Justice secretary Elizabeth Truss has been re-elected as MP for South West Norfolk, but wasn’t there to see her result declared.
Ms Truss did attend the count at Lynnsport briefly in the early hours of this morning, but left shortly before the result was declared at around 4am.
Conservative election agent Ian Sherwood, who spoke on her behalf when the result was announced, said: “Unfortunately Elizabeth has been taken unwell. She did come to the count earlier but has been unwell and has been advised to seek medical assistance.
“It would appear she has a virus. We’re really sorry she’s not here.”
He said Ms Truss had spoken to the other candidates who were present before leaving and thanked both Tory activists and election staff for their work.
Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Gordon was also not present due to illness.
Despite her absence, Ms Truss increased her majority to more than 18,000 over Labour’s Peter Smith with UKIP’s David Williams third, ahead of Mr Gordon.
Mr Smith said his party had enjoyed a “fantastic campaign.”
He added: “Here in West Norfolk, the Labour party is really back with a bang and I’d say this even if Liz was here. We are coming after you. The next election will be even closer. We’ve moved to second here. We’re after you again.”
Mr Williams suggested the results across the country might mean another election could take place as soon as this autumn.
He said: “UKIP does seem to be like a rising tide. The next tide might be a tsunami the same as it was in 2015.
“We’ll still be here and people like me will still be challenging Labour and the Conservatives.”
Turnout was up from the last election two years ago at 68 per cent.
Full results: Elizabeth Truss (Conservative) 32,894 votes; Peter Smith (Labour) 14,582; David Williams (UKIP) 2,575; Stephen Gordon (Liberal Democrat) 2,365.