CLIVE Efford has held his seat in Eltham, amid allegations of dirty tactics and "malignant evil".

The Labour candidate got 17,416 votes, finishing ahead of Conservative candidate David Gold, who got 15,753 votes.

Mr Efford said afterwards: "It's been a long campaign and it's a relief that it's over and that the people of Eltham have put their faith in me.

"I'm passionate about the area in which I live and to be elected to represent them in this way is a great honour."

He was also highly critical of the freezing cold count conditions, saying: "The staff have derved medals for enduring these conditions.

"I'm sure if they'd walked out on health and safety grounds that they would have had some justification."

Mr Gold said afterwards: "I think our vote went up significantly and in ordinary circumstances that would have been enough to swing it."

But he claimed part of the loss was down to the Eltham Labour party sending out leaflets "dressed up as housing news", telling council tenant their rents would rise under the Tories and leaving residents "in despair".

He said: "Whilst I have great respect for Clive personally, I do think that it's a hollow victory when you use that sort of tactic to cling on to power."

Liberal Democrat Steven Toole finished third with 5,299 votes and BNP candidate Roberta Woods got 1,745 votes.

UKIP candidate Ray Adams got 1,011 votes, finishing ahead of Green candidate Arthur Hayles, who received 419 votes.

Mike Tibby, standing for the English Democrats, got 217 votes, while Independent candidate Andrew Graham finished last with 104 votes.

Instead of the usual thank you speeches, Mr Graham launched a scathing attack on Mr Efford calling him a "malignant evil" and accusing him of "hypocrisy and humbug" while being booed off stage.

Mr Efford's majority is 1,663 votes and the voter turnout was 67 per cent.