Ukip have announced that a Surrey Councillor, Diane James has been selected as the party’s candidate in the Eastleigh by-election.
James sits on Ewhurst Borough Council as an Independent and her performance at the Eastleigh Ukip branch hustings secured 80% of the members approval a decision which was endorsed by the party’s NEC earlier today.
One attendee described her as having a ‘Thatcher like’ quality adding ‘Tory voters will love her’.
Her previous local election results in Ewhurst certainly suggest they might, as in 2007 she beat both the Conservative and the Lib Dem candidate as an Independent – an impressive feat eclipsed perhaps by her 2011 hold of the same seat, beating the Conservatives again with 45% of the vote.
“I am honoured to have been selected for Eastleigh by UKIP and I plan to fight hard and show the people of the constituency that they can vote for someone with integrity and commitment”
“There are many local issues in the constituency I will be campaigning on, such as the closure of Ford and the hypocrisy of the Lib Dems over local housing where they have repeatedly misinformed the people of Eastleigh that locals will get priority for new housing.”
Cllr James, described as a ‘healthcare expert’, says she became involved in local politics after becoming ‘utterly disillusioned’ with political interference at a local level.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said,
“Diane has a successful record as a healthcare and political campaigner and she wants to stand up for ordinary communities who are being so badly affected by the coalition government in this country.”
Many pundits had tipped Ray Finch the party’s 2010 candidate to re-contest the seat but the amiable scouser and party worker did not make the final cut.
James is understood to have told party activists that she did not support gay marriage – last week Maria Hutchings also announced that to be her position.
She will stand in the February 28 poll against Lib Dem Mike Thornton, Conservative Maria Hutchings, Jim Duggan of the Peace Party, Darren Procter of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition and Dr Iain Maclennan of the National Health Action Party.
The Labour Party has not yet been announced its candidate.