There has been a flurry of comments on the previous thread which has prompted me to make one last post before I go on holiday.
The big question I keep being asked is 'are you going to stay on?'
Now the question might relate to where I live, the subject of some unpleasant debate during the election campaign (constant references to me be being 'the Candidate from Windsor' were designed to give the impression that we lived here in some temporary capacity, or that we didn't live here at all...). Of course we have no intention of going anywhere else. We chose to move to Torbay like thousands of others because of the quality of life here, and the many wonderful people we have met and become friends with have only confirmed what a wise choice it was.
But the question may also relate to whether I intend to fight the seat again.
The suspicion amongst the political community has been that I would get a 'result' -but not win- in Torbay and toddle off to find a safe seat somewhere else - speculation that completely failed to take account of a very important fact, I am not a career politician.
I didn't even think about being a candidate until just after the 2001 election when the idea was put to me by the Windsor agent Jackie Porter. I have a perfectly successful (business) occupation which I enjoy very much. Politics has been my non-work interest - to a degree, my hobby- and remains so.
So the answer is ... it's not up to me. The Party is likely to introduce new rules regarding candidate selections and in any case the local party need to decide who they want to go with next time after some cool analysis and reflection on the May 5th outcome.
It has been a real honour and a fantastic experience to fight this seat. Local Lib Dems (and maybe one or two Conservatives, too) won't welcome the news - but I will remain (very) active in the Torbay Conservative party, one way or another.