A TORY election candidate running to replace Winston Churchill’s grandson has denied moving to a safe seat days after she resigned as an MP for “personal” reasons.

Former employment minister Mims Davies has been announced as the candidate for Mid Sussex less than two weeks after she said she would not run in her original seat in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

In a statement on October 30, Ms Davies said she was struggling to “juggle the responsibilities” of being an MP and a single mother.

News of her candidacy for the Mid Sussex seat led some to suggest she had “insulted” her constituents in Eastleigh, a target seat for the Lib Dems.

One Lib Dem councillor said on Twitter: “Mims thinks she’ll lose Eastleigh so drops it like a hot rock and trots off to a safe seat in Sussex.”

But Ms Davies, 44, said any suggestion she had run to another constituency was “complete nonsense”.

“I left Parliament last week thinking I would never have the chance be an MP again,” she said. “However, I was asked to consider standing as a local candidate and I have now been selected on Saturday night in a selection meeting on merit.

“Selection as the new candidate for this seat has immediately ended my major problem of being pulled three ways after becoming a single parent and not being able to put my daughters’ interests first.

“That was the only reason I left the Eastleigh seat.”

Ms Davies said her children were “largely based in Sussex”.

Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex Robert Eggleston said he “totally understood” the reasons for Ms Davies’s move.

But he thought family reasons “probably did not come first” after she entered the selection process for the seat.

“Maybe she has realised she would prefer to stay in Parliament,” he said.

“I’ve been told by a few Conservatives that they’re not happy she has been chosen.

“Some feel she has been parachuted in by the party office.”

But Mr Eggleston said Mid Sussex was no longer a Tory stronghold.

Conservative Sir Nicholas Soames won the seat with a 19,000-vote majority in the 2017 General Election.

“I don’t think Mid Sussex is as safe as people think,” Mr Eggleston said. “We took a dozen seats from the Tories on Mid Sussex District Council in this year’s election.

“And in the European elections we received the second-highest share of the vote in Mid Sussex.”

Meanwhile Sussex politics was rocked as Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage announced he would not stand candidates in any Conservative-held seats.

Twelve of Sussex’s 16 seats are held by the Tories.

Mr Farage’s move could prove crucial for the Conservatives in Sussex marginals such as Crawley, Hastings, and Lewes.

Labour’s Peter Lamb, who hopes to prevent Tory Henry Smith from retaining his Crawley seat, said the result of the Brexit Party’s move would be “hard to predict”.

He said: “I don’t worry about what my opponents are doing.”