JULIAN Smith has held his Skipton and Ripon seat with an increased majority.

A turnout of 74.9 per cent of the electorate was recorded, a slight increase of 0.5 per cent on the 2017 turnout.

Mr Smith said he was delighted to have kept his seat and was keen to get back to business.

He said once the results were announced shortly after 4.15am: “I’m over the moon to be re-elected as Skipton and Ripon’s MP. “It’s such a fantastic place to represent and I’m delighted to be back with an increased majority.

“I want to thank people for putting their trust in me by voting for me tonight. To have the opportunity to continue to represent Skipton and Ripon is a huge honour.

“Turnout was very high and I think people just probably locally did support the Prime Minister’s message that we just need to get through this period and get more investment going, more confidence, people can stop worrying.”

He added: “The government will now be able to move on from this first phase of Brexit and start looking at other priorities including local issues such as infrastructure and mobile connectivity.”

He said one of his hopes was to get more investment in the north saying: “I am pleased to see there are a lot of northern MPs being elected to the Conservative Party so it’s very good.”

He added that he would be back at work and would wait to see if he remained Northern Ireland Secretary or if Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a different position for him when he pulls together his cabinet.

Mr Smith’s majority was 23,694 over Labour candidate Brian McDaid.

Mr McDaid said he was disappointed with the result.

“We didn’t have the best of nights but we will regroup,” he said.

Craven District councillor Andy Brown, who stood for the Green Party said he too was disappointed he had not made more headway. He lost his £500 deposit which is determined by gaining at least five per cent of the countable vote, which is ballot papers which have not been spoiled.

“I am pleased that many green issues were raised during the campaign,” he said, adding that he hoped the pledges and promises made would be carried through.

The full results for the Skipton and Ripon seat are:

Andy Brown Green Party 2,748 - loses his deposit.

Brian McDaid Labour 11,225.

Andrew Murday Liberal Democrat 8,701.

Jack Render Yorkshire Party 1,131 - loses his deposit.

Julian Smith Conservative 34,919 majority of 23,694.

In 2017 he had a majority of 19,985.

The count was held in Gargrave Village Hall while the refurbishment of Skipton Town Hall continues.

The number of spoiled ballot papers was 239.