His wife promised she’d make him a cake if he polled more than 100 votes, and after a valiant general election campaign as an independent candidate for the constituency of Surrey Heath, artist Bob and Roberta Smith can at least look forward to a slice of something home baked.
In the end, Smith – real name Patrick Brill – received 273 votes, more than doubling his own prediction. As expected, Tory MP and former education secretary Michael Gove retained the seat with 32,582. UKIP came second with 7778.
Winning the seat was, of course, never the point of Smith’s campaign – he was running in order to raise awareness about what he saw as the coalition government’s attack on arts education. Staging a series of artistic happenings in the constituency, for the last few days of the campaign he was based in his election ‘battle bus’ – a camper van – which he parked up in supporter’s front garden in Camberley.
In Hackney South, the artist Gordon Shrigley – who declared “I have no policies” while on the election trail – received just 28 votes, the lowest of the constituency’s 11 candidates. Labour’s Meg Hillier held the seat with just over 30,000 votes.
Across the UK, the general election has delivered a humiliating night at the polls for Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with David Cameron set to remain as prime minister in a Conservative government.
Suffering their worst defeat since 1987, Ed Milliband felt the full impact of the Scottish National Party, losing over 50 seats in Scotland.
There were a number of high-profile Labour casualties, with Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, losing his seat in Morley and Outwood. Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary since 2010, was also undone by the 20-year-old student Mhairi Black in Paisley and Renfrewshire South.
Things were equally bad for the Liberal Democrates with both Charles Kennedy and Vince Cable losing their seats in Ross, Skye and Lochaber and Twickenham respectively. Simon Hughes, who had been an MP for 31 years and was the minister of state at the Ministry of Justice since 2013, also failed to retain his seat.