UKIP has selected the candidate who will challenge for the North East Hampshire seat held at next year’s General Election.

Rob Blay has been selected as the UKIP representative who will go head-to-head with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Conservative deputy leader, Ranil Jayawardena. Both are bidding to follow in the footsteps of current Tory MP James Arbuthnot when he stands down next year.

Mr Blay, who is a part-qualified accountant, has worked for international banks including the Bank of New York and the Bank of Italy, and was chosen as the prospective parliamentary candidate at a UKIP hustings event at the Elizabeth Hall, in Hook.

The 54-year-old, who lives in Hartley Wintney, was delighted to have been chosen as the candidate to take on the challenge of becoming the next MP.

He told The Gazette: “I was very pleased to be selected, and I set up the North East Hampshire branch of UKIP with the view to being the candidate here.”

If elected, the prospective parliamentary candidate plans to use his role as an MP to lobby for changes in the NHS through the use of more supplements such as Vitamin C and Magnesium in partnership with pharmaceutical drugs.

Mr Blay also wants to campaign for the abolition of the road tax, claiming that he doesn’t think it “makes any money” and plans to deal with the unfairness of banks, which he said “continue to cause so much distress for people who are on low incomes”.

The father-of-two, who believes he has got a good chance of winning the historically-safe Conservative seat, said: “I have been with the Tories before and I know how they tick, and I have knowledge of the Tory candidate, and I am certain the Tories are beatable.

“In North East Hampshire, UKIP has a fantastic chance of winning and if we do win, the boost that would give UKIP nationally would be immense because we would have taken over one of the safest seats in the country.”

He continued: “My plan is to work full-time in politics because that’s the only way to beat the Tories. It is about making sure you are there talking to people and listening to what they want to see done, and are listening to their concerns.”