IN the early hours of tomorrow morning (Friday) Philip Dunne will discover if he has been successful in being elected as MP for Ludlow for the fifth time.

He may contemplate that but for chance he would never have become the member of Parliament for the area.

Mr Dunne was elected in the general election of 2005 that was the third successive election victory for Tony Blair and the Labour party.

He will reflect that as Europe and Brexit dominated this election it was Europe and the split in the Conservative party that resulted in Mr Dunne becoming the party’s candidate for Ludlow and subsequently its MP.

Ludlow had for many years been a safe Conservative seat.

Its long-time member of Parliament Christopher Gill was a senior Conservative member of parliament.

But ironically, he had a falling out with his party that at the time was unhappy with his strongly Eurosceptic views.

As a consequence of this, Mr Gill lost the Conservative whip and therefore could not stand as a candidate for the party in the general election in 2001.

The party parachuted in from Kent, Martin Taylor-Smith, who later went on to be a senior member of Shropshire Council representing Ludlow south. But Mr Taylor-Smith found himself facing a perfect storm.

The local party was split with Mr Gill enjoying the support and affection of many people. On top of this is the fact that 2001 was a low watermark in Conservative fortunes nationally and a high point both for the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats.

When all the counting had been done the Liberal Democrat Matthew Green narrowly beat Mr Taylor-Smith, who paid the price being replaced by Philip Dunne who was Conservative candidate in 2005 when he won and has held the seat since. Today he faces Kundlip Sohota for Labour, Heather Kidd Liberal Democrat and Hilary Wendt of the Green party.