Nick Timothy said being elected as West Suffolk MP is the "honour" of his life as he held the seat for the Conservatives.

Theresa May's former chief of staff defeated second-placed Labour rival Rebecca Denness by 3,247 votes after Thursday's poll.

His victory, with 15,814 votes, comes as Tories across the country were losing their seats as Labour stormed to landslide win in the general election..

Ms Denness secured 12,567 votes, while Reform's co-deputy leader David Bull came third with 9,623.

The turnout in West Suffolk was just over 60%, down from 64.1% in the 2019 poll.

West Suffolk was the first seat in the county to declare a result, coming in at about 2.45am.

In his victory speech, Mr Timothy said: "Being elected to represent the West Suffolk constituency is the honour of my life.

The West Suffolk candidates await the declarationThe West Suffolk candidates await the declaration (Image: Newsquest)

"I want to thank everyone who has put their faith and trust in me. I want to thank the police, I want to thank the deputy returning officer and those who have made the election run so smoothly.

"Of course, I want to thank my wife, Martina, our children, our parents, and all the activists who have worked so hard throughout the campaign.

"Obviously, this a difficult night for my party. We will need to reflect about why we've lost so badly. That debate will come in due course."

Mr Timothy spoke with the EADT after the declaration to offer his thoughts on a bruising night for the party nationwide.

He said: "Nationally, it is a difficult night for the party. As I said in my acceptance speech, there will be a debate about why it is that we've lost so heavily - that will come.

"But for now, I just want to say thank you to residents here for putting their trust in me and I promise that I will work hard for them every day that I am an MP."

Before parliament was dissolved at the end of May, the seat had been held by former health secretary Matt Hancock.

Mr Hancock was elected with a sizeable majority of 23,194 but announced back in December 2022 that he would not be contesting the seat in the next general election.

Matt Hancock vacated the seat, announcing he was standing down in December 2022Matt Hancock vacated the seat, announcing he was standing down in December 2022 (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown, Newsquest)

He had been suspended by the Conservatives following his appearance on reality show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! but had the whip restored after the general election was called.

Results in full

Nick Timothy (C) 15,814 

Rebecca Denness (L) 12,567

David Bull (RUK) 9,623

Henry Batchelor (LD) 4,284

Katie-Jane Parker (I) 485

Luke O'Brien (I) 345

Ivan Kinsman (SDP) 133

Turnout 60% - majority 3,247