SUPPORTERS of an ousted MP offered to pay his mortgage so that he could stand again in 2020.
Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd said he must find a job to pay off his mortgage after losing his Eastbourne seat to the Conservative candidate Caroline Ansell.
But his fans leapt to his rescue by creating a Facebook group and said if each of the 20,201 people who voted for him paid £9 each, his £175,000 mortgage would be paid off and he could concentrate on winning back his seat in five years.
Aid Harrison, 37, an electrician, of Seaside Road in Easbourne, said: “I saw Stephen’s post on Facebook after losing the election and his financial position and thought why not see if we can do something to help.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with him and I’ve seen first hand how passionate he was about the town.
“The group was set up to get some ideas about how we could show our support.”
Mr Lloyd was quick to dismiss the idea though.
He said: “I am terribly grateful for the kind thoughts of the many people who have signed up to a possible crowd-funding effort to raise money to help pay off my mortgage so I can fight again in 2020 as the Lib Dem candidate for Eastbourne.
“However, I cannot in all conscience support this effort.
“There are an awful lot of local people out there far worse off than me.”
He said he had only flagged up his £176,000 mortgage to illustrate he was not in a position to run a five-year campaign to be re-elected.
Mr Lloyd suggested people donate to the Save the Eastbourne District General Hospital campaign.
Mr Harrison added: “When he posted again to thank us but say there were more worthy recipients than him, we went with his wishes and we’re in the process of setting up the Just Giving page for the hospital.
“I’ve already had people say they’ll get the ball rolling with donations and Stephen himself has said he’ll donate £100. That’s the class of the man.
“He’s shown on many occasions, not just from the town’s point of view but on a personal level too, just how much he cares and supports.
“That’s become clear over the last couple of days with the amount of people coming forward to show their solidarity.
“He’s a fantastic man and it shows how much he means to the people of Eastbourne.
“I’d love for someone to turn around and tell me the election was a fix and he’s still in office.
“He’s put himself in one hell of a position for the people of this town, and I wish him all the best with whatever he does next.
“I’m sure he won’t be short of options, he’s liked by a lot of people and he’s a prominent figure in the town.”