Torbay MP describes ‘Lib-Demolition’ triumph

Rural Lib Dem support in Devon
-Credit: (Image: Guy Henderson)

New Torbay MP Steve Darling called it a ‘Lib-Demolition’ as he led the way on a night of carnage for Devon’s Conservative MPs.

The Tories lost seven seats, including that of veterans minister Johnny Mercer in Plymouth. Six of them went to the triumphant Liberal Democrats and one – Mr Mercer’s – to Labour.

Mr Darling – the first to be elected – said he was ‘humbled and delighted’, and looking forward to championing the community he grew up in.

Defeated Torbay Tory Kevin Foster – the bay’s MP from 2015 until parliament was dissolved – said the ‘performative politics’ of his party’s leaders had cost them dearly.

Liberal Democrat leader of Teignbridge Council Martin Wrigley seized the Newton Abbot seat from Conservative Anne Marie Marris, who had held it since 2010, and in South Devon Lib Dem Caroline Voaden took the seat formerly known as Totnes from Tory Anthony Mangnall.

North Devon fell to the Lib Dems in a night of extraordinary performances for Sir Ed Davey’s party. Conservative Selaine Saxby – North Devon’s MP since 2019 – was beaten by Ian Roome, Lib Dem leader of North Devon District Council.

Rachel Gilmour took the new Tiverton and Minehead seat, defeating long-serving Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger. Richard Foord took the new Honiton and Sidmouth seat for the Lib Dems, defeating Conservative MP Simon Jupp, who had represented much of the area before boundary changes.

Labour’s Fred Thomas put paid to Johnny Mercer in Plymouth Moor View and Steve Race held on to Exeter for Labour, taking over the reins from veteran Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who stood down after 27 years as the city’s representative at Westminster.

Luke Pollard held Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, with Reform’s Peter Gold taking second place ahead of the Conservatives.

There were some consolations for the Conservatives. Mel Stride held the Central Devon seat by just 61 votes after a recount, ahead of Labour’s Ollie Pearson, while Sir Geoffrey Cox held Torridge and Tavistock, albeit with a greatly reduced majority.

Rebecca Smith held on to the retiring Sir Gary Streeter’s South West Devon seat ahead of the Labour candidate while in Exmouth and East Exeter, Conservative David Reed beat Labour’s Helen Dallimore by just 121 votes.

Lib Dem gains from Conservative: Torbay, South Devon, Newton Abbot, North Devon, Tiverton and Minehead.

Labour gain from Conservative: Plymouth Moor View.

Labour holds: Exeter and Plymouth Sutton and Devonport.

Conservative holds: Central Devon, South West Devon, Torridge and Tavistock.

Two new constituencies One win each for Conservative and Lib Dem.