A Conservative candidate believes Rishi Sunak will stand down as Conservative party leader if the exit poll is correct.

The poll, conducted for the BBC, ITV and Sky, forecasts that Labour will win a landslide, taking 410 seats, with the Conservatives left on just 131.

Speaking to the Echo at the New Forest election counts in Hythe, Sir Julian Lewis, who is standing in New Forest East, predicts the Prime Minister will not continue as Conservative party leader should they lose to Labour.

Sir Julian has represented the seat since its creation in 1997, and is forecast to retain his seat again this year.

He said: "I'm fairly sure that after a major defeat there would have to be a new captain of the ship."

But Sir Julian dismissed suggestions that Mr Sunak would quit tomorrow, citing his strength of character and concern for the welfare of the party.

Commenting on the exit poll he added: "Predictions of a Labour majority come as no surprise, given all the recent predictions. However, 131 seats is not too dissimilar to the scale of the 1997 result, when the Conservatives managed just 165."

Sir Julian is attending the count with his wife Fiona.

Also standing in New Forest East are Mad Hatter (Monster Raving Loony Party), Simon King (Green), Andrew Knight (Animal Welfare Party), Sasjkia Otto (Labour), Caroline Rackham (Liberal Democrats) and Roy Swales (Reform).