Emotion as North Devon turns Conservative

Lib Dem candidate Nick Harvey awaits the result at North Devon Leisure Centre. Picture: Andy Keeble

Lib Dem candidate Nick Harvey awaits the result at North Devon Leisure Centre. Picture: Andy Keeble - Credit: Archant

Sir Nick Harvey pays tribute to the community that has supported him for the past 23 years as Peter Heaton-Jones sweeps to victory.

The count gets under way at North Devon Leisure Centre. Picture: Andy Keeble

The count gets under way at North Devon Leisure Centre. Picture: Andy Keeble - Credit: Archant

Scroll up for a video of Nick Harvey’s emotional speech as he loses his North Devon seat.

Scroll down for a photo gallery of some of Nick Harvey’s moments as MP in North Devon over the last 23 years.

There were emotional scenes as longstanding North Devon MP Nick Harvey was unseated after 23 years.

Clearly upset after losing his seat to Peter Heaton-Jones of the Conservatives – who polled almost 7,000 more votes – Mr Harvey said he was indebted to local people for giving him the chance to serve.


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He appears to have been the victim of a nationwide backlash against the Liberal Democrats, expected to be left with as few as eight MPs after crushing results across the country.

The trend has favoured the Conservatives, who currently have 295 seats and are forecast to win enough to be able to have a slender majority in the House of Commons.

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“It has been a great honour to have served five terms as Member of Parliament for North Devon and I’m deeply indebted to the people of this wonderful community for giving me that privilege,” said Mr Harvey.

“But there becomes a moment in politics when even the most magnificent campaign cannot stem the political tide and this was such an occasion.

“Recalling the words of Jeremy Thorpe in similar circumstances some time ago, I would conclude simply by saying: North Devon has been liberal for 23 years and it will be liberal again.”

He was hardly the only Liberal Democrat casualty, with the party losing many of its big guns including Vince Cable, Danny Alexander and Charles Kennedy in Scotland.

* Click on our video to watch Sir Nick Harvey’s speech.

‘Beyond our wildest dreams’

North Devon winner Peter Heaton-Jones, who cast his vote in Bishops Nympton at 9am on polling day, said: “I didn’t think the gap would be that sizeable. We were always hopeful we would win the seat so we put a lot of effort into this campaign but to get a 7,000 majority was beyond our wildest dreams.

“We were getting a very positive reaction on the doorsteps but we weren’t taking anything for granted.

“I think people want to see a Conservative government and they need a North Devon MP to achieve that.”

Debt of gratitude

Mr Heaton-Jones however paid tribute to Nick Harvey, saying: “Sir Nick Harvey has served the constituency for 23 years and that is a huge public service and personal investment to give for North Devon. We owe him a debt of gratitude.”

* The count at Torridge has been delayed and a result is now expected at around 11am or 12noon.

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