TWICKENHAM'S Vince Cable retained his seat with a whopping 12,000 majority.

The popular Lib Dem saw off competition from Conservative hopeful Deborah Thomas, who surprised many to take more than 20,000 votes.

Dr Cable, who has held the seat since 1997, used his acceptance speech to thank his campaign team, and acknowledged his role in his party's national campaign, which some locals have criticised him for.

"I've been working across the country for my party but what really matters if the constituency I represent," he said.

Ms Thomas thanked her opponent for some "good, clean jousting" and congratulated Dr Cable on his victory. Her colleague, Zac Goldsmith, said he hoped she would return to fight the seat again and that he looked forward to seeing her in parliament one day.

Dr Cable and Mr Goldsmith proved a draw for the national media, who were out in force, and dozens of photographers were waiting for his arrival, shortly before the declaration.

The results were revealed at about 5.45am, minutes before the Richmond Park results were read out, but the celebrations were on hold, as Dr Cable was drafted in to help his party make a decision about teaming up with Labour or the Conservatives to form a government.

Speaking to the Chronicle's sister paper the Richmond Informer on Monday, he refused to be drawn on whether he was looking to take a cabinet seat and said he was committed to serving Twickenham. "It is touching when you receive such a large vote of confidence from your constituency," he said. "I will continue to be an energetic MP, heavily involved in Twickenham."

He went on to express his regret at his colleagues loosing control of Richmond Council. "What was unfortunate was that the councillors were basically victims of the local election being on the same day as the parliamentary election," referring to the swing to the Conservatives in the Richmond Park wards.

Paul Armstrong, The Magna Carta Party 40
Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat 32,483
Harry Cole, Citizens for undead rights and equality 76
Brian Gilbert, UKIP 868
Chris Hurst, BNP 654
Steve Roest, Green 674
Deborah Thomas, Conservative 20,343
Brian Tomlinson, Labour 4,583
Spoilt votes 125
Turnout 75 %