Outgoing Greg’s successor has been selected

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The man hoping to follow in Greg Barker’s footsteps by becoming the next Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle has been selected.

In a packed hustings meeting before local Conservative Party members, Huw Merriman was selected as the Conservative Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the constituency, succeeding Greg Barker, who is standing down as MP at the next General Election in May 2015.

Huw, a lawyer and a district councillor for Rotherfield, won the nomination from a shortlist of four candidates, and will stand as the Conservative Party’s candidate next spring.

Huw said: “I am honoured and thrilled to be selected and will start working immediately with Greg and our local councillors to understand, and be involved in, the issues which matter to local residents.

“I have lived locally, and served my community as a district councillor, for eight years and, if elected, pledge to do my best for every resident of this beautiful constituency.”

Forty-one-year-old Huw lives with his wife, Victoria, and their three daughters, in Five Ashes, near Heathfield.

Huw works as a lawyer and managing director and is currently leading a team of lawyers who are unwinding the Lehman Brothers estate.

If elected, Huw will continue to commute from his home in East Sussex to Westminster.

Huw says his focus for Bexhill will be to help create new jobs and champion better road and rail links to regenerate the town and economy.

Greg Barker MP said: “I am greatly looking forward to introducing Huw to the constituency but as a local East Sussex resident, he knows this special part of the world pretty well already!

“I am confident that if the voters of Bexhill and Battle give him the opportunity, Huw will make a terrific champion for our area”.

Cllr John Barnes, president of Bexhill and Battle Conservatives, said: “Huw impressed by his knowledge of local and national issues.

“Huw gave straight answers to questions, knows the issues that the town and countryside faces from first-hand experience and is down-to-earth in his approach to politics.

“He will make a first-rate MP.”

The Bexhill and Battle Constituency is considered to be a safe Tory seat. At the 2010 General Election, the Conservative MP received 28,147 votes, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 15,267 votes and Labour with 6,524 votes.

Around 150 people had applied to succeed Greg Barker as the local Tory candidate, including Olympic rower James Cracknell OBE.

In May’s General Election, Huw Merriman will be pitched against Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Rachel Sadler, Labour candidate Michelle Thew and Geoffrey Bastin, who is standing for UKIP.