See video on DevonLive link
Lewis Clarke www.devonlive.com
After a historic and humiliating defeat in the Tiverton & Honiton by-election, Conservative candidate Helen Hurford disappeared via a back door. Video shows the moment she arrived smiling at the count just before the results were announced before slipping away from public gaze.
Accompanied by Tory party officials, she arrived at the count before hiding away in a back room. When approached by DevonLive reporter Lewis Clarke her agent says “We are not speaking” and ushers Mr Hurford away. She simply smiles and says “Oh have they” after being told that the Liberal Democrats have just declared a spectacular win, as the votes stacked in their favour and the 24,000 Tory majority is slashed, with a 30 per cent swing to the Lib Dems.
Ms Hurford and her supporters remained in the back room until the results were announced , with the Liberal Democrats winning 22,537 votes, and the Tories in second place on 16,393. After her ignominious defeat she hastily left the building without any public statement or comment to the press.
The contest triggered by the resignation of disgraced Tory MP Neil Parish offered voters the chance to give their verdict on Prime Minister Boris Johnson just weeks after 41 per cent of his own MPs cast their ballots against him.
Today Oliver Dowden has resigned as chairman of the Conservative Party saying in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson that “someone must take responsibility” for defeats at Tiverton and Honiton in Devon and Wakefield in Yorkshire which was won by Labour.
Devon’s new Lib Dem MP Richard Foord used his acceptance speech to call for Mr Johnson “to go, and go now”, claiming his victory had “sent a shockwave through British politics”.