FORMER mayor Bob Smytherman will stand for MP against Tim Loughton in May after the Liberal Democrats candidate Jemima Bland pulled out of the running, the Herald has learned.
‘Personal circumstances’ have led Mrs Bland to move away from the area and she officially stepped down as prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) for East Worthing and Shoreham this morning.
Mr Smytherman, best known for his enthusiastic year as Worthing mayor in 2013/14, is a borough and county councillor for Tarring.
Mrs Bland said: “Bob is an excellent candidate who has worked tirelessly with me over the past few years to support our campaign.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during the past few years and I wish Bob every success.”
Mr Smytherman now faces the challenge of getting the Lib-Dems’ campaign back on track, after the late change in PPC.
Born in Lancing, he worked for many years at Old Nick’s burger bar in the Royal Arcade, before running his own business in 2000 running a coffee shop concession in Shoreham.
He also worked as a night porter at the Chatsworth Hotel.
He said: “I am both delighted and proud to be asked to represent the Liberal Democrats at the forthcoming election at such short notice.
“Jemima has worked tirelessly for the party since she became PPC over 2 years ago and I look forward to defending the Lib-Dem record in coalition over the last five years as candidate in the constituency where I grew up.”
Mr Smytherman has also held the role of Worthing town crier but will not continue in the apolitical post while he fights the election.