Nine candidates have been shortlisted by the Conservatives as the bid to become the party's standard bearer in the new Waveney Valley seat hots up.

Waveney Valley is the new cross-border seat created by the Boundary Commission in its latest review.

It includes communities in north Suffolk, including Bungay, Halesworth, Eye and Stowupland, and parts of south Norfolk including Diss and Harleston.

It has very little relationship with the current Waveney constituency, which is based on Lowestoft and will be renamed to reflect it mainly comprises of Suffolk's second largest town.

The candidates are: Andy Carter, Jed Dwight, Oliver Harvey, Lana Hempsall, Simon Jones, James Mallinder, Sarah Macken, Richard Rout, and Hannah Westropp.

East Anglian Daily Times: Norfolk councillor Lana Hempsall is on the Conservatives' shortlistNorfolk councillor Lana Hempsall is on the Conservatives' shortlist (Image: Conservative Party)

It is understood there were originally 200 applications to become the Conservative candidate in the seat - but that is only about half the number of applications that was being seen for safe seats in the run-up to the 2010 General Election.

Mr Carter is the current Conservative seat of Warrington South which he won with a majority of just over 2,000 in the 2019 General Election.

That seat has only minor changes in the next election - and his decision to seek a seat in East Anglia has already prompted claims that he is on the "chicken run," trying to get away from a seat that Labour looks odds-on to win next year.

Richard Rout is deputy leader of Suffolk County Council - and narrowly missed out on the nomination for the West Suffolk seat.

James Mallinder was a cabinet member at East Suffolk until May. He was one of the Conservatives to hold his seat as the Greens and LibDems took power at the council.

Lana Hempsall is a member of Norfolk County Council and Simon Jones is chair of Norwich Conservative Association.

It is widely believed that leading Conservatives from either side of the border will have difficulty in getting support from the other county.

And while the Tories are still to select their candidate the Greens have chosen joint party leader Adrian Ramsey to contest it - and it is one of their top targets in the country.