Sir Ashley Fox has been selected by local Conservatives as the party’s candidate at the next General Election for the new Bridgwater parliamentary seat which will include Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge, Berrow and Brean.
The former MEP for the Southwest of England was formally selected by the party on Saturday (September 9th) during a meeting in Bridgwater.
It follows an announcement earlier this year from The Boundary Commission proposing constituency boundary changes which will result in Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge, Berrow and Brean moving out of the existing Wells constituency and into a new Bridgwater constituency by the next general election.
Following his selection on Saturday, Ashley said: “My family comes from Somerset, and I am delighted to have been chosen by the membership of Bridgwater.”
“Bridgwater is a great place for businesses large and small to invest. I want to make sure that the Government is always on their side.”
He added: “I am looking forward to being a strong voice for Bridgwater, Burnham and Highbridge and all our rural communities. I want to make sure that every part of this new constituency receives its fair share of investment.”
The new Bridgwater seat is being seen as a three-way marginal, with Labour traditionally polling well in Bridgwater, the Liberal Democrats recently making local gains, and the Conservatives hoping to do well.
Labour and the Lib Dems have yet to announce their candidates for the new Bridgwater constituency.
The current Wells constituency MP James Heappey will continue to be the Conservative candidate in that smaller new-look constituency, where he will face Lib Dem candidate Tessa Munt.
Ashley is married with two grown up children. He is a former MEP for the Southwest of England and Gibraltar, where he served for 10 years and was leader of the British Conservatives for four years.
Diogo Rodrigues, Chairman of the Bridgwater Conservative Association, says: “Congratulations to Ashley Fox for being selected as the Conservative candidate for the new Bridgwater parliamentary seat.”
“As a former MEP for the South West, along with a wide range of other experience inside and outside of politics, he will be an asset to the new constituency.”
“I look forward to working alongside him in my role as Chairman of the Bridgwater Conservative Association.”
While Burnham and Highbridge will be included in the new Bridgwater seat, shown above, nearby parishes such as Brent Knoll, Burnham Without and Mark will remain in the smaller Wells constituency.
Three rounds of public consultation have been held by The Boundary Commission on the boundary changes and the final proposals have been presented to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle MP.
Parliament has four months to formally consider and appove the boundary changes, meaning the new boundaries will take affect at any general election called after November 1st.
Under the proposals, the total number of overall seats in the House of Commons will remain at 650 but the number of constituencies will increase from 533 to 543. The new boundaries are designed to make representation more equal, with each of the new seats having a population of between 69,724 and 77,062 people.
Bridgwater’s current MP Ian Liddell-Grainger will not stand in the new Bridgwater constituency, as we first reported here, since he is standing in the new Tiverton and Minehead seat instead.