Former council chief takes David Mackintosh's place for Tories in Northampton South after last-minute call

East Midlands MEP Andrew Lewer will contest the Northampton South seat for the Conservatives.

East Midlands MEP Andrew Lewer will contest the Northampton South seat for the Conservatives.

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The man who will take David Mackintosh's place in fighting for the Northampton South seat has revealed he only found out about this potential nomination yesterday morning.

The constituency's Conservative Association has chosen Derbyshire-based MEP Andrew Lewer to run for the seat on June 8.

The secret ballot of members held at Sixfields Stadium last night was due to be contested by three out-of-town hopefuls, but London-based Louis Mosley, the nephew of former Formula One tycoon Max Mosley, did not appear.

It left former Derbyshire County Council leader Mr Lewer, 45, to contest the candidacy against New Forest District Council member, Councillor Emma Lane.

After his victory late last night, Mr Lewer admitted he had only been given the call to run for the Northampton South candidacy that morning.

Though it had been rumoured some local grandees would have preferred a more local candidate, Mr Lewer said he was confident of his chances.

He said: "We have got a strong national message with Theresa May on the doorstep. It's the choice between Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May that will really resound with people, and I know it has been doing."

He added: "This is a big job, but I am used to big, challenging campaigns.

"In 2009 people said we would never take control of Derbyshire, people said it would always be Labour, but we took it by the scruff of its neck."

Mr Lewer becomes the candidate for the Conservatives after MP David Mackintosh quit late last Thursday night. The embattled MP's position had become virtually untenable after he lost the executive support of his constituency association.

But when asked last night whether the recent press around his predecessor had left him at a disadvantage, Mr Lewer said: "I don't think so. I think tonight is a new leaf. We have turned the page and we have a reinvigorated association."

Mr Lewer said he intends to start campaigning in Northampton South next week.