FORMER Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow has wished Gideon Amos well as he prepares to take his place in the House of Commons.

Ms Pow was first elected as the area's Conservative MP in 2015 and kept her seat for nine years. She also held several roles in government, most recently as the Minister for Nature in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

But she was unseated in Thursday's general election by Mr Amos, a Liberal Democrat who beat her by almost 12,000 votes to become the parliamentary representative for the new Taunton and Wellington constituency.

That was his third attempt: he previously stood against Ms Pow in 2017 and 2019, when he reduced her majority by just over 4,000 votes.

Last night, Ms Pow posted on X (formerly Twitter) to “say a few words” after a “little bit of much-needed sleep”.

She wrote: “Representing Taunton Deane and later Taunton and Wellington in Parliament has been an immense privilege.

“Becoming an MP is no small feat, and I have the utmost respect for anyone who takes on this responsibility.

“I am deeply proud to have served as the MP for the area where I live.

“This election presented formidable challenges, but I was determined to face them head-on. I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported me since 2015.

“I am forever indebted to my dedicated team, loyal supporters, hardworking volunteers, and each individual who cast their vote for me in 2015, 2017, 2019, and in this election.

“I also wish to extend my best wishes to Gideon Amos and his family as he takes on this new role.

“My team and I leave knowing that we have done all that we could to have made a difference locally working with so many local stakeholders.

“I am also proud to have had the honour of serving in Government, initially as the Arts, Heritage and Culture Minister and for the last five years as the Environment Minister responsible for delivering the Environment Act and Plan for Water, setting us on a sustainable trajectory for future, which is so critical for future generations.

“This is an area that I will always champion.”

After he was voted in, Mr Amos said: “It is the greatest privilege of my life to be elected to represent the Taunton and Wellington area in Parliament - the eighth Liberal ever to do so.

“To those who voted for me - thank you - I’m delighted to have seen support from right across our local community.

“To those who voted for others, I will work as hard as I can to earn your trust.

“Care and the NHS will stay top of the list as will help with the cost of living and cleaning up our rivers and our environment.”