A LIBERAL Democrat candidate has claimed that a Conservative MP is out of touch with the views of her constituents.

James MacCleary, who will stand in Lewes at the next general election for the party, slammed current MP and health minister Maria Caulfield for her comments that constituents want the government to “get on with the job”.

Speaking to The Argus earlier this week, Ms Caulfield said: “Once we’ve got a new Prime Minister in place and a more stable period of time, it’ll be back to business as usual and back to the day job”.

However, Mr MacCleary said that people he has been speaking to around the constituency have told him “a very different story”.

%image('14332104', type="article-full", alt="Lewes MP and health minister Maria Caulfield said that the Conservatives can \"absolutely\" win the next election")

He said: “Maria Caulfield is an expert at trotting out the party line no matter how far it is from reality and that has stood her in good stead for advancing her ministerial career in Westminster.

“I’m sure ministers like her would love to just get back to their Whitehall offices away from angry constituents to carry on with business as usual.

“However, in the real world on the doorsteps in Seaford, Polegate, Newhaven, Lewes and our villages, there is anger and frustration with her government’s failure to get to grips with the cost of living crisis and struggling public services.”

Mr MacCleary also said that residents in the marginal seat want a general election to make their own judgement on whoever wins the Conservative leadership election.

“Whichever candidate the Conservatives anoint as our new Prime Minister will have no mandate and should put their plans to the country, so people can decide for themselves,” he said.

%image('14332110', type="article-full", alt="James MacCleary (left) with Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey")

Ms Caulfield said that the Tories can “absolutely” win a fifth term in office at the next election, which is expected to be in 2024.

She said: “People are keen that we are able to get on with the job.

“As soon as we’ve got a new Prime Minister and a new team in place, it will be back to the day job.”

Political forecasting website Electoral Calculus currently predicts that Mr MacCleary will win the constituency of Lewes from Ms Caulfield with an estimated majority of around 2,500 votes,