Reform’s Lee Anderson re-elected as Ashfield MP

Lee Anderson MP giving his acceptance speech after winning in Ashfield for Reform UK.
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

Lee Anderson has been re-elected as Ashfield MP after defecting from Conservative to Reform.

It’s the first time Reform UK has ever had an elected MP and comes after the former Tory beat Labour’s Rhea Keehn into second.

Ashfield Independent candidate Cllr Jason Zadrozny, who is also leader of Ashfield District Council, finished in third place.

Turnout was 58 per cent, the lowest in the constituency since 2005.

Mr Anderson said he wants his “country back” after he was declared the winner, and promised Ashfield would play a part in that.

However, other candidates expressed concern about “the politics of hate and division.”

It was a moment of defeat for Labour on a night which saw them achieve an expected landslide victory and success across Nottinghamshire.

Mr Anderson was elected as the Red Wall’s seat’s first Conservative in decades in 2019, but was kicked out of the party earlier this year over comments about London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

He joined Nigel Farage’s Reform UK Party, becoming its first MP.

His majority of around 5,500 remains almost unchanged from his 2019 election win.

Speaking after his victory, he said: “I won here four years ago as a Conservative candidate. The people of Ashfield backed me, and they’ve now backed me as a Reform.

“I said a few weeks ago that there would be a reckoning on election night. Ashfield, which is the capital of common sense, is going to have a massive say in how this country is shaped in the future.”

Mr Anderson refused to speak to the media for several minutes after his victory as he waited for a live appearance on GB News, where he hosts a show but eventually gave up.

Counting at Kirkby Leisure Centre proceeded unexpectedly quickly due to lower turnout.

Rhea Keehn, Labour’s candidate for Ashfield.

Labour candidate Rhea Keehn said:  “There’s a concern that the politics of hate and division are on the rise.

“My team have done a phenomenal job in pushing back against the rise of the far right and Reform.”

Jason Zadrozny came second to Mr Anderson in 2019 but was pushed back into third.

“Labour were able to leapfrog me as people see them as a vehicle for change, but between me and Lee, there’s a massive anti-establishment vote in Ashfield,” he said.

He insisted that he would work with the re-elected MP in his day job as Ashfield District Council leader.

“We may have different opinions on a lot of things but he does care about Ashfield.

“We will work together where we have common ground. The partnership with the council is still there.”

Conservative Debbie Solomon fell was a distant fourth, despite the party winning the seat in 2019.

Alexander Coates of the Green party was in fifth, and Liberal Democrat Daniel Holmes in sixth.

Full results:

Lee Anderson (Reform): 17,062

Rhea Keehn (Lab): 11,553

Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind): 6,276

Debbie Soloman (Con): 3,271

Alexander Coates (Green): 1,100

Daniel Holmes (Lib Dem): 619

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