A RETIRED accountant has been selected as the Conservative candidate for a town in the upcoming General Election.

Councillor Paul Howell will campaign to become the first Conservative MP for the Sedgefield Constituency since 1931.

The Conservatives are aiming to make progress in a leave-voting constituency, which they say has become more marginal since Tony Blair stood down in 2007.

Mr Howell said: "I'm proud and delighted to have been selected as the candidate for the area I have lived in all my life. This is an opportunity for the people of Sedgefield to elect someone who will respect their wishes and champion them in Westminster. I hope they will place their trust in me.”

Mr Howell was elected to Durham County Council for Aycliffe North and Middridge in 2017 and this year was also been selected as a councillor for Hummersknott ward in Darlington.

The MP candidate will go up against David Bull, of the Brexit Party, John Furness, of The Green Party, Michael Anthony Joyce standing independent, Dawn Elizabeth Welsh, of the Liberal Democrats and Phil Wilson of the Labour Party.