BATTLING to secure the best Brexit deal for Portsmouth is top of the agenda for returning MP Penny Mordaunt.
Ms Mordaunt clinched a landslide victory in the general election, claiming Portsmouth North for the third successive time with a majority of 10,059. The Tory gained almost 5,000 votes from her 2015 result, demolishing support for Ukip, with its vote share slumping from 8,660 to 1,926. While a resurgent Labour gained just under 5,000 additional votes from 2015 romping into second place. In Ms Mordaunt’s victory speech she claimed the next five years were ‘critical’ in negotiating a Brexit deal that would help Portsmouth – and the UK – ‘thrive’. And she pledged she would aim to look at ‘regenerating’ the city as well as backing transport projects to slash congestion and parking woes. Speaking after her victory, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I’m really deeply touched by the people in my constituency. ‘I was very aware both at the polling stations and throughout the course of the campaign, that people who had never voted Conservative before were lending their vote to me.
‘You feel a great responsibilty when that happens to continue doing a good job. ‘I’m just really humbled to have been given a third term and I will continue to work my hardest and do my best for the people in the city.’ She added: ‘Brexit negotiations start in 11 days and that is absolutely critical for our city that we get off to a good start with that, that we’re able to progress with that quickly, that we provide swift certainty for EU nationals, for British citizens overseas and for businesses.’ Other aspects Ms Mordaunt pledged to look at included further developments at Tipnor, as well as looking at improving help for creative arts in the city.
Ms Mordaunt admitted she had a tough campaign, physically. An operation to her ankle had left her bed-bound for much of it. She used crutches to make her way onto the stage in Guildhall. Her victory was greeted with rapturous applause from fellow Tories. But moments later, results revealed her Conservative colleague, Flick Drummond, had been beaten in Portsmouth South, with Labour’s Stephen Morgan claiming a shock victory. Ms Mordaunt praised Mrs Drummond’s ‘tremendous dedication’ to Portsmouth. She said: ‘Flick has never taken anything for granted and I want to pay tribute to her. When you have fought an election as a serious candidate and fought it to win, it’s exhausting. ‘It’s a huge commitment by an individual and her family and Flick has done that four times. She conducted herself with tremendous dignity and courage.’