BRIDGWATER'S former mayor Diogo Rodrigues has declared that he will stand as an Independent candidate at the upcoming general election for Bridgwater & West Somerset.

The 29-year-old business owner, town and district councillor and former Mayor of Bridgwater is looking to become the first Independent MP for the constituency, vying to replace Ian-Liddell Grainger.

On his intention to stand as a candidate Diogo said: “I had people contacting me asking me to stand as an Independent because they wanted someone who they know and trust to be their MP, and after speaking to so many people about it I decided that it was the right thing to do.

"We have a unique opportunity at this election to break down the divisive and failing politics of left and right and to build a real people powered politics that brings together people from all walks of life, united around a candidate they know and can trust to represent them.

"The people of Bridgwater & West Somerset have for too long been left without a real voice and without real representation in Parliament.

"They’ve been failed by a parliament unwilling to move forward and side-lining all the other concerns that people have.

"We deserve better. It’s time for some real change, it’s time for people to get the voice they deserve.”

Asked if he felt pressure from the big political parties by standing as an Independent he said: “No doubt that the big parties locally will come after me but I’m ready to put up the fight for Bridgwater & West Somerset and I feel that the people are ready too.

"I’m looking forward to campaigning over the next few weeks, building a real people powered movement and offering the change and the voice that people deserve.”