Ousted Twickenham MP Vince Cable fears the Conservatives will "press ahead" with Heathrow expansion, in his first interview since losing his seat.

Speaking exclusively to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, Dr Cable, who served as MP for Twickenham for 18 years, blamed a "politics of fear" for the Tory majority government.

The former Business Secretary said David Cameron’s government would face an uphill task to maintain public support.

He said: "When I was first elected, there was a very big sense of crisis in the health system, which was massively underfunded, and in policing.

"We may be going back into crisis mode, we are already quite stretched, and the big issue will be decisions around the airport.

"I suspect now the Conservatives are back in with a majority government, they will press ahead with Heathrow expansion - it will give [George] Osborne the confidence to press ahead.

"I think this government is going to become extremely unpopular very quickly because people voted out of fear and won’t like what happens.

"There will be a big swing back against the Tories before long and as long as the Liberal Democrats remain organised, will in position to bounce back."

Dr Cable lost his seat by 2,017 votes, representing an 11.8 per cent swing in favour of Conservative Tania Mathias, after defending a majority of more than 12,000.

He blamed an "endless barrage" of warnings about a Labour government being propped up by the Scottish National Party (SNP).

He said: "I am naturally very disappointed and not specifically for myself because most of my parliamentary colleagues were defeated as well.

"The fundamental reason for that was a politics of fear - people were told this endless barrage of target mail and telephone calls that if they didn’t vote Conservative, we were going to get Ed Miliband and the SNP.

"Large numbers of people were persuaded by that message, that is the crux of it."

He said a changing demography in the area, with more affluent people moving to Twickenham and property prices increasing, also had an impact on the vote.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Tania Mathias: Already a councillor, now MP for Twickenham

The moment of truth as far as his own seat was concerned came when Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey was defeated in Kingston and Surbiton, according to Dr Cable.

He said: "We had inklings what was happening over the weeks and months before the election and weren’t totally surprised but yes, it was a shock at the time.

"When we heard Ed Davey had gone down, and with my own team at the count [at Richmond College], we realised there was a serious risk.

"I genuinely feel sorry for some of my colleagues with young families and responsibilities - in my case, I feel I had a good innings as a local MP and there are lots of things I now want to do."

Dr Cable, who turned 72 on Saturday, said while he would not stand again, he had confidence there were several local Lib Dem activists who, he said, were "perfectly capable of performing the role".

He said Twickenham remains his party’s "most winnable seat".

Parallels can be drawn between the Lib Dem veteran’s defeat on Thursday and his own maiden victory in 1997, when he defeated the long-serving Conservative Twickenham MP Toby Jessel.

But Dr Cable believed the political climate had shifted significantly since that time.

He said: "I think there are some important differences, I think in 1997 there was a very, very big negative reaction against 18 years of Tory government and people wanted something new and it was Tony Blair nationally and the Liberal Democrats in this area - there was a sense of a new dawn.

"I think what happened here this time was quite different, people say they like what I have been doing but for reasons of fear about Labour and the SNP, they voted Conservative."

Speaking about Dr Mathias, who is Twickenham’s first ever woman MP, he said she is a "very nice person and likeable individual".

And while both Labour and the Green Party saw their vote grow in the constituency, Dr Cable said losing a proportion of the left vote to was a "secondary issue".

Commenting on whether joining a coalition government with the Tories in 2010 had lost his party votes, he said: "I think it was politically necessary. It was the right thing to do and we did something good for the country."

Despite an emotional experience at Richmond College, which saw Dr Cable leave in silence while surrounded by journalists and photographers, he has since had time to reflect on his legacy.

He said: "I have a sense of achievement in attending diligently to my constituency work.

"I have worked with a lot of charities, including Homelink and Shooting Star, and it is great to see they have flourished.

"I think the work I have done with businesses and my support for National Physical Laboratory and local companies in general did make a difference."

He said he was now able to commit more time to finishing a follow-up to his bestselling book, The Storm, an analysis of the global economic crash.

He said: "I’m not rushing into any personal planning, this has been a massive disruption.

"I have time to finish my book now, which is a follow-up to The Storm, so that will keep me busy for the time being."

The Lib Dems in Twickenham have already accepted between 75 and 80 new members since the election and Dr Cable insisted a fight-back would happen.

He said: "My basic message is the one I gave at the count, although it looks bleak at the time the party will bounce back locally and nationally."