Conservatives, Lib Dems and Greens select New Forest East and West candidates for next UK general election
BATTLE lines are being drawn between the political parties in the New Forest ahead of the next general election.
Three of the four main parties have announced their candidates, with incumbents Sir Julian Lewis and Sir Desmond Swayne hoping to celebrate 30 years in their posts after poles close.
The Tory pair have held the New Forest East and West constituencies since their formation in 1997, and have been reselected for the next election, which must take place by January 2025.
Sir Desmond said: “I was delighted to be reselected by my executive council without dissent. It has been a great privilege to represent the New Forest West parliamentary division and I shall campaign to continue to do so.”
The Greens selections are: University of Southampton associate professor Anna Collar (West) and sustainability consultant Simon King (East).
Mr King said: “In recent years, more and more people have begun to realise that the Green Party stands for taking vital action to protect our environment and combat the climate crisis, but also for a way of doing politics differently through honest policies and realistic action.”
Ms Collar said: “It’s clear to everyone that ‘politics as usual’ hasn’t worked. We need a new approach. That’s why support for the Green Party has grown so rapidly. We are especially proud that, for the first time, we now have three representatives on New Forest District Council.”
The Lib Dems see Lymington and Pennington councillor and mayor Jack Davies contesting New Forest West, with Totton and Eling Town Council chair Caroline Rackham the East.
Cllr Davies said: “At the recent local elections, the Lib Dems made gains from the Conservatives right across the New Forest. Local people are desperate to see the back of the Conservatives and, in the New Forest, we are the ones who can make it happen.”
Cllr Rackham said: “I’m very excited that I’ve been selected… it’s a big responsibility to take forward the needs of our residents, with local issues like Dibden Bay and the Freeport but also national issues like the health service and climate change.”
A spokesperson from New Forest Labour said their selections would be confirmed “in the coming weeks”.
The A&T has approached Sir Julian for comment.