LAST-minute parliamentary hopeful Bob Smytherman hopes to beat UKIP and the Green party into second at the general election.
The Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate told the Herald this afternoon he had ‘realistic’ hopes on May 7.
He replaced previous PPC Jemima Bland on Thursday (March 26), after she stepped down due to personal commitments.
Mr Smytherman, an ex-mayor, will step down from his current role as Worthing town crier while he fights the election.
He said: “I am both delighted and proud to be asked to represent the Liberal Democrats at the forthcoming election at such short notice.
“Realistically, I would like to beat Mike Glennon and James Doyle (Green). We should be second.
“I am hugely proud of what has been achieved in the coalition and in a way I hope I could have been a ‘coalition candidate’.”
Mr Smytherman would have to overturn a significant Conservative majority of more than 11,000 votes, after current MP Tim Loughton scored a landslide victory in 2010.
But election night may make for fascinating viewing, as UKIP looks to build on winning several seats in recent local elections.
UKIP has made the constituency one of its top targets, with West Sussex party leader Mike Glennon set to stand.
Mr Glennon said: “Bob is a fellow county councillor and I certainly wish him well in his campaign.
“I do understand that he is looking to try to finish second and I sincerely hope that he does beat Tim Loughton into third.”
The other candidates for the constituency are: James Doyle (Green), Tim Macpherson (Labour) and Carl Walker (National Health Action).