Six candidates are in the race to represent Market Rasen, Caistor and Dunholme/Welton in Parliament.
Nominations closed last night for the May 7 elections, both for the local elections and the General Election.
West Lindsey District Council this morning confirmed five will be challenging Sir Edward Leigh for the constituency of Gainsborough.
The long-serving Conservative has been an MP for more than 30 years. Locally, the 64-year-old has been a vocal critic of wind turbines and has recently cited shrinking dole queues in West Lindsey as a sign of a strengthening economy, which he says would be damaged should Labour under Ed Miliband return to power.
Sir Edward last held the constituency with a majority of more than 10,000, when in 2010 he secured nearly half the vote. The Liberal Democrats came second.
However, this time around polling and academic analysis has put UKIP coming second, though the latest predictions on the Election Forecast UK website has a more open fight for second place, with Sir Edward now on 45%, Labour second on 20%, followed by UKIP on 15% and the Lib-Dems on 14%.
But it warns of “substantial uncertainty” in its forecasts.
The Labour candidate was confirmed as David Prescott, the son of former Labour heavyweight John (now Lord) Prescott.
The 44-year-old former BBC journalist now works in PR and lives just outside the constituency in Collingham, Nottinghamshire.
He promises a “fresh start” for the constituency, saying he will be a full-time MP and won’t take any second jobs.
UKIP’s candidate is John Saxon, whose background includes running a couple of development agencies in South Yorkshire.
The former Labour voter, who also has an RAF background, lives in Corringham, near Gainsborough, but prior to living in France, spent many years living in the Rasen area, with a son educated at De Aston School, Market Rasen.
The 65-year-old seeks a Britain that can “sail its own ship” outside the European Union.
Savings from EU contributions, cutting the foreign aid budget and scrapping HS2 would leave “sufficient funds to strengthen Police, Fire and Public Services and the Armed Forces.” The NHS would also be better managed.
The Liberal Democrat candidate is district and county councillor Lesley Rollings. The Pilham resident is keen to attract inward investment to the constituency and says she will be a stronger advocate in parliament for West Lindsey.
The Green Party candidate is Geoffrey Barnes of Market Rasen. The Deputy Director of North East Lincolnshire Care Trust is targeting the NHS in his campaign, accusing both Labour and the Conservatives of ‘privatising’ it.
Fiskerton councillor Chris Darcel is standing for the Lincolnshire Independents. The district councillor is a vocal critic of West Lindsey’s ‘entrepreneurial’ approach to operating commercial services to generate revenues to offset government funding cuts. He says unlike those in parties, Independents “cannot be bought” and because they are not ‘whipped’ to toe a party line, they can better represent their constituents.
The confirmation of candidates comes as the campaign for Gainsborough steps up a notch.
Today, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson visits Market Rasen with Labour PPC David Prescott, appearing in the March Hare at 6pm, followed by a fundraising dinner at Hemswell Court.
This afternoon, Lib-Dem candidate Lesley Rollings will be campaigning in Market Rasen.
Tomorrow, UKIP Energy spokesman Roger Helmer MEP will be in Market Rasen.
And on Tuesday, Sir Edward Leigh starts his constituency campaign tour.
A visit by Justice Minister Chris Grayling to Market Rasen has been put back a week until next Tuesday (21st).
Let battle commence!