FORMER Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan says a ‘new future beckons’ for her after failing to capture the new Melksham & Devizes seat in the 2024 General Election.

Miss Donelan was pictured hurriedly leaving the count at Trowbridge Civic Centre without commenting after the results were declared in the early hours of Friday morning.

But on Friday afternoon, she issued a statement on her social media page paying tribute to the winning candidate, Liberal Democrat Brian Mathew, her husband, her campaign team and the people who voted for her.

She said: “I want to begin this message by thanking my amazing campaign team, family and husband - each of them has worked their socks off and I am so incredibly grateful.

“I thank every resident who voted for me, but democracy means you can’t always win.

“My amazing staff have helped me to support so many constituents and I owe them a debt of gratitude at a time which is also very hard for them as they consider next steps.

“We hear so often people say that to have served is an honour or privilege, but I think in this case those phrases underestimate how I have felt about the last nine years.

“I have always served in a different way - not just waiting for people to come to me but seeking out those who need help. I am grateful for the opportunity to have helped so many people locally.

“I am happy that all the work I did as a Minister designing the world-leading Online Safety Act will have a long-lasting impact protecting our children and that I was able to establish the UK as the leader in AI safety and a technology and innovation hub.

“Since I can remember I have either wanted to be an MP, been actively trying to be an MP or been an MP - but now a new future beckons for me, and I want to congratulate Brian Mathew on securing the greatest role on earth.”

Mr Mathew secured the Melksham & Devizes constituency with 20,031 votes, compared to the 17,630 votes for Miss Donelan, representing the Conservative Party.

Reform UK candidate Malcolm Cupis damaged Miss Donelan’s hopes of winning the seat by securing 6,726 votes, while Kerry Postlewhite for Labour secured 4,587 votes and Catherine Read of the Green Party got 2,229 votes.

The turn-out was 69.96 per cent.