LUKE Hall faces a challenge to remain MP for Thornbury and Yate just two years after being voted in, following the Prime Minister’s shock announcement of a snap general election on June 8.
Conservative Mr Hall won by a majority of just under 1,500 votes in 2015 in a surprise victory over Liberal Democrat Sir Steve Webb, who had been MP since 1997.
This time, he will go head-to-head with Claire Young, the current Lib Dem representative for Westerleigh on South Gloucestershire Council.
Despite becoming embroiled in the Conservative ‘Battlebus’ costs controversy in recent months, Mr Hall welcomed the news of the snap election.
He said the general election would “secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.”
Mr Hall added: “As someone who has lived in South Gloucestershire all of my life, I am delighted to be re-seeking election so that I can continue to ensure that our community is heard right at the top in Westminster on the keys issues that matter to us all.
“As our MP it has been the greatest honour of my life to serve our area. I hope that together we can all continue tackling the issues we face head on, ensuring that all we have achieved is not put at risk.”
Cllr Young told the Gazette she was “ready for” the election and looking forward to the coming weeks of campaigning.
She said: “Theresa May has repeatedly said she would not be holding a snap election, so the announcement shows she has been misleading the public.
“Regardless, I am ready for the challenge ahead and will be looking forward to sticking up for the people of the Thornbury and Yate constituency.”
Having stood in the 2015 election for the Green Party, Thornbury residents Iain Hamilton said he would be keen to return, and hoped to again be nominate by the party.
The Gazette has been told that Labour will be announcing a candidate within the coming week, while UKIP has been in discussions to decide on whether to put forward a candidate.
The surprise announcement by Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday came less than a year after saying there would be no general elections until 2020.
But many have hailed the announcement as a tactical move, with the Conservative Party holding a considerable lead in the polls, with some suggesting they are 20 points ahead of Labour.
The 2015 election saw an impressive turnout from the constituency, with 74 per cent of the Thornbury and Yate electorate taking part.