Lib Dems select general election candidate to take on Nick Herbert in Arundel and South Downs seat

Alison Bennett, prospective parliamentary candidate for Arundel and South Downs for the Lib Dems
Alison Bennett, prospective parliamentary candidate for Arundel and South Downs for the Lib Dems

The Lib Dems have selected their candidate to take on Conservative MP Nick Herbert at the next general election.

Mr Herbert has represented Arundel and South Downs since 2005 and increased his share of the vote at every subsequent election.

Alison Bennett, who campaigned for remain in the lead up to the 2016 EU referendum in Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint and has helped organise district and county council election campaigns, was selected as the Lib Dems’ prospective parliamentary candidate for the seat at a hustings event in West Chiltington last week.

The next general election has to take place by 2022.

Ms Bennett will be hoping to increase her party’s share of the vote as the Lib Dems’ share of the vote in the Arundel and South Downs constituency fell by more than 20 per cent at 2015’s general election, with only modest gains last year.

On the electoral challenges that lie ahead she said: “On the doorstep, voters tell me that they no longer want to vote for the Conservative Party but that they are fearful of what a Corbyn Government would mean. Right now, we need to be the people to fill that gap. This is a huge opportunity but also a responsibility.”

At the hustings she added: “Let’s grow this campaign from the ground up. Let’s work hard. Let’s work together. And know that we created a Liberal movement for Arundel and South Downs that we can all be proud of.”

Ms Bennett, who has lived in the constituency since 2012, has been active in the local community since moving to Sussex volunteering at the local children’s football club, her local school, and the West Sussex County Council’s children and family service.

Away from politics and community activism Alison has been busy raising her young family after spending ten years working for companies in communications and insight. Originally from Gloucestershire, she graduated from Cambridge University and lived in Nottingham and Guildford before settling in Sussex.

She said: “The EU Referendum and the election of Donald Trump have seen grievance and fear drive people apart. When the world seems to be turning in the wrong direction, you have a choice to look away, or do what you can to make a difference where you live. This is what drives me.”

After the selection constituency chairman David Perry, from Storrington, said: “The feeling within the party is that Alison is a real ‘rising star’ in the Lib Dems, and Arundel and South Downs is delighted to have her.”