CELEBRATIONS were in order among the Conservative campaign team as north Swindon candidate Justin Tomlinson stormed to victory with almost double the votes of his biggest opponent.

Justin Tomlinson fended off opposition from Labour candidate Kate Linnegar, Liberal Democrat candidate Katie Critchlow and the Green Party candidate Andy Bentley to retain his seat in the House of Commons and represent the constituency.

He said: “You’re always nervous but the exit poll was beyond what we were hoping for.

“We won every single ward in north Swindon. I’ve secured the biggest-ever majority, the largest share of the vote and the most votes in the history of any of the Swindon seats.

“I’m incredibly proud because this is my town, I share and understand its issues and I’ve always made sure that, as much as I love Westminster, my priority is always Swindon.

“Locally, I’ve always run a positive campaign talking about what I’ve done and what I want to do - I never talk about my opponents. I believe you’re either good enough to represent a town or you don’t deserve to represent the town.

“If we all believed that, we could restore some trust into politics.”

Mr Tomlinson received 32,584 votes. Ms Linnegar came second with 16,413 votes. Ms Critchlow came third with 4,408 votes. Mr Bentley came fourth with 1,710 votes.

In total, 67.15 per cent of the 82,441 registered voters in north Swindon went to the polls.

Last time, in 2017, Mr Tomlinson received 29,431 votes – 53.6 per cent of the overall vote share.

He paid tribute to his competitors’ campaigns and spoke about his teamwork with south Swindon colleague Robert Buckland.

Mr Tomlinson added: “They were energetic campaigns and it was clear they felt very passionately about their views.

“In life, and in politics, and I’ve been there, it does go in cycles, we all have good days and bad days, but on this occasion, they were out of step with the public and this was our night.

“We must continue to work hard and champion our town and I’m very proud of the result.

“Back to Parliament now with Brexit legislation to pass by Christmas and then we can get on to talking about issues the public want us to deal with.

“Robert and I have always been a team, that’s been a real strength, we have different interests and areas of experience but we work together, we speak every day and when we go lobby Westminster for funding there’s two for the price of one and that’s why ministers favour giving support to Swindon.”

The duo entered the Steam Museum’s Great Western Hall shortly before the results were announced and were met with loud cheers and applause from candidates and teammates who were in good spirits because of an exit poll that predicted a Conservative majority across the country.

Cheerful Liberal Democrat candidate Katie Critchlow was very pleased with how her campaign went. She said: "We doubled our result, which is great, so we can build our presence and our party here.

"This was my first time in politics. In many ways, it was a privilege to stand for election. I loved doing the hustings and talking to voters.

"I don't feel like any party has covered themselves in glory, though, it's an unusual time to be involved. People don't trust any politicians so they'll carry on voting the way they did before.

"We've got to win people's trust back, come out of the trenches and work together on things like the climate crisis, the NHS, and implementing the best form of Brexit we can. If we carry on dividing people in this country, we won't make any progress on these vital issues.

"I hope all politicians listen to what they've heard on the doorstep, that people don't like all this bickering and arguing, and move things forward.

"Whatever our party does next, I'll definitely be involved."