Witney by-election: Lib Dems celebrate reduced Tory majority

Liberal Democrat Liz Leffman Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Liberal Democrat Liz Leffman said she was "very, very pleased" with the result

The Liberal Democrat by-election candidate for Witney declared her party "back in business" after it slashed the Conservatives' majority to come second.

Robert Courts won the seat for the Tories after Prime Minister David Cameron stood down.

But the party saw its majority cut by more than 20,000 votes as the Lib Dems surged from 7% to 30% of the vote.

Their candidate Liz Leffman claimed the party picked up unhappy Conservative voters following the Brexit vote.

The by-election was called after Mr Cameron stood down as an MP following June's referendum.

Ms Leffman said she was "very, very pleased with this result" and added: "The Liberal Democrats are definitely back in business".

Analysis: How significant is Witney result?

Image caption Turnout in the by-election was 46.74% - down from 73% in the general election

She said: "It's amazing what we've managed to achieve.

"People who have voted Conservative, all their lives in some cases, have turned to us because we are the party that really understands what the implications of Brexit are."

Mr Courts said it was "a huge honour to have been elected as the MP for the area I love, live in and call home" and praised his predecessor Mr Cameron.

Labour candidate Duncan Enright came third with about 15% of the vote, down from 17% in 2015.

He said: "I felt that we led on the arguments right throughout the campaign. We talked about the NHS and its weakness and that certainly chimed with a lot of people."

Witney result in full

Robert Courts (Con) - 17,313 (45.02%)

Liz Leffman (Lib Dem) - 11,611 (30.19%)

Duncan Enright (Lab) - 5,765 (14.99%)

Larry Sanders (Green) - 1,363 (3.54%)

Dickie Bird (UKIP) - 1,354 (3.52%)

Dr Helen Salisbury (NHAP) - 433 (1.13%)

Daniel Skidmore (Ind) - 151 (0.39%)

Mad Hatter (Loony) - 129 (0.34%)

Nicholas Ward (Ind) - 93 (0.24%)

David Bishop (Bus Pass Elvis) - 61 (0.16%)

Lord Toby Jug (Eccentric) - 59 (0.15%)

Winston McKenzie (Eng Dem) - 52 (0.14%)

Emilia Arno (Love) - 44 (0.11%)

Adam Knight (Ind) - 27 (0.07%)

Turnout - 46.74%

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