Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 16:38 UK

Lib Dems hold Cheltenham, Tories gain two seats

Martin Horwood (r) standing next to Conservative candidate  Mark Coote
Martin Horwood achieved an increased majority of nearly 5,000 votes

The Liberal Democrats have held Cheltenham in the general election with an increased majority.

Martin Horwood, MP for the spa town since 2005, was re-elected with 26,659 votes, compared with Mark Coote's 21,739 for the Conservatives.

Labour's James Green was third with 2,703 votes.

Elsewhere in the county, the Tories gained Gloucester and Stroud from Labour and held the Forest of Dean, Cotswolds and Tewkesbury.

Labour's Parmjit Dhanda, elected in 2001, was ousted from Gloucester by Conservative Richard Graham who polled 20,267 votes - a majority of 2,420.

Tory Neil Carmichael took Stroud from Labour's David Drew, MP for Stroud since 1997, with a majority of 1,299.

Mark Harper was re-elected for the Tories in the Forest of Dean with 22,853 votes and a majority of 11,064.

Increased vote

Tory Geoffrey Clifton-Brown held on to The Cotswolds with a 12,864 majority. Laurence Robertson held Tewkesbury with 25,472 votes - a majority of 6,310.

Following the results, the new Gloucester MP Mr Graham said his top three priorities were the city's regeneration, youth unemployment and bed cuts at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Defeated Mr Dhanda said he was proud of the work he and his team had done in the city.

In Stroud, victorious Tory Neil Carmichael said: "We've won by sticking to our guns and sticking to our objectives."

Mr Drew said he was disappointed to lose the seat.

"We increased our vote, but sadly with the turnout it just wasn't enough," he said.

Voting travesty

At his acceptance speech, Cheltenham's re-elected Martin Horwood criticised the current voting system.

He said: "Under first past the post, Liberal Democrat votes have increased here and across Gloucestershire from the Forest to the Cotswolds, from Tewkesbury to the Stroud Valleys and yet we still only have one seat.

"The Conservative party won a minority of the votes and yet has been given five out of the six seats representing this county. Regardless of party, that is a travesty."

Gloucester and Stroud will hold its local election counts on Friday afternoon.

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