The Liberal Democrats have promised to fight for Somerset farmers and deliver “community-led” new housing as the general election campaign enters its final days.

Sarah Dyke has been campaigning for the party across the Glastonbury and Somerton constituency, seeking to return to Westminster following her victory in the Somerton and Frome by-election just under a year ago.

Layla Moran, the party’s foreign affairs spokesperson, paid a visit to Langport on Wednesday afternoon (June 26) to support Ms Dyke before both women headed to speak at the Glastonbury Festival (which lies in the same constituency).

In a short address to supporters outside Langport Library, Ms Moran said: “You can now drive through swathes of the country and never lose sight of these beautiful ‘winning here’ signs.

“They are lining not just the main roads in the towns, but remarkably the fields as well, because the farmers have also been let down the Tories and now no longer want to be voting for them either.

“We have covered the south east and south west with these diamonds. I keep saying to Labour and Green voters: if you don’t know who the challengers are, look up.”

Ms Moran – who is contesting the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency – said: “We’ve really put farmers at the heart of our manifesto. The war in Ukraine has just shown how important food production and food resilience is.

“But any farmer will tell you that you have to be able to do that and maintain biodiversity.

“The farmers I speak to in my areas of Oxfordshire feel really let down by the Conservatives who promised a lot, who said they were going to bring in ELMs [environmental land management schemes] and it’s not far enough.

“The Conservatives have ended up selling them down the river when it comes to international trade agreements, and they are so angry about that.”

Ms Dyke – who comes from a farming family – added: “Farmers here are really fed up, and they’re finding it really difficult to survive.

“I’ve spoken to farmers right across this patch who don’t know if they’re going to see the next 12 months because of the botched trade deals and the transition from the common agricultural policy to ELMs.

“Every farmer I know wants to be able to put food on the table, but they know they’ve got to balance food production with environmental protection for the countryside.”

The Somerset Levels has seen significant flooding over one of the wettest winters in recent memory, with large sections of farmland within the constituency being under water for weeks or even months at a time.

At the same time, around 18,000 new homes are being held up across the county as Somerset Council seeks to secure mitigation from developers to prevent any net increase in phosphates onto the Levels and Moors.

Ms Dyke (who represents the Blackmoor Vale division on the council) said: “It’s really important that we build homes that are in the right place, fit the future and for the right people.

“The Lib Dems have committed to building 380,000 new homes, and 150,000 of those will be affordable.

“A lot of my casework over the last 11 months has been around people not being able to get a roof over their heads and being really worried about where they go next.”

Ms Moran added: “The planning system currently can often let developers off the hook.

“You have a very top-down approach which has been shepherded by the Conservative Party, but by the looks of it Labour’s going to do it even more.

“What we want as Liberal Democrats is an approach which is community-led, bottom-up, with the right infrastructure in the right places – and where it floods, we want to say to developers: you cannot build here without the proper drainage and storage tanks in place.”

At a hustings event held in Langport on June 12, one of the major issues for local people was access to health services, including a lack of doctors’ appointments and the crisis in NHS dentistry.

Ms Dyke said: “We need to get the funding models correct – the system is essentially broken.  We’ve lost 56 doctors in Somerset since 2019.

“We will recruit 8,000 more GPs – there will be continuous recruitment, and we will seek to retain them in these more rural areas.”

Ms Moran added: “You can’t fix the NHS without also fixing social care.

“We will attract more people in the workforce with an extra £2 per hour on the minimum wage for care workers, and to have free personal care in your own home.

“We want to put down the swords and have a proper grown-up chat across all the parties in a royal commission about how we’re going to tackle the astronomical costs of residential care.”

At a hustings event in Yeovil on Monday evening (June 24), Conservative candidate Marcus Fysh warned that a Labour government would prioritise its traditional heartlands in the cities, leaving rural communities behind.

Ms Dyke said her record as MP for Somerton and Frome (having won a by-election in July 2023) demonstrated her ability to stand up for rural voters.

She said: “I’ve been in parliament for 11 months and I’ve spoken for my community 141 times in the House of Commons. I will continue to bang the drum.

“I can trace my family back 250 years to this constituency. I’m a farmer’s daughter, my brother is a farmer – that is what I do. I am so passionate about this area.”

Ms Moran said: “Families here don’t want to lose their young people, who then come to the cities and find themselves having to pay astronomical rents, when actually what they wanted to do was live here all along.

“The Liberal Democrat approach, whether rural or urban, is community-led – we understand you have to put the individual or the family at the heart of everything you think about.”

The complete list of candidates standing in the Glastonbury and Somerton constituency is as follows:

Tom Carter (Reform UK)

Jon Cousins (Green Party)

Sarah Dyke (Liberal Democrat)

Hal Hooberman (Labour)

Faye Purbrick (Conservative)