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Gloucestershire Business News

General Election 2024: watching the drama unfold at Gloucester

Tennis analogies aside, the election count in the sporting arena of Oxstalls Indoor Tennis Centre last night in Gloucester did not perhaps deliver a grand slam result.

As a Bellwether seat which is known for faithfully reflecting the direction of national change, incumbent MP Richard Graham knew he had both to quel the momentum of Labour in this campaign while also facing off a rear-guard action from Nigel Farage's Reform party. So in that sense, we were not braced for a shock.

Amid tears of both joy and happiness in the room, the fight Mr Graham faced proved too much and amid a moment of silence as the final result approached, it became clear that Reform had dealt a match point winner to any aspirations to continue serving the city.

With 7,307 votes, Christopher Farmer's Reform vote was never going to be enough to deliver triumph, but it was more than enough to ensure that Mr Graham's 13,041 votes were outweighed by the support for Labour's Alex McIntyre, who won game set and match with 16,472 supporters.

Mark Owen, Punchline-Gloucester.com editor, who was present for the drama to report for Punchline TV, said: "Politics can be an inhuman game of numbers, but tonight was emotionally charged. As we found with our recent Punchline hustings, this always was a clean fight devoid of nastiness. Richard Graham's speech, accepting defeat, was a lesson in how to be magnanimous.

"After working with him for 16 years in our coverage of business in the city, what was remarkabe on the night was a sense of sadness that cut through the politics: Richard really has done a sterling job for the city and we hope that he continues in his role as chair of the city's fantastic History Festival. There is no doubt about his positive impact in terms of the footprint he leaves on the history and heritage of Gloucester."

He continued: "Richard's pledge to work to help Alex McIntyre and his praise for the vital work Punchline does in ensuring transparency in democracy through an independent local media just shows the measure of this politician. He will be much missed."

Mark Owen added: "Such is politics though and on the same night we all welcomed Alex McIntyre for the good spirit he has shown in the campaign and his victory speech, as well as his pledge to work for the benefit of everyone. 

"The eyes of the business community will be on him and we will be sure to report on what lies ahead as the new government begins."

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