FORMER Bridgwater mayor Diogo Rodrigues has announced he is dropping out of the race to become MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset.

Town and district councillor Diogo had planned to stand as an Independent candidate, but says he felt the chances of Conservative Ian Liddell-Grainger being ousted were improved if he stepped down his candidacy.

In a post of Facebook this afternoon (Monday, November 11) Mr Rodrigues said: "This election is probably one of the most important elections in recent history.

"While it has been called due to Brexit, it’s not the only thing that needs addressing at this election - there is so much more that needs tackling, such as the damaging effects that Universal Credit is having on ordinary people and the housing crisis, which is forcing so many to turn to foodbanks

"Bridgwater & West Somerset desperately needs change, and desperately deserves a representative in Parliament who will give them a voice.

"The best chance of giving people back their voice is by replacing Ian-Liddell Grainger.

"The best way of doing that (under this unfair first past the post system) is by reducing the amount of opponents taking part in the election against him.

"It is for that reason that I have taken the extremely difficult decision to step away from this general election campaign and, as a result, I hope, increase the likelihood of one of the other candidates replacing Ian-Liddell Grainger.

"This is especially important, with the Brexit Party standing down from so many constituencies.

"I would like to thank those who have supported me in my campaign so far, and sincerely hope that you understand my reasons for doing this."

With the Brexit Party's Alexander Waugh also not standing in Bridgwater in West Somerset, it leaves the main party candidates confirmed as Conservative Ian Liddell-Grainger, Oliver Thornton standing for Labour and Bill Revans for the Liberal Democrats running for the position.