Caerphilly’s Tory General Election candidate has been dismissed by political rivals – because she comes from Brighton.
Last month the local Conservative Association selected Brighton and Hove City Councillor Maria Caulfield to stand in the Caerphilly constituency.
Her selection has been rubbished by Plaid Cymru’s Lindsay Whittle and Labour’s Wayne David.
Council leader Whittle, who is standing for Plaid in the upcoming election, said: “Nothing ever surprises me about the Tories. I see Caerphilly’s local Conservative Association have chosen a Tory councillor as its candidate for this year’s General Election.
“She is a councillor in that lovely part of Wales – Brighton and Hove.
“Clearly she’s not the least bit interested in Caerphilly having previously tried to win the Conservative Party nomination in Gosport.
“This says more about the Conservative Party in Wales. Clearly there is such a paucity of talent in Wales that they are forced to choose a candidate who was on the look-out for a seat, wherever it was.
“I trust the voters of Caerphilly to send her back to Brighton with her tail firmly between her legs.
“They want someone who knows and loves the area, not someone trying to use Caerphilly as a stepping stone to a political career.”
Wayne David, Caerphilly’s Labour MP, said Maria Caulfield’s selection showed a disrespect towards constituents by the Conservative Party.
He said: “I am sure the good people of Caerphilly will give a polite welcome but a firm rejection to Maria Caulfield.
“Selecting a candidate from Brighton and Hove shows how out of touch with South Wales the Conservative Party is.
“If they had more respect for the people of Caerphilly, they would select someone who lives close by or even in the local community.”
Ms Caulfield hit back at the criticism and said: “I don’t think you have to from an area to represent people effectively.
“Sometimes it is an advantage to work elsewhere and to see what can be done.
“I feel there are some big issues in Caerphilly which Caerphilly Council and the Labour Welsh Assembly Government haven’t tackled.
“Just because you are from the area doesn’t mean you are the best person to represent.
“I’ve been speaking to local people and I am there to represent them and to listen to what their needs are.”
She added that she will shortly be finding somewhere to live locally and will split her time between Brighton and Caerphilly.