POLITICS

The Internet Has Been Enjoying Re-Watching The Portillo Moment

As gripping now as it was in 1997...

04/09/2017 14:54 BST

The BBC’s much-anticipated re-run of the 1997 general election made the first day back at work after the summer holidays slightly more bearable for politics fans. 

Footage of Labour’s landslide victory was replayed in real-time on BBC Parliament and followers got the chance to relive one of the key moments from the night on Monday afternoon.

Stephen Twigg’s shock victory in Enfield South on a 17.5% swing seemed to be as gripping 20 years on as it was then, when the Labour newcomer unseated Tory cabinet minister and leadership hopeful Michael Portillo. 

Summing up the result, David Dimbleby told viewers: “It was his one chance to take over the Conservative Party and he’s blown it by losing his own seat.”

In his victory speech, the 30-year-old Twigg, who now represents Liverpool West Derby, said the key gain showed there were no longer any “no-go areas” for the Labour Party.

He added: “Many people voted tactically for Labour to avoid a Conservative government.  It’s a good night for Labour, a good night for the country and we’ve got a long night to celebrate, and the weekend as well.”

The internet certainly seemed to enjoy following the now-infamous ‘Portillo moment’ as it happened.

The phrase has gone down in history as a metaphor for a sudden electoral upset.  The former defence secretary had had his eye on the top job in his party and was tipped to succeed defeated prime minister John Major.