“Thank you first of all to the Returning Officer and everyone here who has worked through the night and to my fellow candidates who have been on this rollercoaster with me over the last month.
“A special thank you to my family, friends and Somerset Council Colleagues. It’s your love and support that has made it possible for me to put everything into this campaign. This is your victory as much as it is mine.
“And the same goes to my election agent Paul Trollope, my incredible campaign team led by Ruth Younger and all the Liberal Democrat volunteers from across the country who have come to Somerset to help us win.
“And of course, a special thank you to Ed Davey, who has now led our party to four historic by-election victories over the Conservatives.
“Ed has been here so many times during the campaign and judging by how much he enjoyed our visit to a cider maker recently I’m sure he’ll be back again soon! Thank you Ed.
“And thank you, most of all, to the wonderful people here in Somerset.
“For welcoming me into your homes, your town and parish halls and your businesses, from Frome to Henstridge and from Somerton to Wincanton.
“Thank you for talking to me about your lives and your communities for sharing your worries and your hopes for the future.
“I’ve heard from dairy farmers determined to protect our precious environment and feed our country.
“From nurses and doctors working all hours of the day out of love and care for their patients
“And thriving entrepreneurs creating jobs and driving our county into the future.
“I promise to be an MP standing up for you in Westminster. Tonight has been a stunning and historic victory for the Liberal Democrats
“And it shows once and for all the Liberal Democrats are back in the West Country.
“Lifelong Conservative voters have today voted Liberal Democrat for the first time.
“Thank you for putting your trust in me to deliver for you. I will not let you down.
“And let me say a particular thank you to all those who usually vote Labour or Green, but lent me your votes this time.
“There’s no doubt that our electoral system is broken, but you have shown that the Conservatives can still be beaten under it.
“I will work every day to repay your faith and trust in me to be the local MP taking on this woeful Conservative government.
“I am truly honoured by the faith the people of Somerton and Frome have placed in me tonight.
“It is humbling to be elected to represent the place my family has lived for generations, and farmed for over two hundred years.
“This is a wonderful part of the world but like so many places across the country, we have been let down and taken for granted for far too long by a tired and out-of-touch Conservative Government.
“While families struggle to put food on the table, or pay their mortgage, or simply see their GP this Government is too busy being a circus of chaos.
“Well, the people of Somerton and Frome have said it loud and clear tonight:
“Enough is enough.
“People here have been left without a voice in Parliament for far too long. That changes right now.
“Instead of an absent Conservative MP letting you down, you have an active Liberal Democrat MP lifting you up.
“So to the mother in Milborne Port who told me how she couldn’t get a dentist appointment for her children, I hear you, and I will fight for you.
“To the man who told me how his elderly mother sat on the floor for thirteen hours waiting for an ambulance to arrive, I hear you, and I will fight for you.
“To the amazing farmers of Somerset, the custodians of our countryside:
“You are my family.
“I hear you, and I will fight for you.
“And to all of you seeing your energy bills, mortgage payments and food shop go up and up, with no end in sight, I hear you, and I will fight for you.
“To everyone here in Somerton and Frome, no matter how you voted in this election, I hear you, and I will fight for you.