CANDIDATES for the North Wiltshire parliamentary seat have begun jostling for position following the publication of an election leaflet from one of the hopefuls.

Lib Dem candidate Brian Mathew published and distributed an eight page booklet including an exclusive interview with himself and a claim on the final page that his campaign was the front runner in the bid to become the next North Wiltshire MP.

He said: “A lot has changed since the last election. In 2014 I and my team have knocked on 14,000 doors across North Wiltshire.

“Thus firstly our statement is based on our analysis of the results of this survey, including residents stated likelihood to support me at a forthcoming general election.

“Secondly unlike my predecessor and indeed James Grey himself, I am a North Wiltshire resident and have been so for the past 15 years since I purchased my house in the village of Yatton Keynell. I have been campaigning full time since I was selected 14 months ago and I will continue to do so until the 7th of May, the date of the next general election.”

The MP who currently holds the North Wiltshire seat, James Gray, said that his seat was the 30th safest Conservative constituency in the country.

Mr Gray said: “Every Lib Dem leaflet I’ve ever seen in any constituency always has that on there and the rather boastful ‘winning here’, which the last six Lib Dem I’ve beaten had.

“They are very nice people but they are not doing well at the polls - and I think the polling here will be much the same as across the rest of the country.

“I wish them all well. I will be focusing my attention on winning more marginal seats.”

Mr Gray also noted that Brian Mathew stood in 2009 European Union election for the South West and in the 2010 General election in North Somerset, failing to get elected on either occasion.

Responding to this Mr Mathew said that he was out of the country due to his job as an aid worker at the time of the previous North Wiltshire selection.

He added: “However I gained the highest number of votes there for the Lib Dems that had ever been achieved, 20,687, almost as many as Liam Fox received previously.”

Wiltshire councillor for Malmesbury Simon Killane, who plans to stand as an independent candidate funded only by donations, said there was not enough evidence to say anyone was ahead of James Gray.

He added: “Using the term ‘by a nose’ would also infer that there is a narrow margin and would need some good quality data to prove the case. Perhaps it is just a bit of enthusiast spin on Brian's part.”