POOLE remains in Tory hands after Robert Syms romped to victory with a 15,789 majority.

The declaration, made at the town's Lighthouse Theatre on Friday morning, followed confirmation of a 65.51 per cent turnout - slightly up on 2010.

Mr Syms, who polled 23,745 votes, said: "I'm very pleased, throughout the campaign we thought we were winning and doing really well. We've got a split opposition and managed to turn the Tory vote out.

"It was very positive throughout the campaign and I think at the end there were a few concerns about a hung parliament, the SNP, and I think that probably pushed a few more people out to vote."

Meanwhile, Lib Dem candidate Philip Eades, who was pushed into fourth place by UKIP and Labour, told the Daily Echo it had been a bad night for his party, which had "clearly paid a heavy price" for being in coalition with the Conservatives.

Mr Eades polled just 5,572 votes, as the Liberal Democrats went into meltdown nationwide.

UKIP's David Young, who came second with 7,956 votes, said: "We look forward to continuing our progress in years to come."

Poole was always a safe Tory seat, having been a Conservative constituency since its creation in 1950. However, Mr Syms' resounding win comes amid some criticism locally for failing to attend a string of hustings events during the run-up to Election Day.

Helen Rosser, Labour, received 6,102 votes, while Poole People's Mark Howell polled 1,766.

Ian Northover, Independent, received 54 votes.

Earlier in the night Mr Syms told the Echo: "The whole campaign has been a joy, it's been the best canvassing for 20 years.

"It was obvious when I voted there were large queues of people. One never knows quite who that benefits. Historically they always used to say it was the Labour Party, but 1992 was another close election with a really high turnout.

"The people felt their vote really counted and they've made the effort, and the sun was shining as it always does in Bournemouth and Poole."