Madeleine McCann's family spokesman will battle the country’s first Green MP for a key city seat.

Clarence Mitchell, who has acted as the spokesman for the family of the missing youngster for six years, will take on Caroline Lucas for the Brighton Pavilion constituency at the next general election.

Before his move into public relations, Mr Mitchell was a reporter for BBC News covering the Soham murders, the Fred West killings and the death of Princess Diana.

He also worked as director of the Government’s Media Monitoring Unit, controlling the flow of information to newspapers.

After being seconded by the Foreign Office to help the McCanns, Mr Mitchell resigned his government post after one month to become the family’s full-time spokesman.

He also works for PR firm Burson-Marsteller, “advising clients over engagement with both the British Government and the Conservative Party”.

But Mr Mitchell himself is no stranger to the headlines.

When he was a presenter on BBC News 24, he fell asleep during a night shift, forcing a producer |to stand in for him at short notice.

And in 2008, he was involved in a row with Portuguese police who accused him of “lying with as many teeth as he has in his mouth” after McCann family statements were leaked to the media.

At the time, Mr Mitchell accused police of masterminding the leak to overshadow the visit.

Mr Mitchell battled solicitor John-Paul Floru and marketing communications specialist Michelle Lowe to be selected for the Brighton Pavilion seat, currently held by Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Councillor Ann Norman, who chaired the selection meeting, said: “We are very pleased to have Clarence as the Conservative candidate as he is ideally placed and qualified to take the Brighton Pavilion Parliamentary seat back into Conservative hands as that is where it truly belongs.”

The election is expected to be held in May 2015.

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