ROYSTON Smith has been selected to contest the Southampton Itchen seat for the Conservatives at the next general election.

Mr Smith, who has held the seat since 2015, was unanimously re-selected at a meeting of the local Conservative Association.

He said: “I am thrilled to have been unanimously re-selected to fight the Itchen seat again whenever a General Election is called.

“This is my home and it is an enormous privilege to represent my constituents in Parliament.”

Mr Smith has fought the seat three times, at first narrowly losing out to former Labour MP John Denham by less than 200 votes in 2010.

He beat Labour candidate Rowenna Davis to the seat in 2015, before securing a nail-biting 31 vote win over Labour’s candidate, then-Southampton City Council Leader, Simon Letts, in 2017.

Smith, who was born in Harefield and lives in Bitterne, previously served as a city councillor and Leader of the Council before his election to Parliament in 2015.

Chairman of the Southampton Itchen Conservative Association, Matthew Jones, speaking after the selection meeting said, “Royston has worked tirelessly for Southampton residents, not just as their Member of Parliament but for over 20 in local politics. We feel very lucky to have him.”

Mr Smith’s opponents to have been announced so far include Labour’s Simon Letts, while the Brexit Party has announced South East MEP Alexandra Phillips as its candidate for the Southampton Itchen seat.