Southampton’s Tory party leader has launched his bid to become the next MP for the city’s Itchen seat.

Royston Smith launched his General Election campaign with the help of a team of supporters who spent the day leafleting thousands of homes across the city.

Cllr Smith contested the seat in 2010, narrowly losing out to Labour MP and former minister John Denham by 192 votes.

Mr Denham has served as MP in the city for the past 23 years alongside his colleague and fellow Labour MP Alan Whitehead who represents Southampton Test.

Speaking about why he is bidding to take the seat, Cllr Smith said: “I want to stand for Parliament to represent the many people I have lived with, grown up with, worked with and at times, struggled with.

“I want to represent Southampton because I live here – I don’t live here in order to win a seat in Parliament. There is more than a subtle difference.”

Cllr Smith will be in the running against Labour candidate Rowena Davis, a former Peckham councillor who now lives in Bitterne Park.

He said: “Southampton is where I was born and have lived for most of my life, but for a stint in the Royal Air Force. Southampton is home for me and my family. That is why I want to represent this constituency in Parliament.”