Skip to content

Labour’s Meg Hillier re-elected as MP for Hackney South – but says national picture is ‘gutting’

Meg Hillier MP. Photograph: UK Parliament

Meg Hillier has been re-elected as MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch.

The Labour MP has been returned to Westminster by 39,884 Hackney voters on a turnout of 61.1 per cent.

Hillier has said that bleak exit polls for Labour predicting a Tory majority of 86 at the start of election night had left her “gutted”, and pledged to instantly use her time in the Commons to “highlight the reality of life for people in Hackney…who are not getting a fair deal under the Tory government”.

She accused Boris Johnson of “not having a clue” what locals’ lives are like.

Reacting to the national outlook for the party, Hillier said: “It is a bad result, as it takes us a very long way from a Labour government. There’s a lot of ground to fight back by the next election. 

“The Conservative plan for Brexit is not a good plan – it’s not a plan really, there’s so much wrong with it. So that’s really gutting, and I’m still trying to digest it, really.

“There needs to be, and in the past we haven’t done this well enough, proper and detailed reflection with people who lost seats in particular on what it was that lost them those seats.”

Hackney South and Shoreditch’s MP said she had hoped to never face “the Friday 13th that will be unlucky for us all” of Boris Johnson returning to Number 10, warning of the “catastrophic” impact on Hackney of a Johnson administration leading the UK out of the EU on 31 January.

Hillier said her campaign had been fought on a “great agenda”, but that in comparison to the Tories’ simple slogan of ‘Get Brexit Done’, Labour’s message had not been “simple for people on the doorstep”.

She added: “There was nothing wrong with what Labour was saying particularly, but I speculate that the Brexit message really made the difference across the country, as it was a really simple message.”

Hillier, who would have campaigned for Remain under a Labour government offering a second referendum, said that the NHS as an issue of concern had been communicated to her by voters ” very strongly”.

She found that Brexit was on the radar as a talking point in some parts of her constituency, and above all focused on the “difficult conditions” experienced by Hackney locals day to day.

She now intends to use her first speech in the new Commons to draw attention to those “screwed down” by poverty and uncertain pay, as well as overcrowded housing, private renting in great uncertainty, and poorly paid employment.

Hillier added: “Politics is about providing a rung on the ladder that might be out of reach for certain people. The Tories have swept the lower rungs so there isn’t a chance for people to grab the ladder of opportunity and that is a tragedy.”

Conservative candidate Mark Beckett came in second in Hillier’s constituency with 5,899 votes, with Lib Dem candidate Dave Raval following behind on 4,853.

Green candidate Tyrone Scott received 2,948 votes, with the Brexit Party’s Robert Lloyd and the Workers’ Revolutionary Party’s Jonty Leff bringing up the rear on 744 and 111 respectively. 

Real news stories don't come cheap.

The Hackney Citizen is the borough’s only independent newspaper, and is now in its tenth year.

Our hard-hitting journalism has uncovered fire safety failures in tower blocks, revealed plans to criminalise rough sleepers, exposed dodgy letting agents and reported on many other issues of public concern.

We’ve always been totally free in print and online, but advertising revenues are falling.

That’s why we’re asking for your help.

Hackney Citizen’s high quality journalism is produced by a small team on a shoestring budget, so we’re asking you to make a monthly contribution to fund our work, enabling the paper to survive and thrive.

Support the Hackney Citizen from as little as £2 per month.

Can you spare £4 a month or more? Get the paper delivered direct to your door each month! (UK only)