The election to replace Boris Johnson as MP for Henley has proved humiliating for the government, with Labour pushed into fifth place by the Greens and the BNP.
The result came on the first anniversary of Gordon Brown taking office as Prime Minister.
Mr Brown said:
“By-elections come and by-elections go and of course we will listen to what people say.
“I think people know that we are going through difficult times in the economy. It’s my job to steer us through these difficult times.”
The Tories comfortably retained the seat, taking 19,796 votes on a 50.5% turnout.
The Lib Dems, who had been hoping for a better showing in the Oxfordshire constituency, polled 9,680 or 27.5% of the votes, about the same percentage as 2005.
While the Lib Dems may have been disappointed, the Labour vote collapsed.
They were pushed from third in 2005 to fifth, behind the Greens on 1,321 and the BNP on 1,243.
The BNP, who are openly disparaging of gay rights, did not even contest Henley at the last general election.
Richard McKenzie, the Labour candidate, polled 1,066 or 3.07%.
In 2005 the party’s candidate polled 6,862 votes or 14.7%, on a 67.9% turnout.
Conservative leader David Cameron said it was significant that in a Tory/Lib Dem battle there had been a swing to his party.
“I think what we saw was people who voted for all sorts of different parties, including the Liberal Democrats, now looking at the Conservatives and saying: ‘Yes this is an alternative government that I can believe in,’” he told the BBC.
The size of the BNP vote in what is regarded as an affluent Tory seat has shocked political commentators.
The party won their first seat on the London Assembly on May 1st, when Mr Johnson was elected Mayor of London.
The BNP has previously told PinkNews.co.uk that homosexuality should not be promoted as equal to a straight lifestyle.
“The word gay means happy, we have no problem with being happy,” a spokesman said.
“Some unfortunate people suffer from homosexuality so we will just have to tolerate them.
“If I was one I would be ashamed and would remain celibate.”