Liberal Democrats announce Sir Nick Harvey will seek to take back North Devon seat from the conservatives

The general election battle lines have been drawn in North Devon with former MP Sir Nick Harvey coming out of retirement in a bid to win back his old seat from the Conservatives.

North Devon's sitting MP Peter Heaton-Jones will be facing a re-run of the 2015 election which saw him unseat long-serving Liberal Democrat Sir Nick after a tenure of 23 years.

Sir Nick said he was 'as surprised as anybody' when Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election to be held on June 8.

But he said after some consideration he was standing because North Devon 'needed a strong independently-minded MP willing to stand and call the government out, to lead local campaigns and to fight, rather than a loyalist yes man'.

But Mr Heaton-Jones told the Gazette voters should choose him because it was the only way to return Theresa May as Prime Minister and to ensure the UK got the best possible deal from Brexit. He said he was proud of his record over the past two years as MP.

He said: "I am sure this will be a closely fought contest, as they always are in North Devon."

In 2015 there was a massive swing when Peter Heaton-Jones clawed back a deficit of 5,000 votes and went on to gain a 7,000 majority as the Lib Dems were hit with a nationwide backlash, losing many of their senior politicians.

In Torridge, Geoffrey Cox MP has a majority of 18,000 and is not expected to be toppled.

The closing date for election nominations is May 11 and several parties have yet to field candidates.

Ricky Knight has declared for the Greens in North Devon, UKIP looks set to choose its candidates this week and Labour will be choosing its candidates on May 2.

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