AFTER a tough battle in the Vale of Clwyd, Labour held onto the seat which came as a shock defeat for the Tories who were confident the key marginal would swing in their favour.

The Conservative candidate Matt Wright (pictured right) was unable to oust Chris Ruane (pictured left) and said the defeat came as 'quite a surprise.'

Support for the Tories was high at the election count in Denbigh Leisure Centre on Thursday night and many expected Mr Wright would be victorious at this election after losing out by only 92 votes to Labour in the last Welsh Assembly Government election.

As the voting papers piled up both parties said it looked a very close call but in the early hours of the morning it looked as though Mr Ruane had gained slightly more votes.

The returning officer Mohammed Mehmet announced Labour had pipped the Conservatives to the post by 2,509 votes.

Compared to the 2005 general election Labour gained 145 votes in the Vale of Clwyd and the Conservatives gained 2,302.

Mr Ruane said it was the most efficient count he had attended and paid tribute to the Vale of Clwyd who he labelled the best electorate in the UK and Wales.

"To come out of one of the worst recessions since the 1930s and have an increased number of people voting for myself is a good result for myself and for Labour,” he said.

"It was a big achievement and it does show what you can do with a good campaign team behind you,” he added.

Mr Wright said it was a clear win for Labour and paid tribute to his campaign team but said 'the support was just not quite enough.'

Plaid candidate Mrs Jones said: "We have been squeezed out of this UK general election but I think we can hold our heads up high."

Mr Penlington said for a small branch he felt the Lib Dems had gained a good result.

BNP candidate Mr Si'ree said: "It was not a good as we would have liked but we will keep on trying."

Mr Ruane said now his main focus is employment in the area.