Benfleet campaigner set to fight for disgraced MP's seat

Echo: Former Benfleet resident and Tory spokeswoman Maria Hutchings Former Benfleet resident and Tory spokeswoman Maria Hutchings

A TORY spokeswoman who hails from Benfleet could stand in a by-election after disgraced MP Chris Huhne quit yesterday after admitting perverting the course of justice.

It is expected Maria Hutchings, who now lives in Hampshire, will stand in the Eastleigh by-election when it is called following the former energy secretary’s resignation.

He pleaded guilty to making his then wife, Vicky Pryce, take his penalty points so he would not be prosecuted for a speeding offence that happened ten years ago on the M11 near Stansted Airport.

The mum-of-four, who is a fierce campaigner for better rights for disabled children, famously ambushed Tony Blair in 2005 about the issue on a Channel 5 discussion programme.

She was chosen as one of the Tory party’s top 100 potential MPs a year later in 2006 and was the Conservative candidate for Eastleigh in 2007.

Her son, who suffers from autism, used to attend Cedar Hall School, in Thundersley - which caters for pupils with complex learning difficulties.

Mrs Hutchings wasn’t available for comment yesterday.

But Charlie Daniel-Hobbs, a local activist in Eastleigh, said: “Maria has worked extremely hard, she is very popular and has been on the ground speaking to residents week in week out for the last couple of years.

“She stood here in 2007 and is committed to the area and will be getting back out there on the streets in the next few weeks.”

Mrs Hutchings has been involved in politics since she was 14 and had previously canvassed for the Labour party.

She said she changed her allegiance to the Tories when Tony Blair lost his grip on the agenda of social justice in the country.

Comments (3)

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8:39pm Wed 6 Feb 13

John T Pharro says...

Rebecca Harris was a Councillor in Christchurch and then moves to Hadleigh to stand for MP in Castle Point. Mrs Hutchings moves from Benfleet to Eastleigh, not that far from Christchurch, and stands as MP.
Will we ever get an MP who lives and stands without being bused in and then say how committed they are to the area?
Rebecca Harris was a Councillor in Christchurch and then moves to Hadleigh to stand for MP in Castle Point. Mrs Hutchings moves from Benfleet to Eastleigh, not that far from Christchurch, and stands as MP. Will we ever get an MP who lives and stands without being bused in and then say how committed they are to the area? John T Pharro
  • Score: 1

2:26am Thu 7 Feb 13

emcee says...

A bit like football teams. Nobody is ever from the town they represent.
A bit like football teams. Nobody is ever from the town they represent. emcee
  • Score: 0

11:51am Thu 7 Feb 13

Cosmo Spring says...

all those lovely expenses beckon.....
all those lovely expenses beckon..... Cosmo Spring
  • Score: 1

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