SOMERSET'S newest MP has announced which seat she will be contesting at the next general election.

Sarah Dyke become the Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome in a by-election held on July 20, held following the resignation of the incumbent MP David Warburton.

Ms Dyke’s constituency will cease to exist when the next general election is called, being split into two following a recent review by the Boundary Commission for England.

The MP has now announced she will be contesting the new Glastonbury and Somerton seat, setting up a rematch with Conservative candidate Faye Purbrick.

The new Glastonbury and Somerton seat essentially comprises the western half of Ms Dyke’s current constituency, including the towns of Bruton, Castle Cary, Langport and Wincanton – as well as her home village of Cucklington.

The seat also includes Glastonbury and the neighbouring village of Street, which are currently part of the Wells constituency.

Somerset County Gazette: Faye Purbrick, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Glastonbury and Somerton.Faye Purbrick, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Glastonbury and Somerton. (Image: Somerset Conservatives)

Speaking exclusively to the Local Democracy Reporting Services, Ms Dyke said: “These boundary changes have been forced upon us – this is not a decision I would like to have made so close to having won the by-election. Somerton and Frome is changing quite dramatically.

“Obviously lot of thought went into this. I know Frome very well – my partner lives there, I’ve grown up in the area, and Frome has always been a place that I know and love.

“However, I live in the new Glastonbury and Somerton constituency, and I can trace my family back here for 250 years.”

Ms Dyke said that her decision did not mean that she would be abandoning the people of Frome and the surrounding settlements between now and the next general election being called.

She said: “I have been elected to serve the constituency of Somerton and Frome. My work, right up until the next general election, will be focussed on the constituency that I represent.

“Frome will be absolutely within my remit – I’ve been working with lots of teams on lots of different initiatives. People should not feel that I am abandoning them.”

Tory challenger Faye Purbrick finished a distant second in the Somerton and Frome by-election, with Ms Dyke outpolling her Somerset Council counterpart by a two-to-one margin.

Faced with the prospect of a rematch, Ms Dyke said: “I have all respect for Faye – she’s a great councillor, and I know her well. But I’m going to be focussed on my own campaign, in exactly the same way as I did during the by-election.

“Faye is one of several candidates who are going to be looking to win the seat, but I will solely focus on what I can do – getting on there, knocking on doors, talking to people and making sure people know that I can be their local champion.”

The Lib Dems, like other parties, face difficult decisions about where they prioritise campaign funding when the general election is called.

Ms Dyke said she would not be fazed by fighting the general election with fewer resources than the by-election, pointing to the enthusiasm among local Lib Dem activists.

She said: “We’ve got a great legacy of Lib Dem representation in this area. David Heath was a fantastic MP between 1997 and 2015, and a lot of people remember him fondly, irrespective of the colour rosette that they voted for.

“I always say if I can be half as good as David, I know I can be a good constituency MP.

“We will be a target seat that the Lib Dems will be wanting to win, and we will get support from the central party. Our target is to get as many Lib Dems representing people in parliament as possible.

“We know what we’ve got to do – we’ve got huge enthusiasm across the constituency because of going through the by-election process. We’re ready for whenever the election is called.”

Ms Dyke remains a councillor in addition to her parliamentary duties, though she did recently step down from her role as portfolio holder for the environment and climate change, being replaced by Dixie Darch.

There is no legal obligation for councillors to stand down once they become MPs – and Ms Dyke said she would continue to serve in both roles until the general election was called.

She said: “My Blackmoor Vale division sits within my constituency, so I feel the roles compliment each other.

“My intention is very much to continue serving as a local councillor in the same way that Faye will be, and as Martin Dimery will be, even though he’s been selected the Green Party’s candidate for Frome and East Somerset.”

The Lib Dems have yet to formally announce their candidate for the Frome and East Somerset constituency.

The Tories confirmed on October 17 that Lucy Trimnell, the current unitary councillor for Wincanton and Bruton, would be contesting this seat for their party.

Somerset County Gazette: Lucy Trimnell will stand for the Tories in Frome and East Somerset.Lucy Trimnell will stand for the Tories in Frome and East Somerset. (Image: Somerset Council)

Mrs Trimnell (who lives in Pitcombe near Bruton) currently serves as shadow portfolio holder for public health, equalities and diversity – being the opposite number of Adam Dance, who will be standing for the Lib Dems in the Yeovil constituency.

The 50-year-old mother-of-three has pledged to support Somerset farmers from foreign competition, to push for further investment in the constituency’s towns to reduce the number of empty shops, and to support motorists through more funding to fix potholes.

She said: “I am determined to ensure that the people who live and work in Frome and East Somerset have strong representation both locally and in Westminster if I am elected.

“I will campaign tirelessly to promote and support our local farmers and I am committed to being a strong voice for them in parliament.”

The next general election must be held on or before January 28, 2025.