Sal Brinton has vowed to continue her campaign to represent Watford in Westminster, despite suffering the fourth General Election defeat of her political career.

Ms Brinton lost out to new Conservative MP Richard Harrington last week, five years after finishing second to then-Labour MP Claire Ward.

She had previously stood for election twice in South East Cambridgeshire.

However, Ms Brinton said the latest result was “frustratingly close” and promised to continue fighting for Watford.

“Personally I'm disappointed and disappointed for my team who did everything they could. We had always said locally we felt we ran the best campaign and our canvassing was showing us being ahead. It was just in the last couple of days the fear from traditional Labour and Tory voters about change [increased] and they retreated back a bit, particularly the Tories.”

“It was clear people were changing their mind in the polling station,” she added.

The Liberal Democrats came under fire for continually claiming on its party leaflets that the Conservatives “can't win here”, promoting the election as a clear choice between Ms Brinton and sitting Labour MP Claire Ward.

“It felt like a two-horse race to us,” she said, pointing to the number of seats the Liberal Democrats have won locally and the damage caused to the Conservative Party after its former prospective parliamentary candidate Ian Oakley admitted a campaign of harassment against his rivals.

“It was only in the last couple of days did we see this change. The level of literature, the amount of canvassing, the number of people on the doorstep who said we're the only people they have seen. It felt like other parties were sticking to safe areas.

Speaking about her previous election defeats, Ms Brinton said: “The first two times I had a young child and was not in a seat I thought I could win.

“I'm serious about winning Watford, that's why I moved here and it's still very very close.

“It's in my DNA and the party is in my DNA. The priority for the next few weeks is getting some energy back.”

Ms Brinton also welcomed the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

“I'm very encouraged by the fact there's a clear plan in place. That bodes well for a five-year coalition.

“It would have been good to have a sensible discussion with Labour but Labour didn't want to play and, therefore, it was a matter of looking at a strong, stable government for the next five years. It's also good we're getting Liberal Democrat policies out in government.”