ELECTION candidates for the Rayleigh and Wickford constituency will be appearing at a public hustings event this evening.

All candidates standing for election next month are due to take part in the debate at Sweyne Park School, Sir Walter Raleigh Drive, Rayleigh.

Doors open at 6pm for the debate, which starts at 7pm, but seating is unreserved and people are urged to arrive early to secure their seat.

The constituency was newly created in 2010, when Conservative Mark Francois achieved 57.8 per cent of the vote.

Mr Francois has been an MP since 2001, previously serving the now abolished Rayleigh seat.

Although traditionally a safe Conservative seat, there are signs of increasing Ukip support within the constituency.

In last year’s Basildon Council elections, three Ukip candidates were elected in Wickford.

Live coverage of the hustings will be provided on the Echo website, and full reaction to the event will appear in the paper next week.

The candidates for Rayleigh and Wickford are: Mark Francois (Conservative), John Hayter (Ukip), David Hough (Labour), Linda Kendall (Independent), Mike Pitt (Liberal Democrat), Sarah Yapp (Green).