Lib Dem winner Richard Ford’s victory speech in full
Here is the victory speech from Richard Foord, the newly elected Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton:
Thank you. I’d like to thank the Returning Officer, her staff and my fellow candidates for a well run election and count. To my wife Kate, and our three wonderful children – thank you. I couldn’t have done this without your love.
I’d like to thank my election agent Simon Drage, my incredible campaign team, the local party members and Liberal Democrat supporters here in Tiverton & Honiton, and the thousands of Liberal Democrat campaigners from across the country who came to volunteer with me here in Devon.
Your extraordinary efforts have delivered a historic result and sent a shockwave through British politics. Tonight, the people of Tiverton & Honiton have spoken for Britain. They’ve sent a loud and clear message: It’s time for Boris Johnson to go. And go now.
Ours is a great country and there’s no greater part of it than Devon. But every day Boris Johnson clings to office, he brings further shame, chaos and neglect. Communities like ours are on their knees. Every one of us standing on this stage tonight has heard the pain people are suffering as the cost of living crisis starts to bite.
Yet when Boris Johnson could be fighting for farmers, for our NHS and for rural services, he’ll be fighting once again to save his own skin. I also have a simple message for those Conservative MPs propping up this failing Prime Minister: The Liberal Democrats are coming.
If you don’t take action to restore decency, respect and British values to Downing Street, you too will face election defeats like the one we have seen here tonight. It is time to do what’s right for our country. You know in your heart that your leader is not the person to lead this great nation into the future.
Across the country, the Liberal Democrats are taking on the Conservatives and winning. Thousands of lifelong Conservative voters, appalled by Boris Johnson’s lies and fed up with being taken for granted.
Thousands of labor voters, choosing to lend their votes to the candidate with the best chance of beating the Conservatives. Thousands of people who believe our politics should be about building a better life for everyone, not a daily parade of self-serving chaos. All of them, voting for the Liberal Democrats.
These are difficult times for our country. The cost of living crisis – as we know here in Devon – is hitting hard: people forced to choose between filling up their car, or putting food on the table.
Our local NHS is teetering on the brink. Our rural economy is in a precarious state with people’s livelihoods at risk. Our country is crying out for leadership.
I served as an officer in the British Army for 10 years Mr Johnson. I can tell you that leadership means acting with decency and integrity. It means keeping your word. It means setting an example and putting other people’s needs before your own. I served alongside friends who personified these values, and laid down their lives in service of their country.
And yet your behavior Mr Johnson, makes a mockery of leadership. By any measure, you are unfit to lead. The people of Tiverton & Honiton have told you tonight that enough is enough. They demand a change. The only decent course of action left open to you is to heed their call and resign.
I want to pay tribute to Ed Davey. Ed, thanks to you the Liberal Democrats are taking on Boris Johnson across the blue wall and winning. From Chesham & Amersham to North Shropshire to here in Tiverton & Honiton.
You believed from the start that this result was possible. You rallied our troops and led from the front. Whether it is on the streets of Seaton or Bampton, Honiton or Branscombe, Axminster or Tiverton, you have led the charge for change.
But finally, and most importantly of all, thank you to the people of Tiverton & Honiton, and everyone in our part of Devon. For your support throughout this campaign. For putting your faith in me to be your champion in Parliament.
As your local MP, I promise I will work tirelessly for you. I will always put local people and our communities first. Whether you supported me or supported someone else, I want to let you know, I’m here to represent you and to stand up for everyone in Tiverton & Honiton. I will never take you for granted.