UKIP has announced its candidate for one of the two New Forest seats up for grabs in next year’s General Election.

Former police officer Roy Swales has been adopted as UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for New Forest East, the seat held by Tory MP and former shadow defence minister Julian Lewis.

Mr Swales, 57, of Totton, served in the Parachute Brigade before joining Surrey police.

Injured on duty, he retired from the force after ten years and subsequently studied law and education.

He is currently a consultant for Hampshire police.

Mr Swales works with children from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the Prince’s Trust, and is also a former chairman of the Totton and Eling branch of the Royal British Legion.

He and his partner, a community nursing sister, have two daughters.

Following his selection meeting, Mr Swales spoke on local issues, including the continuing need to protect Dibden Bay from the threat of development.

He told the Daily Echo: “Dibden Bay has been bubbling away on the back boiler for several years and I’m also keeping a close eye on the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm project.

“I’m for alternative energy schemes but not if they’re detrimental to the environment. A lot of doubts have been expressed about green energy policies.”

Mr Swales, who is contesting his first election, admitted that he had a huge mountain to climb.

Dr Lewis has been MP for New Forest East since 1997 and will be defending a majority of more than 11,000.

Mr Swales said: “People say it’s a safe seat but in my view there’s no such thing as a safe seat any more.”