TORY candidate Michelle Donelan last night held on to the Chippenham seat she has occupied since 2015 but her majority was cut by 273 votes.

She was elected MP for the third time with 30,994 votes – a majority of 11,288.

Giving her victory speech, Miss Donelan pledged to “work her socks off” as the Chippenham MP over the next five years.

She said: “Thank you to everyone who has done their bit. Together we have worked our socks off during this campaign and, rest assured, as your returned MP I will work my socks off for our community.

“We ran a positive local campaign which we can be proud of, one which will help us nationally to break the Brexit gridlock, honour the Referendum result, and allow us to get back to focusing on our NHS, education, environment and all the other pressing issues.”

Liberal Democrat contender Helen Belcher got 19,706 votes, while her Labour Party rival Martha Anachury got 6,399 votes.

Miss Belcher said the Liberal Democrats had managed to increase their share of the vote by nine per cent during the campaign.

She added: “It looks like, from our point of view, that votes have been lent to the Conservative Party in order to get Brexit over the line.

“But I would say, they are lent and I think you have got a lot of work to do try and make sure you keep them for next time.

“My concern over all of this is that we still actually have years more of chaos, freeze, uncertainty and doubt. The deal cannot get done in the time that’s allowed.

“It means that the urgent crises that we have in our climate and in investment in our public services you are going to struggle to address them and I am genuinely concerned about what this means for the poor and the vulnerable.”

Martha Anachury said: “This was my first election. I hope it’s not the last. I have really enjoyed the whole process, especially to see democracy at work. For me, it has been a very positive campaign.

“I want to feel hope and passion and continue to work in every possible way to make Wiltshire a better place.”

The Green Party candidate Margaret Green stood down following the national Remain Alliance pact between the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, in 60 marginal constituencies in a bid to stop Brexit.

The turn-out in Chippenham was 57,420 (74.38 per cent). A total of 321 ballot papers were spoiled.

The first ballot box to arrive was from the Ladyfield Evangelical Churches, in Hungerdown Lane, Chippenham, at 10.11am.

In the 2017 General Election, Miss Donelan won the seat with 31,267 votes (54.72 per cent), from Helen Belcher with 14,637 votes (25.62 per cent), and Andrew Newman for the Labour Party in third place with 11,236 votes (19.66 per cent).

In this year’s General Election, there were 20 candidates in the five Wiltshire constituencies – Chippenham, Devizes, North Wiltshire, South West Wiltshire and Salisbury.

Those registered to vote did so at 357 polling stations across the county. There were 60,027 people eligible for postal votes, 2,828 for proxy votes, and 307,430 registered to use the polling stations.

A total of 25,366 people became newly-registered electors since the General Election was formally called.