Lib Dems select Lewes general election candidate

Oli Henman Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Lewes
Oli Henman Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Lewes

The Liberal Democrats have selected their candidate to contest the next general election.

The party’s Norman Baker represented the constituency in Parliament from 1997 to 2015 but since then Conservative Maria Caulfield has been the area’s MP.

Norman Baker former MP for Lewes and Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Oli Henman

Norman Baker former MP for Lewes and Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Oli Henman

Oli Henman, a Lewes town councillor for the Castle ward, has been selected by the Lib Dems as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the next general election.

He was chosen at a packed meeting of party members at St Thomas à Becket Church Hall, beating out district council deputy leader James MacCleary and Eastbourne borough councillor Helen Burton for his party’s nomination.

Mr Henman, who lives with his wife and two primary-school age sons in Lewes, has worked for 20 years for international charities and is currently global coordinator at Action for Sustainable Development.

He greeted his selection with a quote from writer and campaigner Tom Paine: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

He worked as a parliamentary assistant to the former Lib Dem MP Paul Keetch when he was the party’s spokesperson against the Iraq War and Guantanamo Bay controversies.

Mr Henman was also the Lib Dems’ candidate in East Shoreham and Worthing at the 2017 general election.

He is a distant relative of the former tennis great Tim Henman.

The Lewes parliamentary seat, which also includes the towns of Seaford, Newhaven, most of Polegate and several villages, was held by the Conservatives throughout the 20th century until Norman Baker won it for the Liberal Democrats in 1997.

Mr Baker welcomed Mr Henman’s selection.

At the 2017 election Ms Caulfield increased her majority, with only the Lib Dems and Labour fielding candidates against her.

Since then the Greens, Lib Dems, Labour and independents have taken control of Lewes District Council from the Tories following May’s election.