MARGINAL seat Stockton South saw a massive swing to the Conservatives, with Matt Vickers taking it with a comfortable majority of over 5,000.

The new MP himself seemed astonished by the swing, saying he was "a pessimist" and had not expected to win.

Labour’s Paul Williams, who took the seat from the Conservatives in 2017 by just 888 votes, lost by over 5,200 votes.

Mr Vickers polled 27,764 votes, while Dr Williams, a GP by profession, received 22,504.

Liberal Democrat Brendan Devlin, who just two days ago endorsed Dr Williams’ candidacy, polled 2,338 while the Brexit Party’s John Prescott trailed just behind with 2,196.

Speaking to The Northern Echo after the result, Mr Vickers, who led the Conservative group on Stockton Borough Council, said: “I’m ecstatic. Delighted. I am more than happy with it. It’s a mandate to get on.

“Brexit is a priority. We are going to work on that first but I have a massive mission list, everything from fixing potholes to improvements at train stations, things that have come up on the doorsteps in the last month. I’ll be working on them, I’ll be getting them done, and I can’t wait to get started.”

He said he believed Brexit was a major factor in the swing, adding: “People feel let down by the Labour Party locally. They are let down by then on the ‘B’ word, and they are let down by them on many other things, whether that be the airport, whether that be local investment. They have seen that investment from the Conservatives and want more of it now.”

Dr Williams, whose hobby is running, leaped off the stage at the end of the declaration and moved quickly out of the hall at Thornaby Pavilion, declining to give interviews.

The GP had been an MP for just over two years and had a place on the health select committee.

Stockton South has now swung between different parties six times since its inception as a constituency in 1983.

In his speech, he said: “Politics absolutely brings out the best in so many people. I was overwhelmed by the support and help from so many volunteers.

“I would like to congratulate Matt Vickers. You have my very best wishes, Matt.

“It has been the most incredible honour and privilege of my life to serve the people of Stockton South. If I have a regret it is that I hoped to help so many more people.”