THE Brexit Party has selected MEP Matthew Patten to take on his former Tendring Council Tory colleague Giles Watling for the Clacton seat at the upcoming General Election.

Brexit is expected to have a big role to play in the fight for the Clacton seat at the election on December 12, it is claimed.

MPs last week voted in favour of holding an election in a bid to break the deadlock in Parliament over Brexit.


The parties to declare candidates for the Clacton seat so far include the Brexit Party, Conservatives, Greens, Labour, the Lib Dems, along with an independent.

It had previously been rumoured that both Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin could stand for the party.

But it has instead selected Mr Patten, the former chief executive of youth sports and disability charity, the Lord’s Taverners, and the Mayors Fund for London, who was a former Tory councillor for Bradfield, Wix and Wrabness.

He was a colleague of Mr Watling’s at Tendring Council.

Mr Watling, a former actor famed for his role as Oswald the vicar in 1980s sitcom Bread, won the Clacton seat at the third attempt in 2017, having twice lost out to Ukip’s Douglas Carswell in 2014 and 2015.

The former town councillor and Tendring Council cabinet member for regeneration won the Clacton seat for the Tories from Ukip – gaining a majority of 15,828 – in 2017.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Conservative - Giles Watling

Mr Watling, who voted in favour of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and for an early election, said it had been a privilege to represent Clacton over the past two years.

He said: “I have always wanted to deliver on the wishes of Clacton residents, around 70 per cent of whom voted to leave.

“That is why I have voted consistently to leave the EU, with or without a deal, and it is incredibly frustrating that this Parliament has, time and time again, prevented us from leaving.

“This election gives us the opportunity to elect a new Parliament that respects the referendum result.

“To my mind, this has all gone on too long and we must now move on and get Brexit done.”

“This will allow us to focus again on delivering an exciting domestic agenda that will deliver more police officers, more funding for our schools and hospitals, and truly world-class infrastructure.

“And, of course, a domestic agenda that no longer overlooks places like the Clacton constituency, as has so often been the case in the past.”

Despite Labour coming second in 2017, a poll puts the Brexit Party as Mr Watling’s closest challenger.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Brexit Party - Matthew Patten

Mr Patten said: “I believe that leave means leave. Boris’s deal is not Brexit.

“It will leave us in the clutches of the European Union for years to come, unable to complete our own trade deals and still subject to the supremacy of the European Court of Justice.

“I joined The Brexit Party due to my deep frustration with Parliament’s betrayal of the referendum and the self-serving two party system.

“If I was elected, the people of Clacton, Frinton and Walton can be 100 per cent certain that their MP is a whole-hearted leaver.

“We need a clean break Brexit to allow us to invest so much more in our families, communities and businesses.”

Mr Patten added that he wants to see improved broadband for the Gorse Lane Industrial Estate in Clacton, stronger policing to fight drug crime and repairs to potholes in the constituency.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Labour - Kevin Bonavia

Clacton Labour Party selected a new candidate on Friday afternoon.

A spokesman said: "Our new candidate Kevin Bonavia has a wealth of experience that will be of huge value to the residents of Clacton.

"Kevin is currently a Labour councillor for Blackheath.

"We are looking forward to working with Kevin to bring about positive change for the residents of Clacton in areas of social care, education and welfare."

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Lib Dem - Callum Robertson

Legal advisor Callum Robertson hopes to be the first Liberal Democrat MP in the coastal town’s history.

Mr Robertson has worked in the Ministry of Justice and as a legal adviser and as the director of a law clinic.

“Let’s make no bones about it, this is a Brexit election,” he said.

“I am blunt, my leaflets will be unambiguous and my party is clear, Brexit is a bad idea.

“We need to stay in because it gives us access to the regional development fund which will help transform the economy of Clacton.

“A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit so we can boost our economy, invest in our public services and build a brighter future for our whole country.”

Clacton environmentalist Chris Southall will again stand for the Green Party.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Green - Chris Southall

Mr Southall, who lives in a DIY eco house in Great Clacton, has stood in previous general elections for the party, as well as for district and county elections.

He was formerly an engineer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, but has been self-employed most of his life, working as a potter, computer engineer, drummer and worked with people who have special needs.

He said: “Climate change is the biggest crisis facing us.

“East Anglia is particularly vulnerable to flooding and erosion, our farmers will suffer as the climate becomes more unstable.

“We need to undo years of Tory austerity and government cuts to council funding that have led to hardship - particularly amongst older people.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Independent - Colin Bennett

Songwriter and Clacton cabbie Colin Bennett, who founded the Tendring District Taxi Association in 2010, will be standing as an independent.

He said: “My interest in politics really began with this Brexit saga.

“Locally, my interests revolve around social care, policing, fire and the ambulance service. Do we have enough?

“Also, I think a youth club would be a good idea.”

Paul Whiteley, professor of Government at the University of Essex, said Brexit could have a big influence on the vote in Clacton.

He said: “Clacton, which has in recent history become a safe Conservative seat, has something in common which a lot of other coastal towns – it is a strong supporter of leave.

“It previously had a Ukip MP and it appears more likely to be influenced by the Brexit Party than others.”

Ukip has yet to announce its candidate for the Clacton seat.

Nomination papers must be submitted by all candidates before 4pm on November 15.

In Harwich and North Essex, Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin is set to stand again.

Mike Beckett will stand for the Liberal Democrats, alongside independent Richard Browning-Smith, but as yet there has been no announcement from the Labour, Green or Brexit parties or Ukip.

In 2017, Sir Bernard won with 29,921 votes beating Labour which polled 15,565 votes.