FRINTON actor Giles Watling has been chosen as the Conservatives’ candidate to take on Ukip’s Douglas Carswell in the Clacton parliamentary byelection.

Mr Watling, 61, was selected after 240 residents voted in a hustings-style open primary contest at Clacton Town Hall last night.

He was up against Sue Lissimore, 47, a Colchester borough and county councillor The pair each gave a speech and then took questions from host Nick Ferrari and then the audience.

Topics included EU, immigration, GP services and Matthew Parris’s derogatory comments about Clacton in the Times.

Mr Watling used his acting skills to work the stage and the audience warmed to him as he spoke passionately about the local area.

Mrs Lissimore excelled when talking about the Conservative Party, and got a big round of applause when discussing how her skills and strengths shone through despite politics being a man’s world.

After each candidate had about an hour on stage, the audience cast their votes.

Mr Watling was declared the winner, although the breakdown of voting was not available last night.

He said: “It’s an honour and an enormous privilege.

“We have been doing a lot work here locally. I live here, I know the strengths and the weaknesses of this place. I want to play to the strengths and deal with the weaknesses. We have a great future here.”

On Mr Carswell’s defection, he said: “I am very sad and surprised he did what he did. However, we move on from there.”

Mrs Lissimore said she was disappointed not to be selected, but will give her full support to Mr Watling.

She said: “We needed the best candidate and Giles will be excellent. We will get behind him now.”

The by-election, on October 9, was triggered after Mr Carswell defected from the Conservatives and resigned his seat The Tories decided to let the public choose their representative in contrast to Ukip, which ditched its previous Clacton parliamentary candidate, Roger Lord, and replaced him with Mr Carswell.

Mr Watling and Mrs Lissimore were selected for the public vote after interviews at the Tories’ London headquarters.

Mr Watling, an actor best known for playing Oswald in Eighties sitcom Bread, is a married father-of-two and lives in Frinton. He has been a town and district councillor for seven years. He will take on Ukip’s Douglas Carswell, Labour’s Tim Young, the Lib Dem’s Andy Graham, the Greens’ Chris Southall, and a handful of minor parties, including the Monster Raving Loony Party.