The Conservative party has stepped up its search for a new candidate to contest next year’s General Election in Braintree.

Serving MP Brooks Newmark will not stand again after he was caught sending explicit photos of himself to people on social media.

Braintree Council leader Graham Butland ruled himself out of the contest and said: “I think we are looking for someone who is going to be around for a long time.

“Personally I want someone who is going to be a big hitter who has a reasonable chance of making it into high ministerial office and can make a real contribution to the country."

The post is due to be advertised in the coming weeks.

The contest will be open to all members of the Conservative party from the Braintree constituency as well as anyone on the national party’s candidate list.