Sussex’s only Reform UK councillor is standing as a candidate at the general election.

Hastings Borough councillor Lucian Fernando defected from the Conservatives to the party, founded by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, in May.

He will stand in the redrawn Hastings and Rye constituency at the general election, expected sometime next year.

The seat is currently represented by Conservative MP Sally-Ann Hart.

Announcing his bid to enter Parliament, Cllr Fernando said that he has a “deep understanding of our local issues and a first-hand look at the challenges and opportunities that our community faces every single day”.

“Hastings and Rye holds a special place in my heart and I’m committed to ensuring that our constituency continues to thrive,” he said.

“From the bustling streets of Hastings to the serene landscapes of Rye, our community deserves a representative who not only understands the local pulse but is also dedicated to bringing about positive change, which the current Conservative MP doesn’t know about.

“I have worked tirelessly as a councillor, collaborating with community leaders, listening to concerns and advocating for policies that uplift us all. I am excited to take this commitment to the next level.

“Together, we can address the pressing issues that matter most, from boosting our local economy and ensuring access to quality health care, to championing education, fisheries and preserving our natural environment.

“Let’s build a brighter, more prosperous future for Hastings and Rye.”

The Argus: Councillor Lucian FernandoCouncillor Lucian Fernando (Image: Reform UK)

Reform UK calls for an end to net zero policies, cuts in corporation tax for small businesses and the self-employed and “net zero immigration”.

Cllr Fernando will face off against current MP Sally-Ann Hart as she seeks re-election, and Labour candidate Helena Dollimore.

Since the constituency was created in 1983, Hastings and Rye has elected an MP from the party that went on to form the next government.

Current forecasts from election prediction website Election Calculus suggest Labour will win the seat by a comfortable majority with 52.2 per cent of the vote.

The Conservatives are forecast to come a distant second with 25.9 per cent, with Reform UK third with eight per cent.

Reform UK plans to stand candidates in every constituency at the next general election.