Where’s Penny? Why Mordaunt and other senior Conservatives
have gone missing this election

Mordaunt, Rees-Mogg and Shapps among Conservative election casualties

Several high-profile Conservative MPs lost their seats in the early hours of Friday morning as Rishi Sunak’s party headed towards its worst election results in history.

In North East Somerset and Hanham, Labour unseated former leader of the House of Commons and staunch Boris Johnson ally Sir Jacob Rees Mogg.

Rees-Mogg lost to Labour’s Dan Norris, who won with 20,739 votes. The former minister for Brexit opportunities polled 15,420 with Reform on 7,424, the Liberal Democrats on 3,878, and the Greens on 3,222.

Speaking at the University of Bath after the result was declared, Sir Jacob said: “May I begin by giving my warmest congratulations to Dan Norris, who has been a servant of North East Somerset or Wansdyke as it then was before and I am sure will be a devoted constituency MP in the future.

“And congratulate Sir Keir Starmer who has led his party to what seems to be a historic victory. And this is the great virtue of our democracy, so I congratulate both of them.”

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Penny Mordaunt, who served as Commons Leader, lost her Portsmouth North to Labour’s Amanda Martin by just 780 votes.

An MP since 2010, the Royal Navy reservist became the first ever female defence secretary in the dying days of Theresa May’s government. 

She had been tipped as a potential leader of the Conservative Party, with Rishi Sunak expected to resign in the wake of the national election result. 

Education secretary Gillian Keegan fell victim to the Liberal Democrat’s plan to smash the Conservative  “blue wall” in southern England — as did culture secretary Lucy Frazer in her Ely and East Cambridgeshire constituency.

Other senior Tory figures who were ousted included defence secretary Grant Shapps; justice secretary Alex Chalk veterans minister Johnny Mercer; government chief whip Simon Hart; former deputy prime minister Thérèse Coffey; former chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke; and former justice secretary Robert Buckland.

Meanwhile, several senior Conservatives were re-elected with severely reduced majorities. Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, clung on to his Godalming and Ash seat by just 891 votes. He faced a strong challenge from the Liberal Democrats, who won 22,402 votes.

Hunt said the results nationally were a “bitter pill to swallow”.

Richard Holden, the Conservative Party chair, won the seat of Basildon and Billericay by just 20 votes over Labour following a recount. 

Holden had faced heavy criticism from his own side after he was selected in the hitherto safe Conservative seat at the last minute, 300 miles away from his former constituency.

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