LABOUR were the big winners on Wearside as Sunderland made it six in a row.
The city won the race to declare Britain’s first General Election result for the sixth year running – with Bridget Phillipson named the first MP of the new Parliament less than an hour after polls closed.
The Houghton and Sunderland South MP retained her seat with 21,218 votes, more than 2,000 up on 2010.
Labour increased its vote across Wearside, with Julie Elliott seeing her vote in Sunderland Central rise by more than 1,400, while Sharon Hodgson added more than 860 to her vote in Washington and Sunderland West.
Ukip were the other winners, pushing the Tories into second place in Houghton and Sunderland South and Washington and Sunderland West and missing out on the runner-up slot in Sunderland Central by less than 1,800 votes.
But the result was a disaster for the Liberal Democrats, who came in behind the Greens in all three constituencies.
For me, it is the biggest privilege in the world to continue to represent the city I live in.Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott
Bridget Phillipson paid tribute to the organisation that saw Sunderland return the first three results of the night for the second General Election running.
“It is an incredible operation they run here in Sunderland, efficient and speedy,” she said.
“It is always good, as a candidate, not to have to wait too long to see the result. I think a lot of areas could learn from Sunderland.”
Julie Elliott said: “For me, it is the biggest privilege in the world to continue to represent the city I live in.”
Sharon Hodgson said she was unsurprised to see the Lib Dem vote collapse: “I know we have found that on the doorstep.
“I am pleased the people of Sunderland have stuck with Labour and given us their confidence.”
Ukip’s Richard Elvin saw his vote in Houghton and Sunderland West jump from 1,022 five years ago to 8,280 and said the party could become a genuine opposition to Labour in the North East.
“The Conservatives are never, ever going to win in Labour heartlands because of historical reasons,” he said.
“For decades, the voter has not had a choice – they would never vote for a Tory and there has been nobody they could vote for.”
But Tory candidate Stewart Hay said the Ukip share of the vote was “entirely predictable.”
“My prediction was that they would increase their vote but not get seats,” he said.
“They have done reasonably well, and congratulations to them for that, but they are not going to take any seats on that support.”
Adrian Page saw the Liberal Democrat vote in Sunderland Central collapse from 7,191 in 2010 to just 1,105.
He said he believed the Lib Dems had paid the price for being in coalition with the Tories.
“This is my first election,” he said.
“I am disappointed with the result but the learning experience has been very good.”