THE Conservatives swept to victory in Christchurch and increased their majority despite a surge in UKIP support.

Chris Chope, who has been the town's MP since 1997, boasted one of the largest majorities in the country and it would have taken a swing of historic proportions for him to lose.

After the polls closed UKIP's Robin Grey was in confident mood, telling the Daily Echo he was 'not looking for a close second.'

And Mr Chope nervously joked that his Eurosceptic opponent could make a lot of money if he had placed a wager on himself winning.

However, after a turnout of 49,934, which equates to 72.1 per cent - up 0.3 percentage on 2010, the Tory veteran prevailed.

He received 28,887 votes - an increase of 999 on 2010. His majority increased by 2,814 from 15,410 in 2010 to 18,224.

UKIP did put in a strong showing, with Mr Grey polling 10,663.

The Lib Dems could only muster 3,263 to add to a damaging night for the former coalition partners, down from 12,478 in 2010. Labour polled 4,745 and the Green's 2,149.

Mr Chope said he was 'ecstatic' with the result, adding: "The people of Christchurch are Eurosceptic and are looking forward to a referendum without further delay."

He added that his victory could be credited with him being a 'true Conservative' and that Mr Grey's downfall had been that they shared too many similar views.

The result, initially expected at 2am, was finally announced at 5.43am.