THE Conservative Party held their seat in the Upper Meon Valley by-election, but were pushed all the way by a strong showing from the Liberal Democrats.

Lewis North, candidate for the Lib Dems, received 905 votes, slashing the Tory majority from 882 to 124.

The swing to the Lib Dems from the Tories was over 20 per cent.

He said today: "People want something different. We manned a positive campaign and in a four week period, came close against an unassailable Tory majority.

"It just shows that Winchester is winnable for the Lib Dems. I'm really delighted and I'll probably have another crack in May. There are liberal people here that want a younger voice."

Tory candidate Hugh Lumby received 1,039 of the 2,014 votes that were cast.

The votes were counted at Upham Village Hall with the result declared at around midnight.

He will replace councillor Amber Tresahar, formerly councillor Thacker, who resigned from representing Upper Meon Valley on the Winchester City Council.

City councillor Martin Tod said today: "We are disappointed not to win. The huge swing of 21 per cent show more and more people want change.

"We had a great candidate and that helped but we spoke to a lot of people on the doorstep and there was more to it than that. There is frustration that just as the Tories are making a mess nationally they are making a mess locally."

For Labour June Kershaw polled 39 votes. The Green candidate Andrew Wainwright got 31.