Labour has claimed a historic victory in Hillingdon after taking the seat of Boris Johnson’s former constituency Uxbridge & South Ruislip for the very first time.

In a contest that always promised to be decided by the finest of margins, Danny Beales edged out the Conservative candidate Steve Tuckwell to win a 587 vote majority to take a seat the Tories have held for more than half a century. 

The result comes following two recounts – one of some bundles and one full recount – on a long night in north west London that saw Beales and Tuckwell go head-to-head nearly a year after the two contested the by-election triggered by Johnson’s resignation, which the Conservatives won by a slim 495 majority.

Beales, who grew up in the area and was visibly moved during his acceptance speech, said: “It has been a rollercoaster, but I’m delighted with the outcome both across the country and for me personally. 

“This is my home constituency, I grew up here. I was motivated to get into politics by my experience of being homeless in Hillingdon so to get the chance to represent this community, to get the chance to make a difference to people currently struggling with the housing crisis and cost of living crisis, it means so much to me.” 

While he labelled cost of living “the elephant in the room”, Beales was also keen to stress that, on a local level, improving Hillingdon Hospital, a facility fellow Labour MP Wes Streeting last year called “by far the worst hospital I have ever seen”, was at the forefront of his plans. 

Beales said: “I’ve always said that is priority number one. People are fed up of 14 years of the promise of a new hospital but we all know work hasn’t moved forward. 

“We’ve been very clear that a Labour government will deliver new hospitals, including Hillingdon. 

“As a party, we’re ready to put the country first and deliver the change we all need.”

Tuckwell, who held the seat for just ten months, was gracious in defeat. 

He expressed disappointment at the result but admitted this new chapter in his life is one he will relish.

Tuckwell, a former postman in the constituency, said: “I’m incredibly disappointed but that’s the nature of politics. 

“I’m going to reflect on how this result came about so it’s a new chapter for me but one I’m looking to help shape for myself. 

“I wish Danny every success as the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip but I will be holding him to account to ensure his performance is right for the people of this constituency.”

When asked about the national picture on what was a difficult night for the Conservatives, Tuckwell added: “As a party we need to reflect on what went wrong, why it went wrong, and begin to rebuild.”

Meanwhile, results in the other two Hillingdon constituencies were considerably less dramatic. 

Hayes & Harlington stuck largely to pre-count expectations, with Labour candidate John McDonnell holding his seat with a majority of more than 12,000 votes. 

The former shadow chancellor said: “It’s a tremendous victory. People have really had enough of the Tories.

“It looks as though voter turnout has dropped all over the country and we need to address that, but we’ve got a Labour government now and what we need to do is get that Labour government working as rapidly as possible.” 

McDonnell highlighted poverty and a lack of public service as being key issues facing residents in his constituency, but admitted that his first priority will be housing. 

He said: “We’ve got a housing crisis. 

“We haven’t got enough homes being built and the ones that have been built are out of the reach of local people because of the price.”

When asked about former ally Jeremy Corbyn’s victory as an Independent candidate in Islington North, McDonnell added: “I’m very pleased for him personally but I just wish he had been a Labour candidate. 

“I’ll be making the call now for him to have the Labour whip restored. Jeremy needs to be welcomed back into the Labour Party. 

“He is an asset to the Labour Party and he has demonstrated in his own constituency how he can bring voters out to support him.” 

Despite the Conservatives’ poor showing nationally, David Simmonds held his seat in Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner after winning with a 7,500 majority. 

Simmonds was quick to thank those in his constituency who voted for him but also acknowledged the need for a period of Tory reflection. 

Simmonds said: “We’ve had a resounding result in the constituency I represent once again.

“I’m glad the constituents have kept their faith with me and I’ll be doing my best to represent them in Parliament in the coming term.

“Clearly it has been a tough night for the Conservatives across the country but we’ve also seen some really good results in other parts of the country. 

“There are going to be some lessons to learn from this about what works really well in campaigning and those are reflections the party is going to have to consider in the coming weeks.

“The voters have clearly given their verdict and we need to look at the details of that. We need to understand from these election results what exactly it was people felt we were doing wrong and what they felt the Labour party might be doing right.”