WITH a day to go, the general election battle is nearly over.

Thousands of people will head to the polling stations across the country to elect a new Parliament in what is the third national vote in five years.

The four parliamentary candidates for Eastleigh have thrown down the gauntlet, with the Conservatives hoping to retain the seat.

The Tories have held the consistency since 2015, when they reclaimed it from the Liberal Democrats after more than 20 years.

As ever, the seat remains hotly contested.

However, in October, MP for Eastleigh, Mims Davies announced she would not be running in this general election.

The MP said the decision to step down was tremendously difficult but was an entirely personal decision and not a political one.

But, in a turn of events, Mims is now standing as the Conservative candidate for Mid Sussex.

Paul Holmes will now be stepping up to represent the Conservatives.

This year he is up against Labour candidate and political newcomer Sam Jordan, Lib Dem Lynda Murphy, who is also cabinet member for environment at Winchester City Council, and Ron Meldrum, who has been a member of the Green Party for 10 years.

Many have been wondering to what extent this will be a Brexit election, especially in a constituency such as Eastleigh, where 52.5 per cent of residents voted to leave the European Union.

But while Brexit may be at the forefront of voters’ minds, there are also other issues that seem to be concerning residents in Eastleigh who voted to Remain.

The most contentious issues include plans to expand Southampton Airport and Eastleigh Borough Council’s proposal to build 5,200 homes near ancient woodland in Bishopstoke.

A planning application to expand the airport’s runway by 164 metres and add 600 parking spaces to the long stay car park at the site were submitted to the council last month.

However, campaigners raised concerns over the impact the expansion would have on noise, air pollution and the environment.

In November, more than 500 campaigners from action group, Action Against Destructive Development (ADD) stormed the Botleigh Grange Hotel and Spa in Hedge End in a last bid effort to voice their concerns over plans to build 5,200 new homes, shops, schools and a new access road on land between Bishopstoke and Fair Oak.

The proposals, as part of the council’s local plan, have sparked massive debate amongst residents and campaigners.

In terms of the candidates, Paul Holmes joined Southampton City Council as one of the youngest councillors in the country at the age of 19 in 2008.

He controversially looked after the city’s schools, followed by child protection services, with a combined £226m budget.

Mr Holmes said: “I want to get Brexit done so the country can move on and come together.

“Then we can deliver on local people’s priorities like putting more police on the streets, investing in our schools and training more GPs so people can secure a doctor’s appointment when they want one.”

“The election is the most important one in a generation.

“I am honoured to be have been selected by local members.”

Sam Jordan will be running as the Labour candidate for Eastleigh in his first foray into politics.

Born and raised in Eastleigh, he claims to have been a member of the Labour party since 2013.

The 30-year-old who works as a telecommunications advisor spends much of his time travelling across the borough supporting and running football clubs with local volunteers.

According to Sam his determination to run in the election stems from his frustration with opposition candidates lack of representation of Eastleigh.

Mr Jordan said: “I want to see a comprehensive increase in the quality of the services and infrastructure across the constituency.

“I want to make our community safer, more efficient and just that – a community.”

Lynda Murphy has been described in a Lib Dem statement as “a strong environmental campaigner” who “has lived locally with her family for many years and has committed to working hard for the people of Eastleigh Constituency”.

Ms Murphy said: “I’m standing to become the next MP for Eastleigh because I really feel local people need better representation in parliament, with an MP who cares for and listens to


“I will also continue fighting against a disastrous No Deal Brexit which will be so bad for the people who live and work here.

“Voters already know that Lib Dems have a strong local record over the last 25 years.

“We’ve put our area first, ahead of party politics.

Meanwhile, Ron Meldrum believes the “old politics’” system does not work for the greater good of the country and a new direction is needed.

Mr Meldrum claims the Green Party offers this vision, and, more Greens in Parliament will make this happen.

He previously lived in Eastleigh for over twenty years and stood as a candidate in the 2015 and 2017 elections.

He is concerned about climate change and his areas of interest include education, mental health and sustainable transport.

With Brexit stopping the political agenda, the general election has been described as the most important in a generation. Tomorrow there will be 59 polling stations across the borough which will be open from 7am to 10pm.