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General election results 2017 for South and North Thanet

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Despite the news of charges over previous election expenses, Craig Mackinlay retained his seat for South Thanet - and increased his majority.

With a turnout of 68.91%, he gained 6,000 more votes than when he defeated Nigel Farage in 2015.

Mr Mackinlay was one of the last candidates to arrive on the night, turning up at 1am to watch the count.

Election count underway in Thanet (2017330)
Election count underway in Thanet (2017330)

Before finding out he has won, Mr Mackinlay said of the expenses allegations: "It was a remarkable thing six days before an election.

"What more can I say about that - I know I've done nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong at all during 2015.

"It was an unfortunate decision which could have been made after the election or indeed made months before.

"It was a peculiar thing, you wouldn't see this under normal purdah rules. It was bizarre."

So there was a sense of relief for Mr Mackinaly when the result was revealed.

South Thanet (2017032)
South Thanet (2017032)

Mr Mackinlay said: "It's fantastic. When we first arrived the piles were building up and it was looking a little bit tight for a while but 6,387 in the end is a very reasonable majority and I'm very pleased with that.

"I'm delighted to be back in post for South Thanet. Two years wasn't really enough to do everything I want to do here.

"I certainly hope the next five years will be."

He also commented on Brexit, saying he hoped for an overall Conservative majority 'to take forward Brexit properly'.

His wish did not come true, however, as the election ended with a hung parliament.

Mr Mackinlay also thanked his rival candidates.

He said: "I've known Raushan in the community for years and she put up a very, very good campaign.

"But also to Stuart Piper, who I know has a role in the local authority, thank you for standing as well."

Labour hopeful Raushan Ara came second with 18,875 votes and Ukip candidate Stuart Piper came third with 2,997.

Former South Thanet candidate Nigel Farage had returned to Thanet days before voting took place to rally support for Mr Piper.

In a statement after the result, Raushan Ara said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people in South Thanet who gave me their support and votes during the general election campaign.

"I am very grateful ti everyone who helped me, encouraged me to fight this election, or just put a cross next to my name.

"The reason that I wanted to become your MP was because I am very passionate about the people of South Thanet, and about improving everyone's lives."

An MP since 1983, Sir Roger Gale once again took the seat for North Thanet, with a total of 27,163 votes, 4,000 more votes than he gained in 2015.

Mr Gale said: "I always find it very humbling to be elected. I never take it for granted.

"I've been fortunate enough to have a sizeable majority for quite a long time.

North Thanet (2017034)
North Thanet (2017034)

"But there's a payback for that.
"The payback is hard work. You have to get on and do the job.

"So it's the people of North Thanet, the people of Herne Bay, the people of Margate and of the villages that I say thank you to.
"And my team, who are wonderful.

"My ongoing priorities are the future of Manston and other significant issues local that have got to be addressed."

He added: "One or two people have to unkind to suggest that it's time I retied, and my answer to that is that I'm taking my steer from the Duke of Edinburgh.

"I love this place. I love North Thanet, I love Margate. They're great towns and have great people."

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