DARLINGTON has elected a Conservative MP for the first time since 1987.

Solicitor Peter Gibson was elected with a majority of more than 3,000 votes.

He said: “I feel excited, exhilarated and a bit tired – I’ve been on the campaign trail since November so I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

“The first thing tomorrow I’m going to be at Bank Top station to wave goodbye to the last Pacer train.

“We have put forward a plan that has resonated with the people of Darlington. I have been taken to many people’s hearts and I have fallen in love with this town. I know I have been criticised for not coming from here, so I am looking forward to visiting the estate agents tomorrow and starting my house-hunting.”

He won 20,901 votes, ahead of Labour’s defending candidate, Jenny Chapman, who has represented the town since 2010.

After making a gracious speech in defeat, Ms Chapman said: “I’m disappointed, I’m concerned for some of the people I represent who desperately need a Labour government and again we failed to deliver that. I have to take the rough with the smooth. That’s what politics is like. It's not about me. It’s about the community in Darlington, who have got a new MP. I hope he is going to be a good MP and I will be holding him to account for the promises he’s made.”

Ms Chapman has been a shadow Brexit minister in Jeremy Corbyn’s team. She said: “The Labour Party needs to take a long hard look at itself and remind itself who it was formed to represent. There are clearly questions about leadership and the way the whole campaign was run and the scattergun approach to policy.”

Darlington’s last Conservative MP was Michael Fallon, who lost the seat in 1992 to Alan Milburn. Ms Chapman was rather surprised to hold the seat in 2017 when she won a 3,280 majority, which has now been lost in the great northern Tory landslide of 2019.