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Ukip leadership candidate Elizabeth Jones makes bold pledge to contest David Cameron’s ‘vulnerable’ seat in Witney by-election

PUBLISHED: 09:56 13 September 2016 | UPDATED: 09:56 13 September 2016

Elizabeth Jones and Nigel Farage

Elizabeth Jones and Nigel Farage

Archant

The Oxfordshire constituency is one of the safest Conservative seats in the country but the Dartford family lawyer intends to “walk the walk”

Ukip leadership candidate Elizabeth Jones has made a bold pledge to challenge for David Cameron’s seat after the former prime minister stood down this week.

The constituency in Witney, Oxfordshire, is one of the safest Conservative seats in the country, with Mr Cameron taking some 60 per cent of the vote at the last general election in 2015.

However, the Dartford family lawyer, who is running against south east MEP and former Rochester schoolgirl Diane James to replace Westerham’s Nigel Farage at the head of the party, says the seat is “vulnerable” and is confident of springing a surprise victory.

“Throughout my leadership campaign I have said I will lead Ukip from the front, like my hero Queen Boadicea – and I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk – next stop Witney,” she said.

Since first fielding a candidate in 1997, the party’s share of the vote in Witney has increased sevenfold to just below 10 per cent, claiming its best result in the constituency last year, climbing to third place and adding six per cent to its share of the vote, against a siting prime minister.

Ukip’s local Oxfordshire Branch, which has around 500 members, will select their official candidate and Ms Jones, who has stood for parliament three times before in London as well as Kent, has already been in contact with her Witney colleagues to offer her services.

“The local party will choose who it would like and I am happy to put myself into the mix for them to consider because I believe the seat is actually quite vulnerable – it is certainly open to a Labour collapse and we should be aiming realistically to displace Labour and moving Ukip into second place at the very least,” she said.

“But if the voters want to send a strong message to Westminster on the issues that concern them – poor public transport links to villages, lack of affordable housing and long waits for NHS services – and they now find themselves without a prime minister as their local MP, so this by-election is their chance to do so.

“I want to swing into action in Witney, if I am required as our party’s candidate, and hit the ground running, to swiftly re-unite our party and get cracking on the serious business of winning seats in

parliament.”

There is no residency qualification to stand for a seat in parliament, an MP could even live outside the UK.

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