Two weeks ago, he held back tears after finding out he had lost the Kingston and Surbiton parliamentary seat he had held since 1997.

But now, Ed Davey says not being an MP for the first time in 18 years may actually be for the best.

May 8: 'I wish I had a vote for all the people who told me I would be fine': Ed Davey defeated in Kingston and Surbiton

In his first full interview since losing the general election on May 7, the former energy secretary revealed he plans to stay in Surbiton, dismissed rumours of a London Mayoral campaign and gave his backing to Norman Lamb as the next Liberal Democrat leader.

Meeting at the Victoria pub in Surbiton, Davey is joined by his former campaign manager, Jonah Oliver, 19, who was a toddler when his boss first won the Kingston & Surbiton seat.

He will go on to study politics at Oxford University in September.

Davey said one of the hardest things after losing the election was laying off his staff.

"It’s not just me who has lost my job," he says. "It is also all of my staff who have worked so hard for me.

"It has been difficult letting them all go and clearing out my office in Westminster."

He said he was not worried about losing until 48 hours before election night, and even then he thought he might just make it.

He says: "I can’t say I thought I was going to lose because I didn’t.

"When I was knocking on doors I found a lot of people wanting to vote for me but not my party and that was worrying."

He echoed the same lines as coleague Vince Cable as to why he lost.

May 11: Vince Cable speaks for the first time since losing election

Mr Davey said: "The Conservatives ran a scare campaign which was effectively vote Labour or Liberal Democrat or Green or UKIP and get the SNP.

"We were accused of running a negative campaign by the Tories in Kingston but we never said anything that wasn’t true.

"Nationally the Conservative campaign was a scare tactic. Although don’t get me wrong it was obviously a very successful one."

Davey was the first Lib Dem secretary of state to lose his seat on election night but not the last.

By 5am Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Business Secretary Vince Cable in neighbouring Twickenham had both been ousted.

Mr Davey says he found out he had lost just after midnight, some three hours before he actually arrived at the count.

So what is it like to walk into a room and know you are about to lose the job you have had for almost two decades in the most public way possible?

"Obviously it was devastating," says Mr Davey.

"I think if I had been the only one to lose it would have been much worse. It was a devastating night nationally for us.

"An MP walks into a count knowing if they have won or lost. Jonah called me just after midnight saying the samples from the vote verifications showed it was not the result we wanted.

"I’ve walked into that room twice thinking I had lost. The first time was in 1997 when I had actually won by 56 votes after three recounts.

"After four acceptance speeches I finally had to make my defeated speech."

By Friday afternoon 49 Liberal Democrats had lost their seats, leaving the party with just eight MPs.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg resigned in the aftermath, sparking a leadership contest. Davey himself had once been tipped as a future party leader.

"I think it was the right decision for Nick and the party," says Davey. "Nick has been a very good leader but we took a hammering that night.

"The history books will judge Nick not just as a great Liberal leader but as a great politician."

When asked who he would support as the next Lib Dem leader Davey does not hesitate. "Norman Lamb," he says.

"He is one of my best friends in politics. Norman and I have worked together on lots of issues including mental health.

"His ideas are game changing. He has real vision."

Davey is also quick to rule out rumours he would be the Lib Dem's London Mayor candidate in 2016.

"It has been suggested but I can categorically deny I will be taking on that role," he says.

But he did not rule out running again against James Berry in 2020, or even standing in the local council elections in 2018, saying it was "simply too early to tell."

When asked about the future of the country under a Conservative government, Davey looked forlorn.

"We have lost the Liberal voice in government and it is very scary," he says. "I don’t regret going into the coalition but it obviously hurt us politically. We had to make sacrifices but so did the Conservatives and they won’t have to now."

The future of the borough was also a concern, he said.

"I don’t know James Berry well and I don’t know how he is going to treat some of the key issues we have in Kingston," he says.

"One of the things that attracted me most about the Liberal Democrats was their environmental policy.

"I have long been against a third runway in Heathrow and we have a Conservative MP in North Kingston saying he will force a byelection if the Conservatives try and put that plan in place.

"It will be very interesting to see what happens."

When asked if he would support Zac Goldsmith, who achieved an almost 23,000 majority, in his anti-Heathrow efforts Mr Davey laughs.

"Well I’d obviously support the Liberal Democrat candidate. But I certainly wouldn’t run against Zac."

Nevertheless, spending time with his children has put him in a far happier and more reflective mood than that night two weeks ago.

He now admits that losing his seat might have been the "best thing" in terms of looking after his 15-month-old-daughter Ellie and seven-year-old son John, who is disabled.

"It has been wonderful spending more time with them but I will have to find a job soon. I have to put food on the table," he says.

"I have a son who will probably never be able to work and I have to think about getting some money together for him so he will have a secure future."

That future, for now at least, remains in Surbiton, his home for the past 20 years.

"Surbiton is a wonderful place to live. I have enjoyed my time here as an MP and I am extremely proud of everything we achieved in Kingston.

"I certainly don’t intend to leave the borough."