MP hopefuls in the South Cotswolds have spoken out after it was revealed that the General Election will take place in July.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently announced that a General Election will be held on Thursday, July 4 after months of speculation. 

So far, four candidates have said they’re running for the seat including: Zoë Billingham (Labour), Dr Rosalind Savage (Liberal Democrats), Bob Eastoe (Green) and Martin Broomfield (Social Democratic Party). 

They are due to face Conservative candidate James Gray who previously represented the North Wiltshire constituency as MP since 1997.

The parliamentary seat is a new constituency created from parts of The Cotswolds seat including Cirencester and Tetbury and also from parts of the North Wiltshire seat, including Cricklade, Purton and Malmesbury.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: A map showing the new South Cotswolds constituency - which includes Cirencester, Tetbury, Cricklade, Purton and MalmesburyA map showing the new South Cotswolds constituency - which includes Cirencester, Tetbury, Cricklade, Purton and Malmesbury (Image: UGC)

James Gray (Conservative)

Mr Gray said: “I hope that on July 4 you will all do me the great honour of electing me as the first MP for the South Cotswolds; but I will be taking nothing for granted. 

“In this campaign I will try to visit every community, street and village, and as many of the 35,000 or so houses in the patch as I can. 

“You will be receiving all sorts of bits of paper from me; and I will be as rigorous as ever replying to your letters and trying to help. 

“I am planning to hold six public meetings to which all electors are warmly invited (instead of ‘hustings meetings’ which add more heat than light!) 

“I will be seeking your vote as a Conservative and believe that a Conservative government with a clear plan, a record of success and an experienced team under Rishi Sunak will best serve the people of the South Cotswolds. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Conservative parliamentary candidate James GrayConservative parliamentary candidate James Gray (Image: UGC)

“I support core Conservative values- a strong economy, defence of the realm, help for those who need it, deregulation, less government, lower taxation, freedom of the individual and respect for the great old institutions and traditions of our country.

“But perhaps even more than that I offer my experience and standing as a dedicated constituency MP. 

“I have no ambition other than to fight the corner for you all (of all political persuasions and none) in the corridors of power in Westminster and Whitehall; to stand up for the whole area and help people with their everyday problems and concerns. 

“"He is a committed constituency MP” is all I ever want to hear, and I hope that you will allow me to keep that calling for (at least) another 5 years by giving me the privilege of your vote on July 4.”

Zoë Billingham (Labour)

Labour’s parliamentary candidate Zoë Billingham said: “Our country needs fresh leadership and change. 

“If you elect me as your MP for South Cotswolds, your voice will be heard in the next Labour government under Sir Keir Starmer. 

“I would be proud to serve the community I live and grew up in, and be your representative in Westminster.

“I know where change is needed; whether on the rural cost of living, access to the NHS and dental appointments through to action on climate change and cleaning up our rivers.

“I can make change happen. I have worked as an economist for 15 years, including at the centre of government in the Treasury. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Labour’s parliamentary candidate Zoë BillinghamLabour’s parliamentary candidate Zoë Billingham (Image: UGC)

“I will be a voice for business and farming here too. 

“I will listen to you and be an active, committed MP. 

“Town hall discussions and surgeries will be held regularly so we can work together to build a better South Cotswolds.

“Despite the failures of the past 14 years of Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition governments, I commit to working across political parties to secure the lasting change we need.

“Labour can win in the South Cotswolds if we unite. 

“The latest Best for Britain tactical polling puts Labour in second place after the Conservatives. 

“Only a Labour MP can give you a voice in the next government.”

Dr Rosalind Savage (Liberal Democrat)

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Dr Rosalind Savage said: “I am honoured to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for the new South Cotswolds constituency.

“I am not a career politician – after my Oxford law degree I worked in business, and earned a doctorate in systems change. 

“But my most unusual achievement is being the first woman to row solo across three oceans - Atlantic, Pacific and Indian – to raise awareness of the environmental crisis.

“But the environment is not our only crisis. We need truly affordable housing, support for families struggling with everyday bills, and better access to GPs and dentists. 

“We need investment in rural surgeries and local hospitals. We must stop dumping sewage into our rivers, and the overdevelopment of our countryside.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Dr Rosalind SavageLiberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Dr Rosalind Savage (Image: UGC)

“As the daughter of Methodist preachers, I was taught to serve people, respect our environment and maintain high standards of conduct - values we need to restore to public life. 

“As your MP, I will listen to you and fight tirelessly for our communities, investment in public services, support for local businesses, and a fairer society with opportunity for all. 

“I have proved I have the perseverance, determination and unwavering commitment an MP needs.

“Independent polls show I am in a tight fight with the Conservatives. 

“I humbly ask for your vote, as a fresh and energetic voice who will serve you, your family, and community. Together, we can build a brighter future for Britain.”

Bob Eastoe (Green)

Green parliamentary candidate Bob Eastoe said: “The voters of the South Cotswolds can have real hope for real change. They can choose a fairer, more inclusive and secure future. 

“The key issues, as I see it, in the constituency are:

• Investment in the NHS to ensure people get the high quality care they need when they need it. I have taken the NHS pledge 

• Stop the dumping of sewage killing our rivers through taking public utilities back into public ownership.

• Supporting local businesses by curbing the anti-competitive and monopolistic  practices of the likes of Amazon and others.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Green parliamentary candidate Bob EastoeGreen parliamentary candidate Bob Eastoe (Image: UGC)

• Create better public transport services for employment, education and leisure after years of cuts.

• Support farmers in managing the environment and ensuring better food security with stable prices.

“I have come to realise that we have to do things differently: for our own sake, the sake of our children and those yet to come. 

“The Green Party is the only political party to offer real policies and solutions to a better future. 

“As an engineer, accountant and business person I know there are other Green Party members that can, and will, make this happen.”

Martin Broomfield (Social Democratic Party)

Social Democratic Party parliamentary candidate Martin Broomfield said: “I grew up in Reading, it was a multicultural town even in the 1970s but unlike today, we all understood and respected our cultural differences and we lived happily side by side, it was a real live and let live environment which I really enjoyed.

“I worked in various engineering jobs, became a service engineer and eventually got into industrial robotics and CAD design, working in car factories including Ford, Rover, BMW, Volvo and Honda in various European locations.

“I have lived in Wiltshire for the last 40 years, I now live to the north of Chippenham with my wife Daisy and two teenage sons.

“I feel very comfortable with the SDP's strapline:- Family, Community, Nation.

“Now semi-retired I have some time to spend on helping the SDP to spread the word.”

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Social Democratic Party parliamentary candidate Martin Broomfield Social Democratic Party parliamentary candidate Martin Broomfield (Image: UGC)

He added: “Being able to discuss every subject openly and freely without emotional bullying or guilt trips is the bedrock of a healthy democracy.

“I live in the Kington ward of the South Cotswolds County Constituency.

“As may be apparent, I am not a career politician and I am not from any area of influence.

“Every time I go to vote, I find the same problem. If there was a box that said "None of the above", that's where I would put my cross.

“Obviously this is not good enough, so I am standing to give voters the opportunity to put a cross by the "SDP ".

“One of our main challenges is to somehow force our institutions, councils, NHS, welfare etc. to stick to their core responsibilities and not waste enormous amounts of our money on stuff that most people consider to be irrelevant nonsense.

“At the moment the SDP name and policies need to be spread to as many people as possible. 

“I think if we can get people familiar with the party's policies then we will naturally get politically homeless people on board. 

“So spreading website links and getting people aware of us will be key to starting the ball rolling.”