Published: May 7, 2010
Tessa Munt wins closely-fought election in Burnham-On-Sea

Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt has clinched victory in the General Election race in the Wells constituency, which includes Burnham-On-Sea.

She won with a slender majority of just 800 votes from second-placed David Heathcoat-Amory, the long-standing Conservative who had been MP in the constituency for 27 years.

The result came after drama overnight when the Conservatives called for a recount at 5am after just a few hundred votes separated the two.

Tessa told "I am absolutely delighted to have won after seven years of trying. My work starts straight away today with a visit to Highbridge's Morland Estate."

She paid tribute to her rival, Mr Heathcoat-Amory, who said: "it has been a great honour to represent Wells for 27 years."

He added: "Expenses damaged all incumbants and perhaps me particularly. I faced a negative campaign, that's the tough way politics is."

"I've enjoyed every minute of representing this constituency for the last 27 years and I leave, I hope, with a constituency in good shape."

He also blamed UKIP for losing him the election. "The UKIP vote of 1,700 votes cost me the election but I am not a bad loser and I didn't give up without a fight. I wish my competitor good luck."

There was a turnout of 56,426, equating to a 67% turnout, across the Wells constituency.

Tessa, who was born in 1959 and is the eldest of four children, lives with her two teenage children and husband in the village of Mark, near Burnham.

David Heathcoat-Amory had been MP in Wells since 1983 and had been re-elected five times but his popularity took a hit last year during the Westminster expenses scandal when he gained notoriety for making 19 claims over a three-year period for hundreds of sacks of horse manure, which he later paid back.

Jake Baynes of the UK Independence Party, Richard Boyce of the British National Party, Chris Briton of the Green Party, Labour's Andy Merryfield were the other candidates.


Tessa Munt (Liberal Democrats)

David Heathcoat-Amory (Conservative)
Andy Merryfield (Labour)
Chris Briton (Green Party)
Richard Boyce (British National Party)

Jake Baynes (UK Independence Party)

Mr Heathcoat-Amory at this morning's election count

Liberal Democrat supporters cheering as the results were announced

The former MP explaining why he believes UKIP cost him the election

Tessa hugs a supporter outside Friday's count

It was a long, tense night at the count, where a re-count was required at 5am

Tessa with her official envelope containing her details on becoming a new MP

More photos from the overnight election count


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