A CABINET minister has thrown her support behind Winchester’s Conservative candidate.

The Rt Hon Gillian Keegan, secretary of state for education, gave up part of her busy day to come to Winchester this afternoon to support Flick Drummond in her political campaign.

The launch was due to have taken place at the Statue of King Alfred this afternoon, with Mrs Keegan there to provide her support.

Hampshire Chronicle: Gillian Keegan outside Winchester CathedralGillian Keegan outside Winchester Cathedral (Image: Chris Atkinson)

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There was one problem. Mrs Drummond was not there, as the launch event for her campaign is scheduled for 2.30pm on Tuesday, June 4.

Asked about the false start, Mrs Keegan shrugged it off, and voiced her support for the Winchester candidate, telling the Chronicle that she believes Mrs Drummond is best choice for the city.

She said: “Flick is an absolutely brilliant campaigner; she is a brilliant MP.

“I have worked with her because she’s on the education select committee, so she holds me to account on a regular basis. She’s had a long history in education – it’s something she’s taken a massive interest in, and just before we broke-up for the election she was putting through a private members bill to ensure that children who were being educated at home were registered so we knew that everyone was definitely getting a good education.

“She is very well known – she has run for Parliament multiple times, I think she’s super well known.”

When asked if she has any concerns that the Tories will lose Winchester, Mrs Keegan said: “I think Flick would make a brilliant MP for Winchester.

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“The reality is the Lib Dems say one thing on a poster and tend to do something different, and we’ve definitely seen that is Chichester.

“This is an election where people have to look at the quality, look at what people have said, look at actions – words and actions need to match. We do have a clear plan, we have been working on that for many years, we believe we have turned a corner and got places like Winchester through the worse of the pandemic and other things that have happened in the last few years since the election.

“We do think we have the experience to well represent places like Winchester, and Flick is very experienced, a brilliant candidate, a great listener and a great doer.”

Mrs Drummond said: "We thought it was tomorrow. It was just a misunderstanding.”

The Winchester seat has been held by the Conservatives since 2010. Steve Brine announced he would be stepping down at the next election last year. 

Mrs Drummond has been the MP for the Meon Valley since 2019 - however this constituency has been removed and merged into Winchester or Fareham. 

As well as Mrs Drummond, the other confirmed candidates for the Winchester seat are: Danny Chambers (Lib Dem), Hannah Dawson (Labour), Andrew Davis (Social Democratic Party), Kevin D'Cruze (Independent) and Lorraine Estelle (Green).