UKIP launches search for candidate to fight South East Cambs seat
PUBLISHED: 08:46 24 July 2014 | UPDATED: 08:46 24 July 2014
UKIP is appealing for candidates "of the highest calibre" to put themselves forward for next year's general election in South East Cambridgeshire.
The party was due to hold a hustings to select a candidate for the traditionally Conservative seat this week but was been forced to cancel the event because of illness.
A new selection process is expected to take place again in September and party officials have launched an appeal to find a suitable candidate.
Martin Hale, chairman of the SE Cambs branch of UKIP, said: “There was a lot of talk about the European election being a protest vote but I have stood in three elections now and people have come up to me saying that they had not voted in the past but were going to do so again because of what we are doing.
“Next year’s election is going to be very interesting in South East Cambs and we want high quality candidates to put themselves forward.”
UKIP gained a foothold in East Cambridgeshire for the first time back in 2013 when Daniel Divine was elected to Cambridgeshire County Council, usurping Conservative Fred Brown.
And the party has continued to pick up votes in both East Cambridgeshire District Council by-elections, in Sutton and Soham, though they remained some way from winning a seat.
In neighbouring Fenland, UKIP has caused consternation, taking four seats on Cambridgeshire County Council at the last election.
The Conservatives have already announced barrister Lucy Frazer as their candidate to fight next year’s election while Labour have put forward Huw Jones.
The Liberal Democrats will again be putting forward Cllr Jonathan Chatfield to stand for the seat, having contested both the 2010 and 2005 elections.
Sir Jim Paice will not be standing for re-election again at next year’s election, having served as SE Cambs MP since 1987.