The New Forest turned a paler shade of blue as Labour swept to power in the UK after 14 years in opposition.

On a disastrous night for the Conservatives, the Forest's two Tory MPs managed to retain their seats, but saw massive reductions in their majorities.

During his victory speech, New Forest East MP Sir Julian Lewis admitted that the country had given his party a "kicking".

Asked why the Tories had lost so many seats he said: "There are any number of reasons, not least the fact that it would have been unprecedented for a party to win five consecutive terms in government."

Sir Julian said he hoped Rishi Sunak would continue to head the party for the time being.

"It's important that an outgoing prime minister should stay on as leader so that a successor can emerge as part of a considered process and not the result of a mad rush by ambitious people at odds with one another."

Sir Julian referred to David Cameron's decision to resign as prime minister after his country voted to leave the EU in 2016. 

He said: "I would be surprised and disappointed if Rishi Sunak behaved in the same irresponsible manner."

Fellow Tory Sir Desmond Swayne said he was "relieved" to have won New Forest West.

"It wasn't always clear to me that that was going to be the case. Almost every conversation on the doorsteps began with the words 'I've always voted Tory, but...'."

Sir Desmond blamed the Partygate scandal, adding that Liz Truss's short-lived premiership had created a clear perception of a party at war with itself.

Sir Julian saw his majority cut from 25,251 to 8,495. Labour's Sasjkia Otto came second with 8,917 votes, with Reform's Roy Swales third with 7,646.

Other candidates included Mad Hatter - real name Roger Willatt - of the Monster Raving Loony Party.

His party's policies included leaving fridge doors open for an hour every day to cool down the atmosphere, and moving New Year's Eve to June 1 "to spread the fun".

New Forest West was the second of the two results to be declared at Applemore Health and Leisure, near Hythe.

Sir Desmond had a majority of 5,600, compared with 24,403 in 2019. Labour also came second in that constituency, with Sally Johnston picking up 10,812 votes. Third place went to Liberal Democrat Jack Davies.