FOREST of Dean council leader Tim Gwilliam may have stood at next month’s General Election if the Brexit Party had not withdrawn from the contest, he has said.

Cllr Gwilliam would probably have stood as an independent against the other parties and, he confirmed on social media, considered putting his name forward.

But he believes the chance of winning and dislodging the Conservative’s Mark Harper now that the Brexit Party’s candidate, Parkend vicar Rev Sam Norton, has been withdrawn by his national party, means Mr Harper’s vote is unlikely to be split.

Cllr Gwilliam posted: “I just wanted to say a quick thank you to those who encouraged me to run in the General Election and even offered to support a campaign.

“I’ve said it before that there is nothing more humbling than someone wanting you to represent them.

“We did say a while ago that it would need a unified campaign to dislodge the current MP (Mr Harper) and once that was not going to happen, then the writing was on the wall.

“The Brexit Party standing and possibly dividing his vote did offer a window of opportunity which we would probably have followed.

“But, of course, that closed with the Brexit Party and Conservative deal that was done. It’s a pity as I think we could have done very well.”

He confirmed: “So I won’t be standing. I have, it is true, harboured ambitons to stand in the Forest.

“Much to do locally and we shall plough ahead putting the Forest before party politics.”

Reacting to it, posts said they were ’gutted’ that Cllr Gwilliam was not standing and saying ’maybe next time’.

Mr Harper will be up against the Green Party candidate Cllr Chris McFarling and Labour’s Cllr Di Martin at the election with the poll taking place on December 12.