General election 2010: Heath sees off Rees-Mogg in Somerton and Frome

By Sasjkia Otto

Liberal Democrat Commons spokesman David Heath has held off an extremely strong challenge from his Conservative opponent in Somerton and Frome.

Mr Heath defended the seat with a one per cent swing from Conservative Annunziata Rees-Mogg, the daughter of a former Times editor and sister of the Conservative candidate for the neighbouring North East Somerset seat.

The seat, which has been a tight marginal for years, saw the Lib Dems get 48% and Conservatives 45% of the vote. Mr Heath finishes the night with a 1,817 vote majority – the party’s first four-figure win since it ousted the Conservatives in 1997.

Somerton and Frome was Conservative from 1983 to1997 and has been Liberal Democrat since, though the past three elections have all seen victories by just three figures.

The seat has been Lib Dem since 1997 but the past three elections have seen victories of just three figures. From just 130 votes in 1997 Lib Dem David Heath went on to majorities of 668 and 812 in 2001 and 2005 respectively.