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Bike-supporting Opik is election casualty

Published: 07 May 2010

Motorcycling politician Lembit Opik has lost his seat in the Commons in an unexpected victory for the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrat, who has acted as a high-profile supporter of motorcycling, lost to Tory challenger Glyn Davies by 1,184 votes, a swing of 13.2 per cent in the Montgomeryshire constituency.

Opik attracted widespread media attention for dating one of the Cheeky Girls singers but was already well known in motorcycling.

The Suzuki GS 1000 rider has given his backing to MCN campaigns including our Reclaim North Wales rally last year.

His exit from what was considered a safe seat for the Lib Dems is high-profile loss for the party and one of the surprises of the election.

Opik said: “I’m really quite disappointed I lost. I didn’t expect the result and neither did my team.”

Meawhile, transport minister Paul Clark lost his Gillingham and Rainham seat to the Conservatives' Rehman Chishti, polling 12,944 votes to Chishti's 21,624.

In a pre-election interview with MCN, Clark failed to provide any reason for readers to vote Labour as motorcyclists, saying they should choose the party for the same reasons as everyone else.

Labour’s Barry Sheerman, who called motorcyclists “orphan-makers”, held on to his Huddersfield seat but by a reduced majority. He won by 4,472 votes over Conservative Karen Tweed, down from 8,351 votes in the 2005 election.

Nearly 4,000 people joined a “Don’t vote Labour” Facebook group over Sheerman’s comments about motorcyclists.

The election result points to a hung parliament, with the Conservatives holding more seats than any other party.