The Conservatives have held-on to the seat of Southend West in a parliamentary by-election prompted by the death of Sir David Amess.
The election was not contested by Labour, the Liberal Democrats or the Greens, winning 12,792 votes in a contest that saw a low turnout of 24 per cent.
There was a significant number of spoilt ballot papers, 1,084.
Some were reporting from the count that many ballot papers had messages written on them in large letters including “Get Boris Out” in response to the ongoing Downing Street parties.
In the December 2019 general election, when all the main parties stood, Sir David had a majority of 14,459 – securing 59.2% on a turnout of 67.4%.
Labour came second with 28.1%; the Lib Dems were third with 11.4%.
In her victory speech, Ms Firth paid tribute to Sir David, who had represented the seat for 24 years, describing him as a “truly exceptional MP”.
The barrister from Leigh-on-Sea vowed to “work tirelessly to build on everything” achieved by him during his lengthy tenure.
“It is the honour of my life to represent the people of Southend West and the place where I was born,” she said.
“He was a friend to all and had a huge impact on everyone who lives here.
“For Sir David’s family and his friends… [this] will be a sad and painful day and I would like to pay tribute to Lady Amess and their children.
“We are thinking of you”.
Full by-election results:
• Anna Firth (Conservative Party) – 12,792 (86.10% of vote)
• Jason Pilley (Psychedelic Movement) – 512 (3.45%)
• Steve Laws (UKIP) – 400 (2.69%)
• Catherine Blaiklock (English Democrats) – 320 (2.15%)
• Jayda Fransen (Independent) – 299 (2.01%)
• Ben Downton (Heritage Party) – 236 (1.59%)
• Christopher Anderson (Freedom Alliance) – 161 (1.08%)
• Graham Moore (English Constitution Party) – 86 (0.58%)
• Olga Childs (Independent) – 52 (0.35%)
Turnout: 14,858 (24% of the electorate of 66,462, if spoilt ballot papers are added)