Election 2017: Former Bread star Giles Watling to fight Clacton for Tories for third time
PUBLISHED: 17:18 30 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:46 02 May 2017
Former Bread star Giles Watling is hoping to make it third time lucky when he tries again to be elected as Conservative MP for Clacton next month.
Mr Watling, 64, fought the by-election in the seat in 2014 and the general election a few months later when he managed to bring down Douglas Carswell’s majority from 12,404 to 3,487.
Clacton is seen as the Conservative’s top target seat in the region after Mr Carswell’s decision to leave UKIP and then to stand down at the General Election.
The former MP, who defected from the Tories in 2014, has already said he will be supporting the Conservative candidate in the general election.
Mr Watling’s main opponent in the general election is likely to be new UKIP candidate Jeff Bray. Both men are members of Tendring District council.
Mr Watling was selected by the party on Saturday – he said earlier in the week that he would like another crack at the seat.
He and his family have lived in Frinton for many years and have run the town’s summer theatre.
He is a successful actor – in the 1980s he starred in Carla Lane’s “Bread” as Oswald – and has appeared in many other television shows and films.
Mr Watling is a Conservative member of Tendring council and is portfolio holder for planning and regeneration on the council.
Clacton is the only seat in Essex and Suffolk not currently held by the Conservatives, and the party is expected to put a great deal of effort into winning back what the party considers to be a “natural” seat for them to hold.
In 2015 the party put a great deal of effort into trying to win back the seat – including sending then Prime Minister David Cameron to Tendring Technology College to try to attract more votes to the candidate.
Also planning to stand in the seat is Independent Caroline Shearer – mother of murdered Jay Whiston and campaigner against knife violence – and Green Party candidate Chris Southall.
Labour is expected to select its candidate for the seat on Tuesday along with candidates for all other seats in the region.