A FORMER European election candidate has been chosen to fight David Amess at the next General Election.

The Liberal Democrats have appointed Peter Welch to contest the Southend West seat.

The party believes he will bring wide experience of politics at national and international level to a parliamentary seat they have always had hopes of winning.

In 1997, the Liberal Democrats were in second place to Tory MP Mr Amess, but were forced into third at the last two elections.

Mike Grimwade, chairman of Southend Liberal Democrats, said: “Peter’s experience as an auditor includes looking at the way the UK Government spends our money in Whitehall, working in South America and with the United Nations.

“Most recently he has been part of the team which identified the problems in the European Union accounts.”

Southend Council leader Graham Longley will again be the party’s candidate in Rochford and Southend East.

He fought the seat in 2006, when he was successful in doubling the party’s vote.

Mr Grimwade added: “We are delighted with our choice of parliamentary candidates to take us towards the next General Election.

“They give us a unique blend of background and skills, ranging from local roots to national and even international level.”

Mr Welch said: “I am enormously pleased to be part of a team which is battling hard for the residents of the town.

“There is a very strong Liberal Democrat tradition in Southend West and it is a privilege to be taking that forward.”