Within minutes of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing a July 4 general election, candidates for the new Witney constituency got their campaigns under way.

Robert Courts is the current Conservative MP for Witney and the seat has historically been held by Conservatives including former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd and former PM David Cameron.

Mr Courts won 55.2 per cent of votes in the 2019 general election with the Liberal Democrats second with 30.5 per cent.

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Changes to the parliamentary boundaries mean Faringdon, Kingston Bagpuize, Thames and Watchfield and Shrivenham in the Vale of White Horse District Council area are now in the Witney constituency.

Oxford Mail:

He said: "Serving as the Member of Parliament for Witney and Western Oxfordshire is the greatest honour of my life.

"I care passionately about our local community - at all times during the last eight years, I have strived to be a strong and effective voice in Parliament, championing the issues that matter most to us such as our green spaces, our heritage, our local businesses, our rural community and of course, our world-renowned RAF base in Brize Norton."

Liberal Democrat MP candidate Charlie Maynard said it will be a two-horse race.

He said: “At this election, there is a clear choice - the Liberal Democrats who are fighting for our local area or the out-of-touch Conservatives who have taken us for granted. Labour have declared Witney a 'non-battleground seat'.

“It’s clear this Conservative government has failed the Witney constituency. The NHS is on its knees, the cost-of-living crisis has hit people hard.

Oxford Mail: Charlie Maynard and Lib Dems

"Residents are fed up with sewage in the waterways and Thames Water overcharging for its failing system.”

Labour candidate Georgia Meadows, who at 22 could become Labour’s youngest ever MP and just the second openly trans member of the House of Commons, disagreed that Mr Maynard was the lead challenger.

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She said: "All polling sites predict Labour as the primary challenger to the Conservative Party in the new Witney constituency."

She said "everyone should have the right to a decent job and the education and experience required to achieve their goals".

"After 15 years of living in one of the most deprived areas of Oxfordshire and the next four in a care system where I faced abuse and exploitation, I'm standing to be our next MP," she said.

Oxford Mail: Georgia Meadows

"I'm standing because I believe everyone should have the opportunities that I didn't."

She added: "I will deal with some of the issues that matter most in our constituency, that starts with Thames Water.

"If elected, I will hold Thames Water to account, ensuring they face proper fines and that water bosses overseeing repeated illegal sewage discharges face trial.

"I will also work closely with our next government to help resolve the NHS dental crisis in our constituency. We will provide thousands more appointments and reform the NHS dental contract.

"With the advent of Great British Energy, we'll also ensure that our constituency and country have a sustainable future, with the needs of our communities placed above the want for profit.

"Real change is here - if you want it, then vote Labour."