THE UK Independence Party has announced its candidate for the Eastleigh by-election.

Surrey councillor Diane James has been selected to fight the seat vacated by disgraced Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne.

A healthcare expert, Cllr James became involved in local politics after becoming "utterly disillusioned" with political interference at a local level.

She joined UKIP in 2010 after deciding that they were the only party which represented her views on the political scene.

She said: "I joined UKIP not only because of their policy on grammar schools, which I benefitted from when I was younger, but because I believe that the UK would be able to thrive outside the EU.

"I am honoured to have been selected for Eastleigh by UKIP and I plan to fight hard and show the people of the constituency that they can vote for someone with integrity and commitment; a real opposition to the failed policies of the coalition and the virtually invisible Labour Party.

"There are many local issues in the constituency I will be campaigning on, such as the closure of Ford and the hypocrisy of the Lib Dems over local housing where they have repeatedly misinformed the people of Eastleigh that locals will get priority for new housing.

"We know that this is illegal under EU law but will the Lib Dems risk their popularity by telling voters the truth?"

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: "Diane has a successful record as a healthcare and political campaigner and she wants to stand up for ordinary communities who are being so badly affected by the coalition government in this country."