Conservatives have revealed the candidate who will be defending the seat currently occupied by West Dorset MP Sir Oliver Letwin – and he's an arch Brexiteer.

Vocal no-deal opponent Sir Oliver, who was first elected to Parliament as MP for West Dorset in 1997, will be standing down at the next general election.

He had the Conservative Party whip withdrawn earlier this month after voting in favour of a motion for MPs to take control of parliamentary business, and he now sits as an Independent MP.

Brexiteer Chris Loder, described as a 'high-flyer in the rail industry' has beaten off competition from more than 100 applicants to become the new Conservative Parliamentary candidate for West Dorset.

He was chosen at a selection meeting at Beaminster School at the weekend.

Mr Loder voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum and is said to strongly support Prime Minister Boris Johnson in taking the UK out of the EU by October 31.

Mr Loder, 38, who lives at the family farm near Sherborne and is a former West Dorset district councillor, is head of new trains for Weymouth-Waterloo operator South Western Railway.

He played a key role in delivering the multi-million-pound Waterloo upgrade programme as well as improving train services to Dorset.

Mr Loder said among his priorities are post-Brexit prosperity for agriculture and tourism and getting better connectivity, including greater investment in road and rail infrastructure and improved rural bus services.

Andrew Graham, president of West Dorset Conservative Association, said: “We had a strong field of candidates and I congratulate Chris for being selected."