LLOYD Russell-Moyle launched into an explosive speech as he retained his seat with a slightly reduced majority.

After a night of high drama following a “shocking” exit poll, the Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown was re-elected – but

with about 3,000 fewer votes than in 2017.

In a fiery winning speech – which received cheers and boos from the crowd – he said the Conservatives wanted to “break up the country” and pledged to “fight them in the streets”.

Earlier in the night, as Labour strongholds across the country fell to the Tories, a tearful Mr Russell-Moyle, watching the national picture unfold on a Brighton Centre TV screen, admitted his party “did not make a strong enough case to the public”.

At about 3.40am, returning officer Geoff Raw announced the results for the constituency which stretches from St James’s Street to the eastern edge of Peacehaven.

This time Lloyd Russell-Moyle received 25,033 votes for Labour with the Conservative Joe Miller, getting 16,972 votes.

Jubilant Labour activists cheered as the result was read out and a relieved Mr Russell-Moyle then made a passionate speech to the crowd.

He exclaimed: “The Conservative Party have an aim to break up our country, an aim to destroy our NHS, and we say no.

“We will fight them in the Parliament, we will fight them in the courts, we will fight them in the workplaces and we will fight them in the streets.

“They will not destroy our country.

“Thank you Kemptown.”

Before the outburst, Mr Russell-Moyle thanked the other “honorable” candidates for “wanting to change Kemptown for the better”.

He said: “I’m delighted that the people of Brighton Kemptown have seen sense tonight when it seems like the country hasn’t.

“Thank you to the many people who lent me their vote tactically – particularly Green Party and Liberal Democrat Party supporters.

“I will continue to push for electoral reforms so votes are fairly counted in this country.

“In this oasis of success here in Brighton Kemptown, it is a very dark day for our country.

“I believe very dangerous forces have taken over.”

Kemptown Conservatives had something to cheer about too.

They managed to reduce Mr Russell-Moyle’s majority by about 3,000 votes compared with 2017.

In that election, Conservative Simon Kirby, who held the seat since 2010, was booted out of the constituency.

At 10pm on Thursday night, the party’s candidate for this election, Joe Miller, seemed ecstatic as the exit poll, which predicted a 86-seat Conservative majority, was announced.

It seemed, for a short while at least, that Mr Miller might have done enough to take the seat back.

But as the night wore on it became increasingly clear that he had not done enough to overthrow Mr Russell-Moyle’s 10,000 majority.

And at about 1am, the Conservative chairman for Brighton Kemptown James Noble appeared to admit defeat as he pledged his party would “keep on fighting” for the “winnable seat” after this election.

Speaking after the result, Mr Miller said: “I thank all of those people that did vote for me.

“I’m pleased we reduced Lloyd’s majority and I think it’s a sign that the country is moving in the right direction now, even though Brighton Kemptown chose not to elect me as Conservative MP.

“I will continue fighting for the people of Kemptown and Peacehaven in my role as a councillor.

When asked why the huge national swing to the Conservatives was not replicated in the constituency, he said: “I think people voted tactically to get Lloyd in – which they are entitled to do.

“There were also some Conservative Remainers in the constituency who did not like Boris Johnson’s vision.”

Over the evening, a number of Conservatives told The Argus that the collapse of the Green vote cost them a chance of winning the seat.

Alexandra Phillips did not reach the five per cent threshold to retain her £500 deposit.

Leading local Green Party member Hannah Clare said tactical voting – people switching party allegiances in a bid to oust the Tories – had played a part “nationally and locally”.

Ms Phillips said: “It was difficult for us as Labour in the area were telling people that a vote for the Green Party was a vote for the Tories.

“But as we have seen in Brighton, that is not the case.

“I’m pleased that the city is Green and Labour and the Tories have not been let in.”

Graham Cushway, the Brexit

Party candidate, was disappointed in his party’s performance nationally.

Talking about his own performance, he said: “I was hoping for a little bit more, but what can you do?

“It’s a new party, we’ve only just started.

“I suppose after winning the European elections we were on a bit of a cruise, but things have got a bit slower.”

Mr Cushway was left unimpressed with Brighton Centre staff after his champagne bottle was taken away.

He had been enjoying a bottle of bubbly with fellow Brexit Party members.

“They said it’s licensed premises but the bar’s not open,” he said.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Brighton Kemptown Ben Thomas was looking slightly deflated as he entered the Brighton centre.

Mr Thomas did get his £500 deposit back but said the situation was “pretty grim”.