The results are in and the Conservatives have retained their seat in west Dorset.

Chris Loder takes over the seat from Sir Oliver Letwin, who stood down as the party’s parliamentary candidate this year.

He received 33,589 votes, with Liberal Democrat candidate Edward Morello coming in second with 19,483 votes, followed by Labour Party Claudia Sorin with 5,729 votes and Green Party’s Kelvin Clayton with 2,124 votes.

Residents took to the polls yesterday with 74.7 per cent turning out to vote, compared with 75.6 per cent in the June 2017 general election. A total of 61,162 verified votes were cast in west Dorset compared to 59,750 in 2017.

Following the result announcement, Chris Loder said: “I am enormously honoured to be the MP for west Dorset, especially as someone who was born and brought up here - it means a great deal to me.

“I shall go to Westminster on Monday by train, even if I have to be the guard myself, with a mandate and get the referendum result of 2016 delivered.

“Campaigning over the last six weeks or so has given me an enormous insight into all the communities and the issues we face here. I look to champion those in west Dorset and help find solutions to make things better.

“Particularly being a fourth generation farmer’s son, I know how difficult farming has been for many years and I commit to support farmers, not just in west Dorset, but across the country in parliament.”

Edward Morello stated that ‘west Dorset has voted; we will see what the next five years hold’.

Claudia Sorin said she was happy with the result.

“I do think tactical voting had an impact because our votes went down from last time,” she said.

“We did what we could with limited resources, and I am happy with the result. It shows there is still strong support for us in west Dorset.”

Ahead of the result, Chris Loder said he had visited polling stations throughout the constituency during the day and following the announcement of the exit poll he said: “I thought the exit poll was very encouraging although I am not content about that until we hear the result.

“From what I can see so far it is very clear that the country is wanting a democratic will delivered.”

Before the result was announced, Labour candidate for west Dorset, Claudia Sorin said: “We’ve had a really good campaign and I’ve had a lot of support.

“I was shocked [about the exit poll] I was getting a lot of positive messages all through the day.

Labour’s manifesto was really bold and really radical, I am really proud to have stood on that.”

Kelvin Clayton, west Dorset’s Green Party candidate, said he was feeling ‘quite depressed’ following the exit poll announcement.

He said: “I found feedback from the hustings and campaign reassuring, but I was also aware of a lot of tactical voting going on and I think it is a shame people didn’t think to vote with their hearts.”