A FORMER Eastleigh MP has been named as a Conservative candidate for a Sussex constituency just days after announcing her decision to step down from her seat.

Mims Davies announced last week that she was stepping down from her Eastleigh seat for personal reasons.

She has now been announced as one of three candidates, alongside Virginia Crosbie and Henry Newman, to be the Conservative candidate for Mid Sussex.

The seat has been held since 1997 by outgoing Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames, who was one of the Tory politicians to be expelled and later reinstated to the party after rebelling against the Government's Brexit plans.

Eastleigh Borough Council leader, councillor Keith House, a Lib Dem, has since accused Mims Davies of "abandoning Eastleigh fearing it would be a Lib Dem gain".

He said: "Well, so @mimsdavies did abandon Eastleigh fearing it would be a Lib Dem re-gain."

As reported in the Echo last week, Ms Davies announced her decision to step down from her Eastleigh seat, which she held at the 2017 General Election with a majority of 14,000.

In her statement, she said: "The decision to step down as Eastleigh MP has been tremendously difficult for me but it is entirely a personal decision and not a political one.

"I am a single parent of two wonderful girls and, over the last few years, it has been become increasingly difficult to juggle the responsibilities have I first and foremost as a mother and, secondly, as an MP and minister.

"My children are based largely back in Sussex, my working week is largely in London or travelling in my role as a minister and my weekends are in Eastleigh, or more accurately, attempting to look after my daughters, their interests and also look after and support my constituents.

"Sadly, it has become impossible for me to do both and, as any parent knows, if it comes down to making a decision, it is always the children who must come first.

"I hope everyone will understand this conflict and understand my decision in the light of it.

More to follow...