Conservative Hugo Swire reclaims his seat in East Devon

Hugo Swire (Conservative)

Hugo Swire (Conservative) - Credit: Archant

Hugo Swire secured election victory to be returned as East Devon’s MP for a fourth term after, increasing his majority by 3,147 votes.

Hugo Swire secured election victory to be returned as East Devon’s MP for a fourth term after increasing his majority by 3,147 votes.

The Conservative fought off opposition from four other candidates, winning 25,401 of the votes (46.4 per cent) in a hotly contested General Election that saw a strong turnout of 71.7 per cent.

This figure is marginally down from the 72.6 per cent of the electorate who voted in 2010.

Independent newcomer, Claire Wright, took the runner-up position with 13,140 votes – giving her 24 per cent of the vote.

In line with their party’s national performance, the Liberal Democrats - who came second in East Devon’s 2010 election - trailed in last, receiving just 3,715 votes.

UKIP’s Andrew Chapman won 6,870 votes, an increase of 2,524 for the party since 2010.

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Labour held its own in the constituency, with Steve Race gaining 5,591 – just 130 less than the party won in the last General Election.

Mr Swire said: “I am delighted that we have been given a chance to govern.

“I shall continue to try to represent all of my constituents, regardless of who they are or where they are from.”

He added that he was happy to have increased his majority and welcomed the number of first time voters who got involved in the General Election.

The Tory MP was first elected in 2001 with 22,681 of the votes, securing a majority of 8,195, and was returned in 2005 and again in 2010, when he increased his share by 1.4 per cent.

His campaign rhetoric focused on issues of national security, continued economic growth and a promised referendum over Britain’s should membership of the European Union (EU).

Mrs Wright said she is immensely proud of how she has done and thanked her supporters, campaign team and family for all they have done.

“I have spent the last year of my life on the campaign and I have loved it. It has been a really life affirming experience,” she said.

“It’s been an adventure, a step into the unknown.”

She said the reaction she had from people in the constituency was ‘amazing’ and ‘has really started a big debate’.

“It has started a debate of whether party politics is healthy,” she said.

“I think I have really given an option to people and made them think about what type of MP they want to represent them.

“It’s been a wonderful journey.”

Liberal Democrat Stuart Mole said it has been an ‘uphill struggle’ for his party, but congratulated candidates and voters on a good election campaign, with healthy debate.

On his decreased share of the votes, he said: “It does seem we have been the main casualty of a very strong local campaign by Independent Claire Wright.”

He added that his party will be in a strong position to fight back next time.

Mr Chapman challenged Mr Swire’s government to seek electoral reform, after UKIP gained more than 3 million votes tot be left with only one seat.