'I'm glad we cut Miliband's majority' - The Tory outsider who almost took Doncaster North
The Tory outsider who nearly pulled off a shock result in unseating former Labour leader Ed Miliband hopes he will ‘sit up and think’ about his role as MP.
Guildford-born Katrina Sale, aged 30, helped to slash Mr Miliband’s 2017 majority of 14,000 to 2,370.
Tory insiders said Sale is a ‘rising star’ within the party and may have been placed to run against Miliband under the close eye of Conservative party bosses.
Sale, and Doncaster Central candidate Roberto Weedan-Sanz, were instructed by Tory chiefs in London to focus much of their campaigning helping out in neighbouring target seats of Penistone and Stocksbridge, straddling Sheffield and Barnsley and the constituency of Rother Valley in the Rotherham borough.
Doncaster North, which comprises areas such as Bentley, Askern, Fishlake, Stainforth, Moorends, Adwick, Spotbrough and Mexborough, has been a safe Labour seat since the constituency was drawn up in 1983.
Ms Sale, an entrepreneur who lives in Dulwich, west London, said: “It’s been a very intense campaign but it’s also been very exciting and coming into the day thinking, ‘God, am I going to come third or if what if I’m going to win?’.
“It was such an unusual election and it wasn’t clear what was going to happen at all.
General Election 2019 - Doncaster North: Former Labour leader Ed Miliband holds seat but only scrapes majority of just 2,300
“I’m glad in some ways that it was a close race and I’m glad we cut (Ed Miliband’s) majority and I hope it’s going to make him sit up and think about the way he acts as an MP because there has to be some changes around here.
“It’s always going to be disappointing when you don’t win but a 14,000 majority is so massive.”
The Brexit Party’s Andy Stewart also racked up 8,294 votes, arguably splitting the Tory vote.
Roberto Weeden-Sanz, the Conservative candidate up against Rosie Winterton in Doncaster Central, also came close to taking the seat.
The constituency includes areas such as the town centre, Armthorpe, Cantley, Bessacarr, Balby and Hexthorpe.
Winterton, who has been an MP since 1997, had her majority of around 10,000 cut to 2,278.
Posting on social media, he said: “We didn't quite make it this time but I want to say an enormous thank you to the thousands of people in Doncaster Central who put their trust in me and voted Conservative yesterday.
“We got closer than any election since Anthony Barber stood in 1964 and with just two thousand votes between us and Labour, Doncaster is now marginal!
“It is fantastic to see a resounding victory for the Conservatives across the country and particularly to see so much of Yorkshire go blue! I am excited for what the next five years will bring!”
The Brexit Party’s Surjit Duhre also helped to slash Labour’s majority, after receiving 6,842 votes.
Mr Weeden-Sanz is a Tory councillor in his native Barnet, north London and attended Oxford University as a student.
He was dropped as union president after missing three meetings.
The Oxford Tab reported Weeden-Sanz missed the union meetings as he had a society business engagement at the same time and on another occasion he missed it because he was at his grandmother’s funeral.