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Witney has new Tory MP, but Lib Dems leap to second place

The Conservatives, as expected, won the Witney by-election in the early hours of the morning but their majority - and share of the vote - were well down on what the area's former MP David Cameron managed in the GENERAL election.

Robert Courts won. He was just under 6,000 votes ahead of the Liberal Democrats, who jumped from 4th place to 2nd, with over 11,500 votes. Labour slipped back to third, and the Greens just beat UKIP.

Our political correspondent Phil Hornby reports on a night of drama.

New MP for Witney replaces former PM David Cameron

The new Member of Parliament for Witney, the seat in Oxfordshire vacated by the former Prime Minister David Cameron, has been revealed after yesterday's by-election.

The new MP for Witney, Robert Courts MP

Robert Courts, the deputy leader of West Oxfordshire Council won, securing the constituency once again for the Conservatives.

However, the Tory majority was cut from more than 25,000 for David Cameron in last year's general election to a majority of just 5,702 this time around. The Liberal Democrats came in second place, seeing a 19.3% swing from the Conservatives

Our Political Correspondent Phil Hornby was at the count.

The interviewees are Robert Courts MP; and Liz Leffman ,the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate.


Rochester & Strood by-election result - ITV News Meridian

Sangeeta Bhabra and Fred Dinenage with comprehensive coverage of the Rochester & Strood by-election result. Philip Hornby, our Political Correspondent, joined them live from the constituency. The coverage from our flagship show for the South East at 6pm - we alway bring you the news FIRST.

  1. National

Farage: Tories 'tried too hard' in by-election campaign

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has welcomed the election of Ukip’s second MP, as Mark Reckless was voted in after a by-election in Rochester and Strood.

Nigel Farage says the Tories 'tried too hard' in by-election campaign Credit: Pool

In interview today, Mr Farage said he believed the Tories had “tried too hard” in their election campaign, and said he believed Mr Reckless had done the right thing by letting his constituents decide whether to keep him in his seat after defecting.

I think what Mark Reckless did was he didn’t just cross the floor and defect to Ukip, he said ‘I’m resigning my seat, I’m trusting you, the people of Rochester and Strood, to decide to back me or sack me. And people like that – they admire courage, they admire bravery, they admire decency. I think the second reason is - I actually think the Conservatives tried too hard. This full-scale bombardment, the numbers of phone calls houses were getting, that sort of thing.

– Nigel Farage

He denied that he was riding on the back of protest votes, saying people "absolutely believed" in what the party stands for.


Flag of St George flies outside Labour MP's London home

Former shadow cabinet member and University of Kent student, Emily Thornberry MP, issued an apology on Twitter after being criticised for the tweet she posted from Rochester & Strood. It's not known who put the flag up outside her London home.

Mark Reckless wastes no time returning to the Commons

Mark Reckless has wasted no time in returning to the Commons, arriving in Westminster just hours after his victory in the Rochester and Strood by-election for UKIP.

In a tweet posted this morning, he's revealed he will be sworn in as an MP at 9.30am.

'Father Christmas' arrives at by-election count on decorated scooter

Independent candidate Mike Barker brightened up proceedings at the Rochester and Strood by-election when he arrived dressed as Father Christmas on a scooter decorated with bright fairy lights.

Mr Barker came 10th, polling just 54 votes.

He later spent time chatting with Hairy Knorm Davidson from the Loony Party. Mr Davidson polled marginally better, picking up 151 votes and coming sixth behind the Lib Dem candidate Geoff Juby.

Mike Barker (Ind) dressed as Santa chats with Loony candidate, Hairy Knorm Davidson Credit: ITV Meridian
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