Women are big winners in Coventry and Warwickshire

Jodie Gosling surrounded by supporters holding vote Labour placards
Labour's Jodie Gosling won with a majority of 3,479 in Nuneaton [BBC]

Before this general election, the political map in Coventry and Warwickshire was a patch of red surrounded by a sea of blue.

The Conservatives held five of the nine constituencies.

But by the end of election night, the blue had receded to just one constituency, in what was the party’s worst ever defeat nationally.

Labour now has seven MPs after gains in Rugby, North Warwickshire and Bedworth, and Nuneaton.

There were cheers and hugs as Labour’s Jodie Gosling was declared as the MP for Nuneaton, which retained its status as a bellwether seat.

But the celebrations were eerily muted, and Reform UK candidate Rob Howard looked slightly gutted to have won 9,059 votes. He admitted he was a Tory at heart.

In the end, it is likely he took votes away from Marcus Jones, who lost his seat after 14 years as the Conservative MP for Nuneaton.

That pattern was repeated across Coventry and Warwickshire, where Reform UK received almost 100,000 votes across nine seats.

Manuella Pertegella and supporters holding Liberal Democrat placards
Manuella Pertegella won with a huge swing to the Lib Dems [BBC]

But the most extraordinary result was in Stratford-on-Avon, famously the birthplace of William Shakepeare.

The playwright himself would have been impressed with this story, in a constituency where you have to go back to the Edwardian era, during the reign of King Edward VII, to find an MP with a yellow rosette.

The Lib Dem candidate, Manuella Pertegella, changed all that with a crushing victory.

She won the seat by a majority of 7,122, with the Conservatives in a distant second place in what had been one of their heartlands for decades.

“After 14 years of Conservative government, residents here wanted change,” said Ms Perteghella.

So wins for Labour and the Lib Dems, and also wins for female representation in Parliament.

Our nine constituencies elected six female MPs, with women holding the seats of Nuneaton, Stratford-on-Avon and North Warwickshire and Bedworth for the first time.

One of those women is Rachel Taylor, the new MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth.

She said having worked as a tennis umpire at Wimbledon, she was used to performing under pressure.

“I will also will be cancelling my Wimbledon tickets for Monday,” Ms Taylor said.

In Rugby, the Conservatives faced the music as Labour candidate and keyboardist John Slinger took the seat from them.

Elsewhere, Labour held three seats in Coventry with increased majorities of more than 10,000.

One of the winning candidates, Taiwo Owatemi, who recently gave birth to her first child, said juggling parenthood with politics had been a challenge.

She said she had won off “a limited amount of sleep”.

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