London has two new Liberal Democrat MPs - and a six point increase in vote share in the capital.
Munira Wilson (above right, pictured arriving for the count) won with a huge majority in Twickenham, where former Lib Dem leader Vince Cable was standing down, and Sarah Olney (left) unseated Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park and North Kingston.
They will join Ed Davey, re-elected in Kingston and Surbiton after doubling his majority, as London's Liberal Democrat representatives in the new Parliament.
But the increased vote share across did not translate into extra seats, leaving the Lib Dems with one London MP fewer than in 2017. Tom Brake, who has done so much to lead the fight to stop Brexit, was 629 votes short of retaining his seat in Carshalton and Wallington. Our newer colleagues Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Sam Gyimah, along with our leader Jo Swinson, will also not be returning to Parliament this time - and it will be a poorer place without them.
The results were hard on the Liberal Democrats on Friday, both in London and elsewhere.
We increased our share of the vote by four points compared to 2017, with a rise in every region of the country, including in London, but are left with one fewer MP overall, with 11 Liberal Democrats in the new parliamentary intake.
Westminster’s voting system is bankrupt. It’s time for proportional representation https://t.co/a7lGvwGhnI— Electoral Reform Society (@electoralreform) December 13, 2019
We know Munira and Sarah will join Ed in doing a great job representing their constituents and fighting for liberal values at a time when those values are needed more than ever. We will keep working hard to build liberal democracy and a fairer society at every level of government, and our MPs will hold Boris Johnson and his Conservative government to account on the promises made during the election campaign and the country's future after Brexit.
Siobhan Benita, Lib Dem spokesperson on London and our candidate for next year's mayoral election, said: "I know that for millions of people across London and the country as a whole, the future seems bleak right now. I've spent the past weeks zig-zagging London, having hundreds of conversations with voters. Countless people I spoke to were in despair at both the main parties. Preventing Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn from getting into Downing Street was their overriding objective. Faced with our first-past-the-post voting system and an onslaught of conflicting, often misleading, information about tactical voting, many people were unsure how to vote, even on the eve of poll.
"In what was clearly a disappointing result for the Liberal Democrats nationally, the London picture is far more positive. Our vote share in the capital is up by 6%, compared to decreases of 6% for Labour and 1% for the Tories. We unseated Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park and we've made significant inroads into what were previously Tory and Labour strongholds in both central and outer London. And this election has grown and galvanised our membership base, with thousands of new and active supporters reaching into areas where we've never been before. My best wishes go to candidates and their teams, not just to those who won but also to the many others who fought admirable campaigns and who did our democracy proud over the past weeks.
"As we look ahead to next year, it’s clear that our politics is still in need of a strong and liberal centre ground. I joined the Liberal Democrats to help build that and I look forward to running a mayoral campaign, which epitomises the kind, inclusive and exciting future that Londoners demand and deserve."
Many London seats saw significant increases in votes for the Liberal Democrats, in many cases with first time candidates standing.
The results gave us multiple very strong second places to install us as the clear challengers for the next election.
In Wimbledon, councillor Paul Kohler added more than 12,000 votes but missed out on winning from third place by just 628.
Monica Harding secured the country's biggest swing as she came within 2,743 votes of shocking Dominic Raab in Esher and Walton. And the biggest swing to the Lib Dems from Labour came in Streatham, where Helen Thompson secured a 17 point increase to finish in a strong second place.
In Hornsey & Wood Green Dawn Barnes secured 26% of the vote, while in Vauxhall Sarah Lewis improved on the 2017 result to take 21.3%. In Islington South & Finsbury Kate Pothalingam pushed our vote up against Emily Thornberry 7.9 points, while in Hampstead & Kilburn Matt Sanders achieved a 15.8 point increase to reach 22.9% and almost push the Tories into third place.
There were many other excellent achievements from first-time candidates such as Helen Cross in Brentford & Isleworth (+7.5%), Mark Gitsham in Battersea (+7.3%), Olly Glover in Tooting (+8.9%) and Andy Cregan (+7.7%) in Poplar & Limehouse.
Other areas to make good progress included the three Croydon seats, Greenwich & Woolwich, Eltham, Bethnal Green & Bow and the three Ealing seats - including Ealing Central & Acton, where the vote share leapt 11.7 points.
Attentions now turn to the May elections for London mayor and the assembly. Find out more about the campaign at www.siobhanbenita.com, where you can learn more about Siobhan, sign up for updates and volunteer to help.