HOME Secretary Amber Rudd held onto her seat in parliament by a whisker after a tightly fought election between Labour and the Conservatives in Hastings and Rye.

Incumbent Ms Rudd was re-elected for a third time consecutively since 2010 but with a massively reduced majority, this time of just 346 votes.

Labour’s Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, hugely increased the party’s share of the vote, with 25,322 cast in comparison to Ms Rudd’s 25,668. In the last election Labour had 1,7890 votes.

The Home Secretary thanked her campaign team and expressed her dedication to fighting for the needs of the constituency before hastily leaving the count, declining interviews with journalists.

Mr Chowney said the result sent a strong message that people had called for change and described his performance as a victory in taking on a prominent cabinet politician and closing the gap between the two parties.

Nick Perry, standing for the Liberal Democrats for the third time, increased his share of the vote on his 2015 result with 1,479.

UKIP’s presence was very much reduced with Michael Phillips gaining 5,307 fewer votes than his counterpart in the last election.

Independent candidate Nicholas Wilson was voted for 412 times.

The Green Party chose not to stand in this constituency for this election.

The turnout of the vote for 70.05%, the highest the constituency has seen since 2005 with a total electorate of 78,298. There were 97 spoilt ballots and 12,025 postal votes cast.