SIR PHILIP Davies has told of his "bitter disappointment" at losing his Shipley seat after nearly two decades following yesterday's General Election - and said he was beaten by the "better candidate".

Labour's Anna Dixon took the constituency from Tory Sir Philip with a majority of 8,603.

Sir Keir Starmer will be the new Prime Minister after Labour won the General Election in a landslide victory.

After 14 years, the Conservatives lost power in a catastrophic defeat.

Labour's Anna Dixon, Shipley's new MPLabour's Anna Dixon, Shipley's new MP (Image: Submitted)

Mr Davies, who had represented Shipley since the 2005 General Election, said the Tories were "damaged so much" by Liz Truss's premiership and also described the Covid lockdowns as "economically and politically disastrous"

He also said Rishi Sunak "made a mistake" by calling a July General Election.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus after his defeat, Mr Davies said: "I'm bitterly disappointed. 

"I take full responsibility for my defeat - I'm not going to blame anybody else.

"This was my defeat.

"I lost to the better candidate.

"I congratulate Anna Dixon - she fought a very effective, energetic, fair campaign. 

"She deserved to win - and I wish her well.

"She's got the makings of a very good local MP.

"I thank the Shipley Conservative Association, all the other Bradford MPs I've had the pleasure of working with over the years, and I'm obviously incredibly grateful for the people of Shipley constituency who elected me to represent them in Parliament in elections since 2015.

"I can't overstate how grateful I am for that opportunity - being Shipley MP has been the best job in the world."

'Reform UK gained massive impetus'

Asked why he thought he lost his seat, Mr Davies said: "I've always been a slightly Marmite character - some people have always loved me, some people have always hated me.

"Obviously I've made a huge number of mistakes along the way, but I've also enjoyed a huge number of successes."

He also said the Conservative Party nationally had endured such a "bad" night partly due to the Covid lockdowns, describing them as "economically and politically disastrous", and he also criticised Liz Truss's tumultuous 44 days as Prime Minister.

"That period damaged our brand so much," he added.

He said he thought Rishi Sunak did a "brilliant job" as Prime Minister after coming to power in "incredibly difficult circumstances".

"He made a mistake by calling the election when he did, though," he added.

"If he'd waited until November, (Reform UK leader) Nigel Farage would have been in America with Donald Trump and he wouldn't have been a factor in the election in the UK.

"Reform UK gained massive impetus and that damaged us."

Shipley's Reform UK candidate, Simon Dandy, clinched 7,238 votes.

Mr Davies said he was "ecstatic" for Tory colleague Robbie Moore, who kept his Keighley and Ilkley seat.

Mr Davies also congratulated his wife, Esther McVey, who was re-elected to the Tatton constituency in Cheshire. 

Bet winnings 'of no consolation at all'

Mr Davies said he wished Mr Starmer and the new Labour Government "all the luck in the world".

"We all want the best for our country," he added.

"However, I fear they'll make some terrible decisions.

"I worry they'll put up people's taxes."

He urged the Conservative Party to "unite" in a bid to win future elections. 

Mr Davies, who placed a bet that he would lose his seat, said: "My modest winnings from that are of no consolation at all."

Asked what is next for him, Mr Davies said: "I don't expect anyone to have any sympathy for me - I don't deserve any sympathy - but I've now got to go through the unpleasant task of laying off my staff.

"They certainly don't deserve to lose their jobs, even if I do.

"I've told Anna that if I can do anything to help her as she begins her time as Shipley MP, then I will do.

"I now need to go and clear my desk."

Ms Dixon thanked Mr Davies and the other candidates for a "respectful campaign".

"For everyone in Shipley - those who voted for me, those who voted differently, and those who didn't vote - I promise to represent you all and be your voice in Parliament," she added.