Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron retained his Westmorland and Lonsdale seat by just 777 votes after a recount.

Mr Farron saw his majority cut by 8,172 ahead of Conservative James Airey.

A recount was called at around 4am and it took about an hour before the result was called.

Mr Farron made a last-minute arrival at the count following two hours of drama, which included a rechecking of all ballot paper bundles.

Mr Airey secured 22,909 votes to Mr Farron's 23,686 votes.

Labour's candidate, 18-year-old student Eli Aldridge, secured 4,783 votes.

Doncaster stand-up comedian Paul Ellis, 46, who conducted his election campaign as the independent candidate Mr Fishfinger, won 309 votes.

Mr Farron said he was delighted with the win, although he had never been complacent that victory would be his without a fight.

"I've always said I'm Westmorland's man in Westminster and not Westminster's man in Westmorland and that's the way it will stay.

"I am astonishingly proud that I will continue to be able to represent Westmorland and Lonsdale."

At 77.97 per cent, the turnout was higher than the last three general elections in the constituency.

There was speculation that a surge in young voters heading to the polls for the first time had boosted already high voting numbers.

Mr Airey said he had enjoyed the campaign and the response he received on the doorsteps.

Voters in the constituency had been able to choose from three strong candidates, he added.

Mr Airey said: "We think young people came out in strong numbers at this election which is reflected in a fantastic turnout.

"This has been an absolutely top class campaign."

Mr Aldridge was the country's youngest parliamentary candidate.

He said he was privileged to stand for the party in the area he has grown up in.

Galvanised into joining the party after the 2015 General Election, he said Labour was offering young people hope.

"I've had such a lot of support on the doorstep and young people have been inspired to vote for the first time because Labour is not taking them for granted like the other parties.

"I don't think we have seen anything like this in this country before."

With just hours to spare until his A-level politics exam at Kendal's Queen Katherine School, Mr Aldridge added: "I'm so proud to live here, I jumped at the chance to represent this area for the party I've been involved in for the past few years."

He was supported at the count by former government minister Hazel Blears.

Mr Ellis, 46, conducted his election campaign as the independent candidate Mr Fish Finger.

An internet poll allegedly asked more than 1,000 people who would they rather lead them – Mr Farron, or a fish finger.

Those behind the poll claim 99 per cent voted for the breaded fish.

An online crowdfunding site was set up to raise the £500 fee to register a candidate.

Mr Ellis said: "It started off with a tweet that went viral and I just thought yes, I'm going to do it.

"Any money left over from the deposit will be going to local charities."