Beaten Tory MEP admits defeat is setback

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Ousted Conservative MEP Martin Callanan has admitted that losing his seat in the North East is a setback for the party ahead of next year’s General Election.

The Tories lost their seat in the North East in last week’s election, with Labour taking two seats and UKIP winning their first ever MEP in the region.

Mr Callanan said: “Of course it’s a setback, losing any election is always a setback.”

He added: “The North East has always been a Labour stronghold. I managed to cling on in the region three times, unfortunately  a fourth was too much.”

However, he remained optimistic for his party’s prospects heading into the General Election.

He said: “You mustn’t read too much into election results. They’re a very bad predictor traditionally of General Election results.

“I won here in 1999, in 2004 and the party went on to lose the subsequent General Election.

Mr Callanan, who was the leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, had held his seat since 1999, and was one of seven Tory MEPs across the UK who lost their seats.

Nationally, the Conservatives slipped into third with 24% of the vote, winning 19 MEPS, while in the North East, they scored 18%.#####

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