Labour wins Worthing West as Sir Peter Bottomley loses seat

Labour's Beccy Cooper gives her victory speech. Picture: Local Democracy Reporting ServiceLabour's Beccy Cooper gives her victory speech. Picture: Local Democracy Reporting Service
Labour's Beccy Cooper gives her victory speech. Picture: Local Democracy Reporting Service
Labour’s Beccy Cooper has been elected MP for Worthing West after beating Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley in the General Election.

Dr Cooper received 20,519 votes, a majority of 3,940. Turnout was 66 per cent. Sir Peter had served Worthing West since 1997 and was the longest-serving MP in the Commons, having first been elected in 1975.

An electoral boundary review last year saw Worthing West lose Rustington and gain Angmering and Findon, with the changes coming into effect for voters this election.

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Following her win, Dr Cooper said: “I would like to thank all the candidates for their fairness and integrity throughout the campaign. Decency and integrity in politics are not really something that have been very visible as of late.

Beccy Cooper with Tom Rutland, who won in East Worthing & Shoreham for Labour. Picture: Local Democracy Reporting ServiceBeccy Cooper with Tom Rutland, who won in East Worthing & Shoreham for Labour. Picture: Local Democracy Reporting Service
Beccy Cooper with Tom Rutland, who won in East Worthing & Shoreham for Labour. Picture: Local Democracy Reporting Service

“My previous job was a public health doctor and I became acutely aware of inequalities and the need for change, and I have to be honest over the last 14 years things haven’t been great in health. This country has some seriously broken national institutions – including the National Health Service, which is incredibly close to my heart.”

She later told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’m feeling absolutely elated but tired as well. It gives us a mandate to govern, that 137-page manifesto, we can start it on Monday morning.

“We can now start looking at planning policy reform to start getting the right mix of housing down here, we can start looking at making sure local governments have long-term funding settlements – and dentists, as well, people are absolutely crying out for appointments.”

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In 2017, Dr Cooper became the first Labour councillor elected in Worthing in 40 years. She has been leader of the council since Labour took control from the Conservatives in 2022. She had stood for parliament unsuccessfully in 2017 and 2019.

She confirmed deputy leader Sophie Cox would likely fill the role of leader of the council after she resigns as leader and as a councillor, saying it was up to the party to vote on a new council leader and to determine the best time for a by-election for her Marine ward seat.

After losing his seat, Sir Peter said: “For those who think we’re passing on chaos, I do actually think a lot of things have got better here whether it be health, we have dangers over environmental protection and development. [Dr Cooper] is right in saying our campaigns have been respectful, and I’ll do the best job I can to pass on those responsibilities I’ve carried onto her.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting service, he added: “The key point is the issues that matter to me, that matter to [Dr Cooper] and hopefully to the next parliament. You’ve got the Waspi Women, you’ve got the infected blood people who’ve been awarded compensation but haven’t got it yet, you’ve got the problem about urban development. Those are issues that matter to people around here, where I think Reform have got absolutely nothing to contribute at all.”

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When asked what he might do next after losing his seat, Sir Peter said he thought he would have breakfast.

Full results: Beccy Cooper (Labour), 20,519; Sir Peter Bottomley (Conservative), 16,570; Edmund Rooke (Reform UK), 7,562; Sonya Mallin (Green), 3,274; Morag Chugg (Lib Dem), 2,708; Kathryn Attwood (Independent), 364.