June 23, 2015 10:02 AM

I am sure that, like myself and many others, you are incredibly disappointed by the national result which saw us reduced to just 8 MPs. After going into coalition we always knew this election was going to be difficult, but no-one predicted that the result was going to be quite so devastating.

Locally we fared much better and managed to buck the national trend. On Mid Devon District Council we increased from three to five councillors. Nick Way and John Downes were returned with big majorities in Boniface Ward (Crediton) and Bob Wright and Frank Letch won comfortably in a tight and hotly contested fight, in Lawrence Ward (Crediton). Luke Taylor, after just missing out in both 2007 and 2011, had a fantastic win in Bradninch amassing a majority of 250. On Teignbridge District Council our Chairman John Nutley also got elected, where he topped the poll in a three member ward.

As you may have already seen, the response to the General Election has been quite incredible. Over 12,000 new members have joined the Lib Dems since polling day. 51% are under the age of 35 and 82% have never been members before. This represents a huge opportunity for us, we need to harness and utilise this groundswell of active support to make sure this country has a Liberal voice.

Already, without the Liberal Democrats around the cabinet table, the Government has started lurching to the right. The new Justice Secretary has previously called for the return of hanging, the new Equalities Minister voted against equal marriage and the new Conservative Disabilities Minister voted against protecting the benefits of disabled children and those undergoing cancer treatment. The Snoopers' Charter is also back on the agenda, the Human Rights Act is under threat and we are sleepwalking towards an exit from the European Union.

Britain now needs a Liberal voice more than ever before. We have a bright future as a party and under new leadership we have the opportunity to start afresh, build our membership and hold the Government to account.