CONSERVATIVE MP, Jesse Norman, retained his seat in Hereford and South Herefordshire despite Labour’s landslide election victory across the country.

After the polling stations closed at 10pm on Thursday, the exit polls made bleak reading for the Conservative party, but it did suggest Mr Norman was on course to keep his seat in the House of Commons.

The constituency includes Ross-on-Wye, and the villages of Welsh Newton, Llangrove, Llangarron, St Weonards and Garway near Monmouth, plus Pontrilas and Ewyas Harold near Abergavenny.

Ballot boxes arrived at Hereford Leisure Centre only a few minutes after polls closed and the verification process was soon underway with the hard-working election count team. The ballots remain mixed up to preserve the secrecy of the vote.

COUNT: The counting of the votes for the Hereford and South Herefordshire constituency takes place at the city's leisure centre. (Tindle)

Any ballots not marked with an ‘X’ in the box next to a candidate were passed to the Returning Officer to confirm if the voter’s intention was clear. Any unclear ballots were rejected at this stage.

A number of verification issues were identified due to voters using black ink that had smudged in transit, creating multiple marks across the ballot paper.

The turnout figures were then announced by Paul Walker, Acting Returning Officer, as 63.3 per cent, significantly down from the 68.9 per cent turnout from the 2019 election.

Following the formal verification process the main counting procedure began with the count teams sorting the ballot papers by candidate. In the early stages of the count Labour candidate, Joe Emmett and Independent, Mark Weadon, were the most visible.

Both interacted with the counting agents and council staff with Mr Emmett in high spirits after the exit poll’s implication of Labour’s landslide.

Mr Weadon seemed to be enjoying the experience, despite his acceptance that a shock victory wasn’t on the cards for him, by summing up his experience in this election by saying, “Democracy is a privilege and running was enough of a victory.”

As the count approached the final stages, Jesse Norman MP arrived at 3:30am perhaps hoping the declaration to be imminent.

Local Conservative representatives, seemingly discouraged by the exit poll’s nationwide predictions, lacked confidence in holding this parliamentary seat.

Many suggested that Hereford and South Herefordshire could go the same way as many Tory seats across the country and a Labour gain was a possibility.

At 5am the media were gathered in the count room with a declaration expected. High Sheriff Patricia Churchward, Returning Officer, announced the results of the North Herefordshire in which the Green Party took a shock victory over the Conservatives.

To add to the anticipation the gathered media were then removed from the count as there was a further delay to the Hereford and South Herefordshire declaration with further counts taking place.

Eventually, the returning officer shared the provisional results with the candidates and the official declaration took place at 5:20am.

ANTICIPATION: Diana Toynbee, (Green), Mark Weadon, (Ind), Nigel Ely, (Reform), Joe Emmett, (Lab), Dan Powell, (LibDems) and Jesse Norman (Con) listen as the Returning Officer announces the results. (Tindle)

Mr Norman achieved 14,871 votes to hold onto the Hereford and South Herefordshire constituency, narrowly beating Mr Emmett by 1,279 votes.

On his re-election Mr Norman said: “If I think of the issues that have been raised across the county. The state of the roads, the state of the river (and) the state of our children’s services, there are so many areas where we need to continue to make progress locally as well as nationally.

“I could not be more proud of the work we’ve done in this county over the last 14 years.”

Despite missing out on this parliamentary seat Mr Emmett remained positive about Labour’s election victory. He said: “(A Labour government) will be a chance for better services, the NHS, dentists and more green jobs in this area”.

Mr Norman admitted that his role as part of the opposition would be different to his previous parliamentary work. He said: “We will do everything we can, collectively, to represent this county with the new government as effectively as we possibly can.”


The full results for Hereford and South Herefordshire:


ELY, Nigel (Reform UK) 8395

EMMETT, Joe (Labour Party) 13,592

NORMAN, Jesse (The Conservative Party) 14,871

POWELL, Dan (Liberal Democrats) 5325

TOYNBEE, Diana Stella (Green Party) 3175

WEADEN, Mark (Independent) 214