Bognor Regis and Littlehampton's MP declared

Nigel Lynn moments before the vote result was announced
Nigel Lynn moments before the vote result was announced

The MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton has been declared.

Conservative candidate Nick Gibb beat out the competition to be re-elected as MP for the constituency for the seventh time, a seat he has held since 1997.

He got 32,521 votes - 2,245 more than in 2017 - and a majority of 22,503 over his nearest rival, Labour candidate Alan Butcher: an increase of 5,009.

His success mirrored that of his party, which has gained a majority in Parliament.

Speaking ahead of the result being announced, the 59-year-old said he would celebrate by 'going to sleep' and having a 'glass of something' with his husband Michael Simmonds.

He said: "It has been a gruelling five weeks, a long campaign, and the weather has been appalling."

He added: "Now, we will get Brexit done, we will leave the European Union by the 31st of January, and then we can focus on other priorities, like making sure we have a strong economy and high levels of employment."

The Minister of State for School Standards said another key job was unifying the country. He said: "It has been a very divisive three years and we need to start the process of healing."

In his victory speech, Mr Gibb thanked his fellow candidates. He said: "It is a noble thing to stand for public office in a democracy like ours."

Mr Butcher has stood in this seat two times previously, and in Worthing West in 2001. He got 10,018 votes, 2,764 less than in 2017.

He described the night for his party as 'unpleasant' and 'deeply disappointing': "Obviously we were hoping that Brexit wouldn't have such a dominant effect but on the doorstep you could detect it was something that was going to be a major player.

"It was always going to be difficult, and there was always the chance that some of the vote may slip away on the basis of the oversimplistic message the Conservatives are putting forward."

His picks for the next leader of the Labour Party, following the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn earlier this morning, were Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner and Shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.

In third place was Liberal Democrat candidate Francis Oppler, deputy leader of Arun District Council, who secured 5,645 votes.

Earlier in the night, he said he felt that the decision to push for cancelling Brexit had hurt the party's chances at the polls. He also said he was 'deeply saddened' to hear that party leader Jo Swinson lost her Dunbartonshire East seat to the Scottish National Party by just 149 votes.

James Walsh, fellow Liberal Democrat and leader of Arun District Council, said it was a 'great loss' to his party.

He added that the election result would have grave repercussions for the future of the United Kingdom: "I think the result nationally, with the advance of the SNP in Scotland and the pro-Brexit vote in England, is likely to lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom within four or five years. That is the really serious consequence which I think is now certain to happen."

Green Party candidate Carol Birch got 1,826 votes and UKIP's David Kurten got 846.

In last place was Andrew Elston, who stood as an independent.

His manifesto was more unorthodox than his fellow candidates', promoting 'the application of New Age values to the current political time' to create a 'cultural movement that expresses deeper love' through the use of 'subtle energies influencing the destiny of our history'.

His environmental policy made the Greens look like petrol-guzzling frackers: "I have been influenced by the Gaia Concept: the idea that the planet is a conscious being, a goddess, and we would do well to send energies of love and healing to the world."

Unfortunately, it seemed the energies in question were just too subtle for voters to pick up on, as David only got 367 votes and lost his £500 deposit.