Liberal Democrat Richard Foord has won the Honiton & Sidmouth seat, defeating the Conservative candidate and former East Devon MP Simon Jupp.

Mr Foord won 23,007 votes, while Mr Jupp achieved 16,307. Paul Quickenden, representing the Reform Party, won 6,289 votes, Jake Bonetta for Labour won 2,947, the Green Party’s Henry Gent won 1,394, Independent Vanessa Coxon won 467 and Hazel Exon for the Party of Women won 244.

In his victory speech Mr Foord said: “People do not expect miracles of their politicians, but they do expect a certain level of values and standards that they’ve not not seen universally at Westminster in recent months and years…. So I expect to try to uphold some of those values and standards that some people feel haven’t been present in this Parliament.”

He thanked the voters of Honiton and Sidmouth and said he would work hard for everyone whether they voted for him or not.

Mr Foord later said it is a ‘huge honour’ to be the first MP in the new Honiton & Sidmouth constituency. He said that although the Liberal Democrats are the ‘third party’ behind Labour and the Tories, there is a lot that can be done in opposition such as challenging the Government and scrutinising legislation, which is what the Lib Dems will aim to do.

“We are going to do our damnedest to make sure that people in Devon and the West country have their voices projected into the heart of power in Westminster.”

(Image: Philippa Davies)

Defeated Tory candidate Simon Jupp said: “I’m very disappointed by this result and I think the national picture is something I couldn’t overcome this evening.”

He said he had done a lot for East Devon his time as an MP and had ‘really enjoyed’ being a member of Parliament.

The Lib Dem win had not been predicted in the exit poll, announced at 10pm, which forecast Conservative wins for both the Honiton & Sidmouth and the Exmouth & Exeter East seats. But as the counting of votes got under way, a different picture began to emerge.  The result was announced at just after 6am on Friday morning, but there had been indications much earlier of the way the wind was blowing.

Mr Jupp arrived at the count in Clyst Honiton between 3am and 4am, but kept a low profile. Mr Foord arrived just before 4am, looking relaxed and happy. He posed for a photo and told the Herald he was feeling ‘optimistic and buoyed up’. Shortly afterwards he gave a live TV interview in which he said the night’s results so far had been ‘fantastic’ for the Liberal Democrats and he was ‘delighted’ to see Devon, Cornwall and Somerset restored to Lib Dem representation.