Election result: Luton South and North
7th May 2010

Esther Rantzen has come in a disappointing fourth place in Luton South, receiving only 4.4 per cent of votes.Ms Rantzen has reportedly lost her election deposit after failing to poll enough votes.

Ms Rantzen said that it was “amazing” so many people voted for her but that she was “saddened and surprised” that the BNP received 1,299 votes and a 3.1 per cent share.

She said: “I have regarded Luton as a community with diverse elements living alongside each other so I was saddened and surprised when I saw the BNP votes. I was worried at one stage when I thought I might have been beaten by the BNP which would have been grim.”

She said that she had spent more than £10,000 on her campaign but that it was a “lavish 70th birthday present” for herself.“I’ve really enjoyed the year,” she said. “Luton will have a very special place in my heart.

Gavin Shuker held on to the seat for Labour with a 34.9 per cent share of the vote, despite outrage after incumbent Labour MP Margaret Moran’s expenses claim for dry rot in her second home were revealed last year.

Ms Rantzen, 69, the former host of That's Life! and founder of ChildLine, stood as an independent candidate among 11 other candidates, the highest number standing for one constituency. She received 1,872 votes, well behind the Liberal Democrats, Qurban Hussain (9,567 votes), Conservative Nigel Huddleston (12,396 votes) and Mr Shuker (14,725 votes) but ranked above the BNP, UKIP, Green, Workers Revolutionary Party and four other independents.

A total of 42,216 people voted, an 11 per cent increase on the 2005 election. Meanwhile, in Luton North, Jewish Conservative candidate Jeremy Brier lost out to Labour’s Kelvin Hopkins, MP since 1997, who won with a majority of 7,520 votes.

Mr Brier, a 30-year-old barrister, received 13,672 votes and a 31.8 per cent share to Mr Hopkins’ 21,192 votes and 49.3 per cent share. Lib Dems came in third with UKIP, BNP and Green candidates trailing behind.

Source