Richard Drax has kept his place as South Dorset's MP by a landslide of votes.

After around nine hours of verification and counting, the results are in- and Conservative Mr Drax remains the constituency's parliamentary representative.

Mr Drax took 23,756 votes.

He was the last candidate to arrive at the count, which took place at Weymouth Pavilion's Ocean Room.

Mr Drax was up against Labour's Simon Bowkett, Lib Dem Howard Legg, Malcolm Shakesby of UKIP, the Green Party's Jane Burnet and independent candidates Mervyn Stewkesbury and Andy Kirkwood.

Bowkett scored 11,762 votes, Legg 2,901, Shakesby 7,304, Burnet 2,275, Stewkesbury 435 and Kirkwood 164.

Mr Drax said it is a 'great honour to represent the fantastic constituency of South Dorset.'

He thanked his team for all their hard work, his competitors for 'the fair way this fight was fought' and the electorate.

Speaking of what appears to be a Conservative overall majority on the national picture, Mr Drax said this morning he had been 'genuinely worried' about the prospect of a Labour SNP coalition.

"I think the voters felt that too and in the last 24 hours they said 'we want you to carry on.'

He added that the voters had said they wanted them to carry on and ‘get this great country back on its feet’ Mr Drax said the results should silence the SNP saying that the Conservatives ‘do not have a right to govern,’ and said the country is a United Kingdom.

Despite early predictions, voter turnout was slightly down on 2010, standing at 68.13 per cent. This means just over 49,000 of the almost 72,000 of the voting population in South Dorset turned out to the polls.

Labour’s Simon Bowkett thanked his campaign team for their hard work. He said: "I couldn't have asked for any more from the team during the campaign, we campaigned really hard and tried to keep a positive message throughout.

"We were under no illusions that it was going to be a difficult task and that it was hugely ambitious to get a result.

"I am disappointed with the result, but not the campaign. I genuinely think we ran a strong campaign and we got good feedback from every hustings events we went to."