THE BLUSHES of Iain Duncan Smith were very much saved as he clinched onto his Chingford and Woodford Green stronghold.

Rumour of a political upset that would have dwarfed Nick Clegg’s ousting began spreading late on Thursday as reports suggested the north-east London seat was “too close to call”.

A high turnout of 71.4 per cent – the highest seen in Chingford since Mr Duncan Smith became MP 25 years ago in 1992 – suggested further uncertainty.

The former Tory leader arrived after 1am decidedly downbeat saying he had “nothing to say”.

Little over two hours later, Mr Duncan Smith, standing next to a buoyant Bilal Mahmood for Labour, Sinead King for the Greens and Lib Dem Deborah Unger, took to the stage to await their fate.

But no upsets were in store as Mr Duncan Smith won, his 2015 majority cut from 8,386 to 2,440 votes with a 7 per cent swing from the Tories to Labour.

The Tory came in with 23,076 votes while Mr Mahmood achieved 20,636 votes for Labour.

The Liberal Democrats managed 2,043 votes and The Greens finished off with 1,204 votes.

Puffing his cheeks on return to his Tory team, a relieved Mr Duncan Smith said: “They threw everything at us but we came through.”

In his winning speech, his thoughts turned to the dreadful terror attacks in London and Manchester.

He said: “This election has been fought in the shadow of two violent terrible atrocities in Manchester and here in London.

“Whatever the results of this election here or across the country, the reality is that those attacks were directly aimed at our liberal values and our freedoms.

“Our hearts go out to all of those who have suffered and died and families who are still worried about those who may not make it.

“There is one thing I want to pledge tonight, which is no matter what political parties you are in, we will stand together in one sense – we deny and defy those who destroy our democracy and our values.

“I pledge to serve Chingford and Woodford Green once again, they are a great people and a fantastic area, it’s a privilege.”