The Clacton candidates standing in Nigel Farage’s way

Nigel Farage, the new leader of Reform UK, launches his campaign in Clacton on Tuesday
Nigel Farage, the new leader of Reform UK, launches his campaign in Clacton on Tuesday - Stephen Lock/ i-images

Nigel Farage will have to see off at least four other would-be MPs, including the Tory incumbent, if he is to win in Clacton on July 4.

The Essex seaside constituency was the only one to elect a Ukip MP, Douglas Carswell, after he defected from the Tories in 2014. Now Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader, will hope to be elected there for Reform UK.

The seat has never been held by a party other than the Conservatives and Ukip, but Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party are also aiming to unseat Giles Watling, the Tory incumbent. Here are the fellow candidates Mr Farage faces in the race to win in Clacton:

Giles Watling: Conservatives

Giles Watling has been the MP for Clacton since being elected in 2017. His majority at the last election was more than 24,000, an increase on his previous majority when he took over from Mr Carswell.

Mr Watling describes himself as a “local chap”, having lived in the constituency since the early 1990s and served as a local and district councillor.

In his campaign video, he highlighted his aims to increase defence spending to three per cent of GDP and said he had worked “really hard” to maintain the triple lock on pensions.

Jovan Owusu-Nepaul: Labour

Jovan Owusu-Nepaul, a trade unionist and campaigner, has said that he will be “the fresh start Clacton and the villages need” after “the Tories have taken our country for granted, not understanding the real issues”.

He served as a policy officer for the all-party parliamentary group for reuniting Britain post-Brexit, which aimed to “drive forward a cross-party conversation on policy solutions to help heal and bridge the divisions exposed by the EU referendum”.

He also served as chairman of the local party in Lewisham Deptford, south-east London.

Natasha Osben: Greens

Natasha Osben previously stood for Labour in the constituency in 2017.

She left the party in 2019, saying she believed the Greens were the “only party that is genuinely committed to bringing about the changes our country needs”.

Ms Osben has lived in Clacton all her life and recently completed a PhD in government, specialising in social justice, at the University of Essex.

After Mr Farage announced that he would stand in Clacton on Monday, Ms Osben said: “The people of Clacton deserve better than to be used as a springboard for career politicians like Farage.”

Matthew Bensilum: Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have selected Matthew Bensilum, a local councillor, as their candidate. From Clacton, he is a managing director of a financial services consultancy firm.

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