Conservative Richard Harrington stormed to victory to hold on to his Watford seat – increasing his majority in the process.

Tory supporters cheered as Mr Harrington was declared Watford MP at about 4.30am with 24,400 votes, an increased majority of almost 10,000 votes in what was expected to be a tight three-way seat.

Labour candidate Matt Turmaine also received a warm reception as he claimed second with 14,606 votes ahead of the Elected Mayor of Watford and Liberal Democrat Dorothy Thornhill (10,152).

UKIP hopeful Nick Lincoln finished fourth (5,481), with Green Party candidate Aidan Cottrell-Boyce fifth (1,332) and Mark O’Connor (TUSC) in sixth place (178).

Mr Harrington said: “I'm amazed, honoured and flattered. I think about 50 percent of people who voted, voted for me - including places like Meriden, places not traditionally Conservative.

“I hope I show the modern Conservative approach, appealing to a broad spectrum of people.

"I hope I've gained a reputation for someone who has worked hard. I respect my rivals but it was always a fight between the Conservatives and Labour.

"It's a great burden of responsibility as I have to show the people who voted for me that their vote was not wasted and I can return that trust they've shown in me.”

Mr Turmaine said he was “personally disappointed” but felt the party’s improvement from third in the 2010 General Election showed the progress Labour was making in Watford.

He added: “I think it’s significant [to beat Mrs Thornhill]. I’m pleased we’ve made progress and have put ourselves on a trajectory to do better in the future.”

Mrs Thornhill said her campaign, “decimated” by voter fear, would "hold up as one of the best in the country" given the collapse of the Lib Dems nationally.

She said: “Labour supporters were moving back to them because they feared a right-wing Tory majority and the Conservatives were fearing Ed Miliband in the pocket of the SNP, so we were decimated in the middle. That’s politics."

Mrs Thornhill added that she feared the General Election result will have “devastating” consequences locally and is expecting “to lose some good councillors” when the council results are announced later.

The turnout in the Watford parliamentary seat was 67.4 percent.

To relive the election counts from around south west Hertfordshire as they happened in the WO's live blog, click here.

The Observer will update the blog with the borough council election results as and when we get them later today.

Watford result:

Harrington (Cons) 24,400 - WINNER

Turmaine (Lab) 14,606

Thornhill (Lib Dem) 10,152

Lincoln (UKIP) 5,481

Cottrell-Boyce (Green) 1,332

O'Connor (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) 178