Northumberland MP Guy Opperman believes Tories won because they stuck to the centre ground

Northumberland MP Guy Opperman said Conservatives won because they back the NHS and higher wages - and his party must never forget it

Guy Opperman celebrates with is supporters in Hexham
Guy Opperman celebrates with is supporters in Hexham

Conservatives won the General Election because they stuck firmly to the centre ground, according to a North East MP.

But Guy Opperman, MP for the Northumberland seat of Hexham, warned that his party must never forget that British voters will back the Tories as long as they remain “moderate, sensible” party in the centre.

He saw his majority in the Northumberland seat of Hexham, where Labour was second, increase from 5,788 in 2010 to 12,031 in last week’s general election.

While the sole Tory gain in the North East was in Berwick-upon-Tweed, which Conservatives took from the Liberal Democrats, Mr Opperman said his result illustrated Labour’s failure to win against Conservatives when the two parties faced a direct battle.

Labour also failed to unseat James Wharton, the Conservative MP for Stockton South, where the Tories were defending a majority of just 332 with Labour second.

It should have been a seat that Labour had a chance of winning - but the Conservative majority actually rose, to 5,046.

Poll loading …

Mr Opperman said Labour tried to run a campaign against an extreme party which wanted to destroy the NHS and cut wages - while Conservative candidates were actually calling for higher wages and more health spending.

He said Labour ran a campaign “against a Conservative Party that simply no longer exists”.

Mr Opperman said: “Labour were shadow-boxing an enemy that only existed in their memories . . . the Labour Party, like a poorly directed amateur dramatics society, continued re-enacting battles from the 1970s and 1980s, whilst the Conservative cavalry quietly conquered the marginals.”

He added: “The Prime Minister has not just led the Conservatives to victory, but he has reclaimed for the Conservatives the land where elections are won, and majorities are made – the centre ground of British Politics. That is where we won – and that is where we must stay.”

Mr Opperman said: “In Stockton South, Labour told people that James Wharton, the local Conservative MP, didn’t care about the NHS. Yet, it was James who was leading the campaign for £50 million to be invested in his local NHS hospital.

“In my own patch, Labour put out a leaflet on polling day telling voters I was opposed to the Minimum Wage. Not only do I wholeheartedly support the Minimum Wage, but I have been a passionate advocate of the Living Wage for the past two years.”

Writing on his blog, Mr Opperman also argued that Labour’s campaign was too left wing, but said “Miliband is a decent man, just very misguided.”

North East General and Local Election results 2015

Results: North East constituency election results in full: How you voted in the General Election

Results: Local election results in full: How the North East voted for its councillors

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer