Election result: Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer among Conservative casualties

Written by Richard Johnstone on 9 June 2017 in News
News

Ten ministers lose seats as Conservatives forced to form minority government

Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer is one of ten senior government front-benchers to lose their seats after the Conservatives fell short of an overall majority in the House of Commons.

Following an unexpected swing to Labour in the election results, the Conservatives lost their overall majority but remain the biggest party with 318 out of 650 seats, down 12. Labour won 261 seats, up 29, while the Scottish National Party remain the third biggest party in the House of Commons with 35 seats, but down 21.

The Liberal Democrats won 12 seats, an increase of four, with former ministers Sir Vince Cable and Sir Edward Davey returning to the Commons, but former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg lost his Sheffield Hallam seat.

Prime minister Theresa May was this afternoon expected to form a government through an arrangement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists, who have 10 MPs.


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Other Conservative ministers to lose their seats include two Treasury ministers: financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison and economic secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby. Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell also lost his Croydon Central seat.

Gummer, who has been responsible for the running of the civil service as well as coordinating work across government departments since May become prime minister last July, lost his Ipswich seat to Labour’s Sandy Martin.

The Cabinet Office minister had held a majority of 3,733, but Martin reversed that to win by 831 votes.

As Cabinet Office minister, Gummer – who had been tipped for promotion if the Conservatives won a strong majority – had set out a number of possible reforms, including the Government Transformation Strategy that is intended to put digital at the “heart of transformation” in Whitehall.

Gummer said the strategy had four broad aims: to use digital government to deliver better public services; to harness the value of data for better policymaking; to ensure equality within the civil service; and to drive further efficiencies within the government. The future of the strategy, which calls for greater collaboration across government departments is now unclear. Gummer was also a co-author of the Conservative manifesto that pledged to move civil servants out of London and the South East.

Health minister Nicola Blackwood also lost in Oxford West and Abingdon to Liberal Democrat Layla Moran, while international development minister James Wharton lost Stockton South to Labour's Paul Williams and Rob Wilson, civil society minister in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, lost Reading East to Labour’s Matt Rodda.

Children’s minister Edward Timpson lost Crewe and Nantwich to Labour’s Laura Smith by just 48 votes, while health minister David Mowat lost Warrington South to Labour's Faisal Rashid. Northern Ireland Office minister Kris Hopkins also lost his seat of Keighley.

In Scotland, the SNP won 35 of the 59 constituencies, down 21 seats. The Conservatives secured 13 seats in the country, while Labour won seven and the Liberal Democrats four. Senior SNP figures to lose their seats included former Scottish Government first minister Alex Salmond and Westminster deputy leader Angus Robertson.

In Wales, Labour won 28 of the 40 seats, up three from before parliamentary dissolution, while the Conservatives lost three seats to win eight. Plaid Cymru won four seats, up one, but the Liberal Democrats lost their only MP.

In Northern Ireland, the DUP won 10 of the 18 seats, with Sinn Féin, who do not take up their seats at Westminster, winning the remainder. This means both the Social Democratic and Labour Party (down three MPs) and the Ulster Unionists (down two) lost their House of Commons representation.

About the author

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @RichRJohnstone

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