IT was five in a row for Philip Dunne as he was returned to Parliament with a record majority after a campaign that has seen him and the other candidates touring one of the largest constituencies in the country.

There was never any real doubt that Mr Dunne would be returned in what is not just one of the most isolated but also considered one of the safest Conservative seats in the country.

But he exceeded all expectations returning his biggest ever majority and the largest Conservative vote in Ludlow and south Shropshire.

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Mr Dunne said after being declared the winner, that he was delighted by the result and that he hoped that the issue of Brexit would now be put to bed, and the Government could get on with issues such as improving the NHS.

The big question was who would come second and if Heather Kidd, from the Liberal Democrats or Kuldip Sohota of the Labour party would take that accolade.

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Traditionally in Ludlow the Liberal Democrats have been the main challengers but in 2017 it was Labour that came second.

This time it was Heather Kidd who was the nearest challenger to Mr Dunne, narrowly beating the Labour candidate into third place. But both were a long way behind Mr Dunne who won 64 per cent of the votes cast.

Hilary Wendt for the Green party was fourth.

It was the first winter election since February 1974 and the first time that people have gone to the polls in a General Election in December since 1923.

A campaign that is usually contested in shorts and summer dresses was this time fought out in winter coats, hats and gloves.

Normally by the time that the result has been declared people leaving the count are met by a morning twilight in May or June but this time it was still pitch black when the result was announced at just after 4am.

The campaign was not without incident and made national headlines after a spat between Philip Dunne and his Labour opponent at a hustings event in Church Stretton after comments allegedly made by Mr Dunne.

Mr Dunne’s campaign was given an early boost with the decision of the Brexit party not to stand in constituencies that had been held by a Conservative MP.

It left the Labour party and Liberal Democrats competing for the soft Brexit or Remain vote, a position reflected to the benefit of the Conservatives throughout the country.

But this was not the only factor in a result that was a massive endorsement of Mr Dunne and his party in Ludlow and south Shropshire.