do better than the 5 per cent The Dragon predicted in its [straw poll] earlier.

“I am not going to talk to you any more this evening.”

00:34 There are reports of a high turnout in Guildford in contrast with turnout reports currently being reported from across the country of around only 50%.

00:32 Sam Peters, the Green Party candidate, told The Dragon: “We are optimistic that our vote share will show that our policies on the NHS, Climate, Water and Educate and our others have increasing support.”

Bob Hughes

00:13 Some quotes. Bob Hughes, of the Conservatives, said: “We’re not doing as well as we would like. It’s a shame the papers have been talking about the polls and not the issues.”

“We are trying to work out where our votes are. It helps for future campaigns.”

Brian Creese of Labour said: “We are deeply mixed. The national picture looks astonishingly good. A lot of us have been working in Aldershot and that’s being projected as a Labour win; it’s been Tory since 1857. But here it looks like the Lib Dem tactical vote has squeezed us out.”

Sean Packman, the Lib Dem agent, said: “We’re not saying anything at the moment because there’s nothing to report.”

00:04 If the Lib Dems do win it will be an historic result. But it will not be unprecedented. They won with Sue Doughty in 2001. However, with that exception, Guildford has been part of a true-blue Conservative heartland it candidates often securing over 50% of the vote.

Guildford MPs since 1910. Wikipedia

23.50 Incumbent Angela Richardson (Con) is defending a majority of only 3,300 and if the polls are correct the seat is likely to be one of several in Surrey that are expected to go Lib Dem. If it does, it will be third time lucky for Lib Dem Zöe Franklin, who also stood and was runner-up in 2017 and 2019.

Main contenders Zoe Franklin (Lib Dem) and Angela Richardson (Con)

23.41 Even with all the signs in their favour there is still a nervousness about counting chickens in the Lib Dem camp. But Labour observers clearly expect many of their supporters will have voted tactically for the Lib Dems as part of the seemingly irresistible anti-Tory tide.

Party observers have already started assessing voting trends by ward by counting votes as they are being verified.

23.20: Good evening from Spectrum. The candidates have yet to appear but activity at the Guildford constituency count is already underway. Verification of the ballot papers in which the totals are tallied against the returns sent by by the polling station officials.



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Responses to General Election – Lib Dems Win Guildford with a 8,500 Majority

  1. Gavin Morgan Reply

    July 5, 2024 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for this coverage of an important event especially as the count went on throughout the night and would have been missed by most residents. This is a great example of the value The Dragon gives to the town. We are lucky to have it.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    July 7, 2024 at 11:17 am

    First, I congratulate Ms Zoe Franklin on her success in the recent election and wish her good luck as our Parliamentary representative. I am sorry we shall lose Ms Angela Richardson. She did her very best, as did her very helpful and accomplished team. She made a difference but sadly she was encumbered by the well known failings of the national Conservative party and a number of her Parliamentary colleagues. I wish Zoe, Angela and their teams well for the future.

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