May 6 2010 By Siba Matti
Counting at the Watersmeet Theatre
THE polls have officially closed and the vote count has begun for the South West Hertfordshire constituency at Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth.
Postal votes, which account for about 10,000 of the 78,000 total electorate, are currently being counted. Ballot boxes are arriving from across the constituency, with counters poised to continue long into the night.
2am: UKIP candidate Mark Benson has admitted he has no chance to claiming victory in South West Hertfordshire. He said said: "If I get 1,000 votes I will be happy but I doubt I will get my deposit back. I stood for MP because I believe in democracy and it makes me very angry to see the state of my country - we are in a mess in terms of the economy, social cohesion, political corruption, Europe. I am a realist and despite trying to good things, sometimes they do go wrong and life just seems to be perverse in that way."
1.22am: LABOUR candidate Harry Mann has arrived at Watersmeet Theatre together with his campaign team, including Three Rivers councillor Phil Redshaw, agent Nena Spellen, and her husband Councillor Ron Spellen, vice-chairman of the district council.
Mr Mann said he had been working hard on the campaign trail right up until the polling stations closed this evening, enjoying very little sleep over the past 24 hours as a result. He said: "I have been keeping myself awake by drinking Coke. It's still early days and there isn't much to say at the moment, but it's very concerning that some people have not been able to vote. I am feeling positive and I think it will be an interesting night for Labour. The party has done a lot this year and there are lots of people who restored their faith in us."
As for whether Gordon Brown will remain at 10 Downing Street in the morning, Mr Mann said: "Ask me that question in a couple of hours but I certainly hope so."
12.00am: The postal vote has been completed and all the ballot boxes have arrived at Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth, with the votes currently being validated. From eye view, David Gauke for the Conservatives has the highest number of postal votes, followed closely by Christopher Townsend for the Liberal Democrats, with Harry Mann for Labour trailing in third position. By comparison, just a handful of votes were placed in front of labels for the British National Party candidate Deirdre Gates, UKIP's Mark Benson and independent candidate James Hannaway.
12.00am: Steven Halls, chief executive at Three Rivers District Council and returning officer for the count, has praised the hard work of the counting team. "Every is going smoothly and we have some very good people working here tonight," he said. "Elections are always enormous fun and this is no exception to the rule. This is what it's all about and I am thoroughly enjoying myself.
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