Mike Thornton's wife Peta said she felt "overwhelmed" by her husband's victory.

She entered the election count arm in arm with the Lib Dem and watched with joy as he delivered his victory speech.

She told the Daily Echo: "I am very proud of him - it has been an absolutely crazy three weeks. He has coped very well and I have had to make him lots of tea and coffee."

Asked how she was looking forward to life as a political wife, Mrs Thorton said she had "not thought that far ahead yet."

"I'm just overwhelmed," she said.

Meanwhile her victorious husband said one of the first things he was looking forward to was having a drink on the House of Commons terrace.

He said he was unsure what his first task would be as MP but that his main interest was in stimulating the economy and promoting high tech industry.

In the short term Mr Thornton said he would be picking up supplies from the local supermarket and celebrating with his campaign team.

On seeing the conservatives beaten into third place he said:" it is a bit different isn't it? But it is a by election and the vote isn't necessarily replicated in a general election."