CONSERVATIVE Eastleigh by-election candidate Maria Hutchings has been walking the streets of the town as she launches her bid to become its next MP.

The mother-of-four walked Market Street shaking hands with people and asking about their concerns and stopping at the local butchers, surrounded by photographers and reporters as well as Conservative party members with blue balloons and posters.

Maria, who was accompanied by Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps, then stopped at Poppins Cafe to answer questions from the local and national media.

She was asked everything from her views on abortion to the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

Maria said she did not want to talk about Chris Huhne, who resigned the seat on Monday following his guilty plea to perverting the course of justice and that this was about looking forward.

“I have lived and breathed Eastleigh, I understand everything in terms of listening to the people here and trying to get their case across, listening to what they want and this is an ideal opportunity for me to put myself forward and hopefully if they think I'm worthy they'll vote for me.”

She said a key issue for her was the economy.