The Conservative Party has romped home to take the Thirsk, Malton and Filey seat at this year’s General Election.
True blue businessman Kevin Hollinrake polled 27,545 votes and will now replace fellow Tory Anne McIntosh who was controversially deselected by the association last year.
Mr Hollinrake thanked Ms McIntosh for her service as an MP and called for unity among the Conservatives in Thirsk, Malton and Filey.
“Now is a time for unity, a time to move on,” he said. “There will be some tough times, some good times but I don’t see any bad times ahead if we work together.”
He added: “My background is very much in business, and I believe I have the skills that can bring more investment into the area. We are seeing more investment in the North but that money has tended to be focused on Leeds and Sheffield.
“We want to see some of the money come into rural North Yorkshire and to do that we need to set a business case, collaborate with other MPs, Local Enterprise Partnerships and businesses to build that business case.”
Mr Hollinrake improved on the 11,281 majority enjoyed by Ms McIntosh in 2010, polling 19,456 more votes compared to Labour’s Alan Avery (8,089 votes).
UKIP’s Toby Horton polled 7,805 votes, 5,000 more than he recored in 2010.
It was a miserable night for Di Keal, the Liberal Democrat candidate, who received 4,703 votes – more than 4,000 votes down on the number her husband, Howard Keal, polled five years ago.
Concerns surrounding potential fracking in the Ryedale district materialised at the ballot box with anti-fracking candidates Chris Newsam, of the Green Party, and Independent Philip Tate, both of whom stood on an anti-fracking ticket, receiving 2,404 and 692 votes respectively.
Liberal Party candidate John Clark, standing in his third election in the constituency, earned 1,127 votes.
The announcement of Mr Hollinrake’s victory was made at around 7.20am at Malton Community Sports Centre.
It brought the curtain down on a challenging election for each of the candidates who had attended a record number of hustings, went door-to-door to canvass voters, as well as taken their respective messages to social media more than ever before.
Tory chiefs must now hope it draws a line under what has been a difficult run-up to the election for the Thirsk, Malton and Filey association which hit the regional and national headlines over its decision to deselect Ms McIntosh.
The constituency had been kept on tenterhooks until early March as to whether Ms McIntosh would decide to challenge Mr Hollinrake and stand as an Independent. In the end, her loyalty to the Conservative Party led her to bring the curtain down on her Commons career, clearing the path for Mr Hollinrake’s election.
Mr Hollinrake, who lives near Easingwold with his wife Nikky and four children, co-founded Hunters Estate Agents in 1992 and has seen the company expand to include 140 branches nationwide with a gross turnover of more than £40 million and 600-strong workforce.
He points to his parents, and their dining room conversations, as the reason he developed an interest in politics and current affairs. He says he did not want to be a career politician, however, and instead wanted to prove he could be success in business.