THE runner-up in the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner poll said the voting patterns show people have lost faith in the Liberal Democrats.

Tim Starkey quit the party last year in protest at their policies since forming a coalition with the Conservatives at the last General Election.

The Chalfont St Giles resident defected to Labour and this week finished second behind Tory Anthony Stansfeld at the polls.

But he took a swipe at the party he used to be a member of, saying voters felt let down by Nick Clegg's party.

The Lib Dems' John Orrell Howson finished fourth in the Police and Crime Commissioner poll, behind Independent candidate Geoff Howard.

When asked if this was a reflection of future voting patterns at county council and General Election level, Mr Starkey said: "I think so, yes. There are a number of areas, such as Reading, where Labour were a long way ahead of the Conservatives, which indicates there's a loss of confidence in the coalition government.

"The Lib Dem vote collapsed in Wycombe from a very strong second. That will be reflected in the county council elections next year and maybe the General Election beyond that.

"Places like Reading and Milton Keynes will be going from the Conservatives.

"The Lib Dem vote has vanished. A lot of people like me feel let down by what they have done in government. People feel very disappointed."

But Wycombe's Lib Dem leader, Cllr Trevor Snaith, disagreed with Mr Starkey's comments.

He said: "It's not a reflection of Wycombe, it's a reflection of the whole area.

"It's what we expected in this area. It's a Conservative area and the other parties have to work very hard at getting their voters out.

"At county council elections people vote based on known people that they see in the area. They vote at county and district on the quality of the candidate and how good a job they do locally. There's a major difference."

Turnout for the vote was just 13.5 per cent in South Bucks, with Cllr Snaith saying only 25 people turned up to cast their vote at the Wycombe Marsh polling station he was at from 7-10pm.

The Ryemead ward councillor said: "The turnout wasn't unsurprising. There hasn't been the usual mailout you get to promote the party from the centre. The government have had a horror show by not doing the mailout of candidate literature.

"We, locally, took literature out to people so they had stuff from our candidate - that didn't happen across the whole of the police area. I'm disappointed the government didn't spend the time and effort they should have done promoting the candidates."

Reflecting on the result Mr Starkey, who stood as a Parliamentary candidate in the Chesham and Amersham ward as a Lib Dem in 2010, said: "We made a big effort but didn't quite have enough.

"We made a big advance forward - going back to the General Election we were third in the area with 17 per cent of the vote."