SMALL businesses and local views will be the backbone of independent candidate Pele Barnes' campaign for the upcoming general election.

Mr Barnes, who runs a cheese and deli business called Gouda Karma Ltd, works in markets across the county, which he says helps him gauge public opinion.

He was born and raised in Bridgwater and has previously said he will be a “true local representative of working people” if he is elected.

He will run for the new Bridgwater seat against the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party in the election on July 4.

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After Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed the election date, Mr Barnes said: “I welcome a decision on a date for the general election, however see the short timing as a political move by the Conservatives hoping to benefit with the younger voters being on holidays and not giving potential poll stations and staff effective notice to arrange set up.

“I've been out on market days working, hearing the public's views, and the large majority of people simply have lost trust in the big three parties and want true change. 

“I'll be providing just that with my new party (Somerset Unionist Party) coming into place focusing on small businesses, local support and trust in a candidate who is not tied in with shareholders or benefactors.”

Mr Barnes will appear as an independent on the ballot paper because the Somerset Unionist Party has not yet been registered with the Electoral Commission.