Chris Huhne has held Eastleigh with a convincing win – increasing his majority by about 3500. Despite coming second Maria Hutchings also increased the Conservative vote by 2500. This would have been enough to overturn the 530 defecit last time out – and the conservatives certainly felt they had done enough to win outright – but a collapse in the Labour vote as former Labour voters tactically switched to Lib Dem put the result beyond them.
This was the best result for both parties since 1992.
The Labour vote reduced by half from 10,000 to 5,000. Their worst result in Eastleigh for over 30 years.
Ukip meanwhile increased their vote marginally but not enough to save a their deposit or push Labour to fourth which was their target.
In the end it was the bookies that called it right. They installed Chris Huhne as odds on favourite from the start and this never wavered.
More stuff from the count later today.
Labour – Leo Barraclough 5,153
Ukip – Ray Finch 1933
Liberal Democrat – Chris Huhne 24966
Conservative – Maria Hutchings 21102
National Liberal Party – Keith Low 93
English Democrats – Tony Pewsey 249
Dave Stone 154