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GP candidates standing in the general election had mixed fortunes at the ballot box.

Following the tradition set by former consultant Dr Richard Taylor, two GPs campaigning to save local hospitals fared the best of the independent candidates.

Dr Kieran Deeny, who already holds a seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly, garnered nearly 12,000 votes in West Tyrone, just 5,000 short of the winning Sinn Fein candidate.

And in Cheltenham, GP registrar Dr Robert Hodges won 2,651 votes.

In Manchester Withington, Dr Ivan Benett was involved in one of the biggest shocks of the night as the Liberal Democrats overturned an 11,500 Labour majority.

Dr Benett, who campaigned on a mix of Pulse's manifesto for GPs and an anti-privatisation agenda, won 243 votes, putting him sixth of the eight candidates.

'It was certainly worth standing to allow people to have the choice,' he said.

'What I was most pleased about was the support from medics across the country.'

Elsewhere, Dr Marimutu Velmurigan gained 745 votes standing as an independent candidate in Southend.

Of the GPs defending seats, Dr Liam Fox and Dr Howard Stoate were both re-elected ­ though Labour's Dr Stoate had a much reduced majority.

Dr Fiona Kemp, a GP standing for the Conservatives in the Truro and St Austell constituency, cut her Liberal Democrat opponent's majority but her swing of 0.8 per cent was not enough.

She said: 'I've loved what I've done and I don't regret a thing. I've developed a tougher skin and I've learnt more about people's non-medical problems.'

Dr Ian Mack, Liberal Democrat candidate for Norfolk South, failed to dent the standing Conservative MP's majority. He said: 'It was extremely frustrating ­ I put in a lot of time and effort. It'll be nice to go back to a job where people trust you.'

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