Philippa Stroud, the Conservative candidate who allegedly tried to “cure” gay people of demons, failed last night to win a seat.

Mrs Stroud was standing in Sutton and Cheam, a seat the Tories hoped to win.

But she came a close second to the Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Burstow. Mrs Stroud gained 42.2 per cent of the vote, compared to Mr Burstow’s 45.7 per cent.

She was accused in The Observer last weekend of having founded two churches that helped people who believed their homosexuality was caused by demonic possession and that it could be overcome through prayer.

The newspaper quoted testimony from a number of people who had claimed they had been helped by the churches and one person who worked for one of the churches.

As yet, Mrs Stroud has not answered the newspaper’s claims that she believes homosexuality is caused by demonic possession and that it can be cured.

Instead, she has only said that she does not believe being gay is an illness.

Mrs Stroud has been tipped as a Conservative high-flier. She was head of Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice, which claimed to have formed 200 Tory policies.

Earlier in the night, Peter Robinson’s loss in Belfast East caused a shock.

Mr Robinson, Northern Ireland’s first minister and the husband of shamed former MP Iris, lost his seat.

Mrs Robinson said several years ago she believed homosexuality was an abomination. She has been in hiding since it was revealed she had an affair with a 19-year-old man.