CONSERVATIVE Rebecca Harris managed to increase her majority despite a strong challenge from Ukip as she held onto Castle Point.

Mrs Harris has been re-elected as MP for Castle Point with an increased majority of almost 9,000 after a hard-fought campaign from Ukip’s Jamie Huntman.

Mr Huntman, who is Ukip’s leader on Essex County Council, attracted more than 14,000 votes after winning the backing of Canvey Island Independent Party, leaving Labour, the Lib Dems and the Green Party a distant third, fourth and fifth.

The anti-EU party, which did not contest the seat in 2010, poured money into the hotly-contested seat and colourful party leader Nigel Farage visited the constituency several times to support Mr Huntman’s campaign.

Echo: Cheers as Rebecca Harris is re-elected

But the Tories marshalled their deep-rooted power base to see off the challenge more easily than many predicted.

An emotional Mrs Harris said: “I feel very honoured to have increased my majority.

“I’ve got an enormous debt to the people of Castle Point and I have to honour that debt now.”