David Gauke has said being re-elected as the South West Hertfordshire MP “would be easier” if the Liberal Democrats did not stand there.

It comes after the MP, who announced yesterday he will stand as an Independent, said he was “impressed” by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and advocated that people vote for the party.

But now Mr Gauke believes Lib Dem voters should support him in the election despite Sally Symington set to stand for the party in South West Herts.

He said: “I believe the Lib Dems can’t win in this area.

“My task would be easier if the Lib Dems won’t stand or drop their campaign, but it is up to them.”

Mr Gauke also believes he can secure more votes than the Conservatives in South West Herts – an area the MP served since 2005 under the party before being sacked over his stance on Brexit earlier this year.

He said he wanted to put “country before party” and would deal with Brexit “in a sensible way”.

He continued: “I feel the deal put forward by the Prime Minister would be catastrophic since the plan is to break away from Europe without having same access to markets as well as security.

“Let’s be honest the favourites for this will be the Conservatives but I am the only one who can win it from them.”

Mr Gauke added his campaign has so far received endorsement from former Lib Dem and Tory councillors, as well as former Labour parliamentary candidates.

He continued: “I feel that I am very embedded in the area and I believe that I bring great integrity to South West Herts.

“It has advantages being in a national party, but I have the abilities to act as an Independent MP for this election and I think it’s the right answer for the election.”