FORMER Coalition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella has surrendered her seat and will not demand a recount.
She revealed in a statement that she had conceded the Victorian seat of Indi to independent Cathy McGowan.
Ms Mirabella has taken full responsibility for the loss after suffering a two-party-preferred swing of more than 9 per cent.
“Today I have contacted Cathy McGowan to congratulate her on her win in Indi and concede defeat,” she said.
“Representing the people of Indi in the Federal Parliament has been a high honour and a very special privilege.
“I want to thank the electors of Indi for their support over the last decade. They have enriched my life and that of my family and, together, we have achieved so much for our community.
“I also thank those who voted for the Liberal Party in this election and in the previous four elections in Indi.
“This election is over and the responsibility for the outcome is mine.
“Despite the closeness of the count I have decided not to seek a recount. I unreservedly accept the decision of the democratic process.”
The decision came as she trailed by 387 votes with little more than 1000 to be counted.
Ms Mirabella’s concession is both a personal blow to her as well as a blow to Liberal leader Tony Abbott.
She was considered an automatic selection in any Abbott Cabinet and had been a strident supporter of his leadership.
At the same time, the loss of the seat is a bitter blow to the Liberal Party and will spark further soul-searching about what went wrong.
Ms McGowan was backed by senior Nationals members in the north-east Victorian electorate amid anger over three cornered contests being waged in Victoria.
The dispute was linked to the Liberal decision to run in nearby Mallee against the Nationals despite the Nationals having held Mallee for many years.
However, senior Liberals have rejected this claim, arguing that Ms Mirabella had already been facing a contest from Ms McGowan.
Ms McGowan said she’ll have to “grow in the job” and thanked Ms Mirabella for her 12 years of service.
“My intention would be to be a really good local member and be able to represent the diversity of voices in Indi,” she said.