Stephen Hammond believes the UK is facing a tough future with the Conservatives failing to gain a majority on a momentous General Election night.
The former transport minister retained his Wimbledon seat for the second time but this was a rare positive for the Conservatives who suffered unexpected losses nationwide.
Hammond gave his acceptance speech in the early hours of the morning but it was already clear from the early swing seats that a shock was on the cards.
“The country is going to face a difficult time, it’s not yet clear how a government is going to be formed, we have to wait and see what the end result is,” said Hammond.
“It may well be possible that the government will be formed tomorrow but it may well be that it’s not, and it’s clearly not what everybody was expecting.
“So firstly the results are different from expected and then we’ve also got to look at what might be possible tomorrow.
“Clearly the Conservatives wanted a mandate tonight so that they could ensure that Brexit negotiations would get the best for Britain.
“It doesn’t look at this stage as though that mandate has been given by the country and therefore obviously we’re going to have to live with what those results bring later on, and how that leaves the country.
“Clearly this is going to be an uncertain time as a government is formed.”
Hammond won 46.5% of the Wimbledon vote, reducing his previous 12,619 majority to 5,622 as Labour increased from 26% to 35.6%.
The Conservative politician has been MP for Wimbledon since 2005, but saw his majority drastically reduced despite his main challenger, Labour’s Imran Uddin, facing an investigation for ‘dishonesty’ by legal authorities.
Mr Uddin, councillor for St Helier ward, was selected to fight the Tory-held seat in early May but Wimbledon Labour Party said it was ‘disappointed’ to learn of the investigation into its candidate’s law firm, the Crescent Law practice.
Mr Uddin said: “There was a resonance with the Labour party policies and manifesto and I think that shows you, if there’s a lesson for everyone it’s the fact that we do have significant problems in our society.
“There are a number of people in our society who are not represented and are feeling the pain of austerity.”
The Lib Dem’s fared better than in 2015, winning 14.5% of the vote, up from 12.7% – whilst the Greens fell from 4.1% to 2.4%.
UKIP also turned in poor results in Wimbledon where turnout followed the national trend to increase to 77.3%, up from 73.5% in 2015.
Mr Hammond, who lost his post as transport minister in a cabinet reshuffle in 2014, spoke of his delight at retaining his seat and of his intention to protect EU citizen’s rights throughout Brexit negotiations.
“I hope EU citizen’s rights will be embedded in UK law, it would be ideal to have them supported by treaty again.
“I make the promise I made before, I’ve spoken to David Davis and I’ve spoken to the prime minister about it.
“There was all this scaremongering about it but that’s the reality, it’s been said at the despatch box, that is what the government intends to do.
“It’s been an honour to be the MP for Wimbledon for the last 12 years and it will be a privilege to serve again as the MP for the next five years.
“I am of course delighted with the result tonight and I know that results come from not one person but a team.”