Giles Watling is the Conservative candidate for Clacton and became its MP in 2017.

Our first question to Mr Watling is why he is qualified to be the area's MP.

Mr Watling said: “I know this area - I've been here since 1957 on and off.”

Mr Watling said  the “defence of the realm” was the most important issue of the General Election, including immigration, which he believes should be a “defence matter, not one for the Home Office.

He added: “It is the first duty of Government, and we must remain committed to that principle.

“I raised my family here, I ran a business here. It's in my DNA. I am proud of the place I live and that's why in 2007 I became a councillor, and then in 2014 I ran as the Parliamentary candidate.

“I am proud of my achievements here."

Campaigning - PM Rishi Sunak with Clacton MP Giles Watling Campaigning - PM Rishi Sunak with Clacton MP Giles Watling (Image: PA)

A topic that has been dominating the media’s coverage of General Election is the alleged gambling controversary where one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s closest aides allegedly placed a £100 bet on  a July polling day, three days before the date was named.

At the time of writing, the BBC reports that four senior Conservatives are now being investigated by the Gambling Commission.

In response to a question on why voters should trust him and the Conservative party after these allegations, Mr Watling said: “With a group of 650 people you will find a few fools, and I think it was incredibly foolish - if not criminal - to engage in insider trading in this way.

“Most people I see in the House of Commons of all political stripes are hardworking people trying to do the best by their community, and it is unfair that their good work is undermined by a few bad apples.

Mr Watling said he was “utterly thrilled” to find out about Nigel Farage standing for Clacton, adding: “I spent seven years putting Clacton firmly on the map and Farage's arrival has helped that.

“It has elevated this campaign to new levels. He is welcome here as a visitor, and I will be pleased to show him around the constituency that I have known so well since 1957."

I also asked whether Prime Minister Rishi Sunak enabled the ‘rise’ of Reform UK?

Mr Watling said: “No. Reform has been about since before Rishi was PM."

Parliament - Giles Watling has been the member of Parliament for Clacton since 2017Parliament - Giles Watling has been the member of Parliament for Clacton since 2017 (Image: Parliament)

Jaywick Sands is the most deprived area in the country, and I asked Mr Watling what he has done to help this since being elected.

He said: “Jaywick's deprivation can be traced to its development over the decades, and it has taken years to bring Jaywick into line with the national planning framework.

“Improvements are being made and I am pleased to have helped to bring in £7.8million investment into Jaywick for the Sunspot Centre to bring work and leisure.

"Furthermore, in 2014 I brought the transport secretary to Jaywick to show him the state of the roads, and in no time at all we have made massive improvements with government help."

Mr Watling also said that even when he was a councillor, that the council managed to bring “upgraded, flood-proof homes into the area for the betterment of residents”, adding: “I realise there is much more work to do here, because we had to start from scratch.”

On the history and legacy of Brexit, Mr Watling said the Conservatives “were the only party to get Brexit done as a result of the referendum” and “since that time we have defied expectations”.

He said: “Britain is now the fourth biggest exporter on the world stage."

Regarding defence, Mr Watling said he has “repeatedly asked” for an increase to three per cent of the GDP spend to “ensure that our service personnel are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve” as well as to “make us secure in these uncertain times”.

The policy is currently 2.5 per cent, but Mr Watling says that he thinks "more must be the order".

Hub - Giles Watling said he wanted Hub - Giles Watling said he wanted to get a Primary Care Hub for Clacton Hospital(Image: Parliament)

When asked about environmental issues and sewage dumping, Mr Watling said: “The Government has done more than any other to deal with sewage dumping.

“Clacton has done more than its fair share in leading the green revolution, as we have the largest arrays of offshore wind power in the world just off our coastline, doing our part to lower emissions.”

He added: “We're an incredibly green space, and I've been planting trees in Brook Park to improve our environment - and encourage others to do the same.”

Mr Watling said one of his first projects was to “enhance and improve Clacton Hospital” due to the “fairly elderly demographic” making him want to keep “health services local”.

He said: "To that end, we created the community diagnostic centre at Clacton Hospital, and recently opened the urgent treatment centre.

“Now I plan to help us get a primary care hub to Clacton Hospital to enable GPs to work together and share assets to improve services.”

When asked about voter turnout, Mr Watling added: “I sincerely hope that the turnout in Clacton will be high, and that people previously unengaged will turn up to vote for me and stop the Farage circus in its tracks”.

“Nigel doesn't care two hoots about Clacton - this is all about Nigel.”