THE Conservative election candidate for Oxford East says she is best placed to champion local interests during the Brexit process.

Dr Suzanne Bartington, who lives in Witney and works as a clinical researcher in the city, admitted there were potential ‘challenges ahead’ for the constituency’s hospitals, university staff and workers at Cowley’s Mini Plant.

But she insists Brexit can be ‘a success for Oxford’, despite claims from the Labour-run city council that it will have ‘catastrophic consequences’.

Voters in the city backed Remain in last June’s referendum by 70 per cent.

Dr Bartington, 37, told the Oxford Mail: “I was a Remain campaigner, but we went through a democratic process last June and people have expressed their wish to leave the European Union.

“That is what the Conservatives are going to deliver and I’m 100 per cent behind Theresa May.

“It’s very important that we now move on and work to make it a success for Oxford and for the country.”

Labour’s Anneliese Dodds, the MEP from Rose Hill who is also standing in Oxford East, was in a weaker position to represent local people on Brexit because of her critical stance on the Government’s approach so far, Dr Bartington claimed.

She added: “There’s clearly a dialogue to be had on important issues such as the status of EU nationals and the BMW plant and an MP who is still pro-Remain is not going to be able to do that.

"If elected, I can work with Conservative colleagues in government to tackle challenges ahead.”

Responding this morning, Labour's Ms Dodds said: "I have already met with ministers from the Conservative government to argue for them to start protecting our industry and science here in Oxford. 

"Sadly though, they seem to have little idea of the damage their extreme Brexit is causing.

"For example, they seem totally unaware of the urgent need to protect the Culham fusion centre by resolving how we can continue to take part in European research programmes.

"Losing jobs here in Oxford will affect my neighbours and friends because I live here in Oxford - not in Witney."

"We also need an MP who can argue for Oxford's interests in Europe, given that our government is alienating so many EU governments.

"I have already been doing this as a Labour MEP."

Tory candidate Ms Bartington faces a difficult battle in Oxford East ahead of June 8's snap General Election.

The constituency has sent former Labour MP Andrew Smith to Parliament for the past 30 years. Mr Smith won a 15,000-vote majority in 2015 but retired from politics last week. 

Yesterday the Green Party announced Larry Sanders as its candidate for the constituency.

Mr Sanders’ brother Bernie Sanders was Hillary Clinton’s main rival in the Democratic candidate race in the States.