DAVID Heath has retained the Somerton and Frome constituency for the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Heath, who had previously recorded a trio of narrow three-figure election victories, somewhat ''coasted'' to a 1,817 majority win over his Tory rival Annunziata Rees-Mogg.

The size of Mr Heath's fourth victory has come as something of a surprise with political pundits having predicted a much closer battle.

And Mr Heath quipped that he was hoping to have set a record by winning four successive elections with three-figure margins.

''I apologise for not having done that,'' he joked!

Mr Heath added: ''It was the most exciting, most exhilarating and most exhausting election campaign I have been in.

''Getting young people excited by politics in rural Somerset has left a lasting impression.''

Ms Rees-Mogg congratulated Mr Heath on his victory - although it will come as a major blow to the Tories at a national level.

''I hope that David will continue to fight for the people of Somerset,'' she said.

Labour candidate David Oakensen came third with 2,675 votes.

And he joked: ''I'm glad to see socialism is alive and well in Somerset - although you wouldn't be able to say it is flourishing!

''But congratulations to Mr Heath. He has been a tremendous MP and is a worthy winner.''

Barry Harding came fourth with 1,932 for the UK Independence Party, while Niall Warry, of the Independent Leave-the-EU-Alliance, trailed in last place with just 236 votes.

A total of 60,690 votes were cast in the Somerton and Frome constituency with Mr Heath claiming 47.44 per cent of the vote.