One of the biggest shocks in the early hours of Friday morning came when Labour's Jenny Riddell-Carpenter beat Dame Therese Coffey to take the Suffolk Coastal seat.

Just hours earlier it had been announced that the former Deputy Prime Minister had been created a dame in Rishi Sunak's dissolution honours list.

Ms Riddell-Carpenter is now heading to Westminster to be sworn in as an MP.

She said her three main priorities were to improve adult care, provision for children with special needs and to clean up the environment - particularly the state of rivers in her constituency.

Ms Riddell-Carpenter's victory was an historic moment - it was the first time voters in Suffolk Coastal had voted to have a Labour MP.

Ms Riddell-Carpenter took the seat with 15,672 votes, a majority of 1,070 over second place Dame Therese on 14,602 who had held the seat for 14 years since 2010 - and until last autumn was the longest continuously-serving minister in the government.

Congratulating her opponent, Dame Therese partly blamed Reform UK, which took 7,850 votes, for her defeat.

Dame Therese said she always knew that it would be a “hard battle” to win. “It has been the privilege of my life to be the member of parliament for Suffolk Coastal since 2010, until tonight,” she said.

“This has not been an easy campaign for me, not an easy result for me or for my party across the country. But I know that also, with turnout down, it was going to be a struggle. With Reform rebounding, it was going to be a struggle, and so it proved.”

She thanked everyone who had been part of her campaign, and all those who voted for her. Dame Therese continued: “I know that we worked hard, but it wasn’t enough. Democracy is what it is, and I respect that.” She added that, having been made a dame on the day of election itself, was in a way a “bittersweet ending”.

The seat had been Tory-held for decades, even withstanding the Labour landslide in 1997 when Conservative John Gummer retained the seat with 21,696 (32% of the vote).
Mr Gummer retired in 2010, which is when Dame Therese took over, scoring 25,475 (46% of the vote).
This majority has only increased in the intervening years.
In 2015, she got 28,855 votes. This was just under 52%, with a majority of 18,842 votes between her and her closest rival, Labour’s Russell Whiting.
In 2017, Dame Therese retained the seat with 33,713 (58% of the vote).
At the last election in 2019, her total number of votes was slightly lower at 32,958, 1.5% down from 2017. 

Result in full

Jenny Riddell-Carpenter (L) 15,672

Dame Therese Coffey* (C) 14,602

Matthew Jackson (RUK) 7,850

Julia Ewart (LD) 6,947

Julian Cusack (G) 4,380

Majority 1,070

Turnout 66%