I am not going to pretend this has been a good night for the Liberal Democrats, not nationally or locally. But first let me congratulate Philip Dunne for winning a third term of office with an increased majority.
Philip Dunne Conservative Party 54% 26,093
David Kelly UK Independence Party 15% 7,164
Charlotte Barnes Liberal Democrats 13% 6,469
Simon Slater Labour Party 12% 5,902
Janet Phillips Green Party 5% 2,435
As I type this at 4 in the morning, the Lib Dems seem to be getting the blame for everything that went wrong in the coalition and no credit for things that have gone right. Good, hardworking Lib Dem MPs are losing their seats.
It’s a cruel cull – but that’s politics.
It hasn’t been good here in Ludlow. Charlotte threw everything into a gutsy campaign but she was swimming against the national tide that drowned so many prominent Lib Dems. I take my hat off to her for her energy, enthusiasm and endless ability to burst out laughing on the doorstep.
I can’t disguise that it grates to come third behind UKIP. I am a liberal through and through, and to come third behind an anti-liberal party hurts.
It’s a cruel result – but that’s politics.
There is a lot of reflecting to do after this morning’s results. I would have liked to have seen rainbow coalition – a structure that would have changed politics for ever. But at this hour of the morning, I think seeing my bed might be more achievable.