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Former Reuters journalist wins seat in UK's election

Former Reuters journalist Caroline Voaden has won a seat in parliament for the opposition Liberal Democrats in Britain's general election, which handed the Conservative Party its worst defeat ever.

Voaden, who worked for Reuters for 10 years until 2000, defeated Conservative incumbent Anthony Mangnall in a landslide victory that her local newspaper said had ended “100 years of Tory dominance” in the constituency of South Devon in southwest England.

Voaden joined the Liberal Democrats the day after Britons voted to leave the European Union in 2016 and was the party’s leader in the European Parliament from 2019 until Brexit happened the following year.  She also fought unsuccessfully for a seat in the UK parliament in 2017.

“I'm thrilled. I'm humbled. I'm honoured. I'm really proud of the campaign we've run. It's been inspirational. So many people came together who had never fought a general election campaign before,” Voaden said after coasting to a 22,540-vote majority on Thursday.

Her victory helped the Liberal Democrats, Britain’s third largest party in parliament, to what they hailed as a historic victory, capturing a record 72 seats. 

Voaden, 55, joined Reuters as a trainee journalist in 1991 and had assignments in Amsterdam, Dublin, Bonn, Belgrade and Zagreb, where she was bureau chief from 1997 to 1999. She moved to Devon in 2012 after being widowed at the age of 34 when her husband, Reuters journalist Nick Doughty, died of cancer.  She has since married again.

Labour swept to power in the election, taking 411 seats compared to 121 for the Conservatives in a seismic turnaround on the previous vote in 2019. ■