The independent London newspaper

Let’s spend the night together: Handshakes all round at general election count

The long wait for the results...

09 June, 2017 — By Richard Osley

THERE was a severe dose of déjà vu for ­Camden’s local politicians as they found themselves back in the Somers Town Community Centre overnight – the same ­venue where Keir Starmer and Tulip Siddiq had won their first parliamentary elections just two years ago.

Claire-Louise Leyland shares a joke with Tim Barnes

Once more the sports hall was the scene for the long wait for the results here. They are not the quickest in Camden, but officials pride themselves on accuracy.

Sian Berry watches the results and, below Kirsty Allan

And so again, the people in rosettes sat through the night watching the television screens, occasionally yelping at a favourable result from elsewhere. Jokes about the national picture paving the way for a third general election sometime in the near future did not go down well as the hour got late.

Rainbow George and below, Labour supporters Oliver Lewis and Patrick French

Locked in for the night, like enemies in a buddy movie that realise they actually have more in common than they thought, old rivals were convivial over the sandwiches curling in the sweltering back rooms of the sports centre. You get the impression they could all get along really, when they are shoved in the same place for seven hours and asked to make inoffensive small talk.

Tulip Siddiq’s supporters wait outside the count centre

Deep down, the winners must have been bursting with joy, the losers feeling blue, but they can still share a handshake too. For journalists looking for a bigger story, a scalp, it was clear from the moment the boxes were opened what the result was going to be.

Some of the media left for other counts – more than 100 journalists were at the Sobell Centre to see Jeremy Corbyn. They left behind a pack of Bangladeshi journalists chasing Tulip Siddiq, the niece of that country’s president, Sheikh Hasina.


Share this story

Post a comment