Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has vowed to engage with local voters and find out why they dealt a bloody nose to the Tories in last week's council elections.

Across his constituency, the results were pretty grim for the Conservative Party.

In North Herts, the Lib Dems snatched Hitchin Priory from the Tories, while in Harpenden they seized Harpenden North and Rural ward, Harpenden East and Sandridge and Wheathampstead, only managing to hang on to Harpenden South.

Bim responded to the results: "To put it mildly, these elections did not go brilliantly for the Conservatives. Alongside our local candidates, I campaigned very hard across the area, in the towns of Hitchin, Harpenden and in the villages.

"The main thing I heard was disappointment about the Conservative Government's handling of some issues - like 'Partygate' or the sleazy behaviour of some MPs in Westminster -, as well as concern about the cost of living, interspersed with a recognition that we have been dealt - with Covid and Ukraine - one of the worst hands of any government in many decades.

"Many people told me that they were voting for other parties because they want to "send a message" or protest vote. I have heard them."

He has promised to act differently in response to the results: "I will redouble my efforts to speak to and spend time with as many constituents as possible.

"I love engaging with people and understanding what I and the Government need to do in order to take things forward in a better direction.

"I will also make sure I continue to raise your concerns at the highest levels – as vice chairman of the Conservative Party I am regularly in discussion with senior colleagues and I am in a position to do that.

"Finally - I will make sure that you see that the Conservative Party is still the One Nation, pro-enterprise, pro-growth, even-handed, decent party that I joined and love.

"I will make sure that we champion the great things about all regions of our country, including the highly productive and successful areas and sectors found in the south of England, and demonstrate that we are trying to level up not level down."