General Election 2019: Julie Marson holds Hertford and Stortford for Conservatives
It was third time lucky as Julie Marson won the Hertford and Stortford seat for the Conservatives having twice failed to become the MP for Dagenham and Rainham in Essex.
The 54-year-old Brexiter and Boris Johnson fan becomes the first woman to represent Bishop's Stortford in the House of Commons.
She beat Labour’s Chris Vince, a Dunmow school maths teacher and Harlow councillor, who was second, with Liberal Democrat Chris Lucas, a college lecturer, third.
While the two main parties' share of the vote was down on the June 2017 General Election – with the Tories on 56.1% (down 4.2%) and Labour on 23.4% (down 5.1%) – the Lib Dems' share was up 6.2% at 14.3%.
The triumphant Tory increased her predecessor Mark Prisk’s majority marginally from 19,035 to 19,620. Turnout was 73.76% on a wet and windy Thursday, up from 72.8% two-and-a-half years ago.
The Green Party's Lucy Downes, a former Hockerill Anglo-European College student, retired airline pilot Alistair Lindsay, the UKIP candidate, and Independent Brian Percival, a barman at the Castle pub – all of whom live in Bishop's Stortford – lost their deposits.
The result was declared at Wodson Park Sports Centre in Ware at 3.45am. Ms Marson told the audience at the count: “You have put your trust in me and I will work tirelessly to repay this trust and I will put this constituency at the heart of everything I do.”
The new MP, who was born in Barking and brought up in Chadwell Heath, is married to husband Chris, has a 16-year-old son, Matthew, and a cockerpoo called Boris. She has moved to an address in Sawbridgeworth since her selection as Conservative candidate.
She was selected after Mr Prisk, a former business & enterprise and housing minister, decided in September to step down. The 57-year-old, who campaigned for Remain in the EU Referendum in 2016, held the seat for 18 years from 2001, increasing his share of the vote at every election.
After her defeats in Dagenham and Rainham in 2015, when she was third behind Labour and UKIP, and in 2017, when she was second to Labour incumbent John Cruddas, Ms Marson tried to become candidate for Grantham and Stamford in Lincolnshire before clinching the Hertford and Stortford nomination on October 24. She also stood in the 2014 European Parliament election.
A member of the Conservative Party since 2010, she is a former Thanet councillor and served as a magistrate from 2009 to 2018. During the EU Referendum campaign, she sat on the board of Women for Britain.
Her previous jobs include business and finance roles for NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and the RAC.
Educated at Woodford County High School and Downing College, Cambridge, she raised eyebrows when she claimed she was a long-term fan of Bishop’s Stortford because: “My parents used to bring my brother and me for days out to the area and it was such a contrast to where I lived it created strong memories for me.”
In her spare time, the Bruce Springsteen fan enjoys watching rugby and cricket, reading and entertaining.