FORMER anti-sleaze MP Martin Bell has backed an independent candidate hoping to oust Commons speaker John Bercow at next month’s General Election.

The former war correspondent and independent MP backed John Stevens, one of several candidates fighting Mr Bercow for Buckingham.

He will visit the constituency on April 15.

Some residents are unhappy that the three main parties are not challenging Mr Bercow, which is in keeping with Commons tradition.

Three independents, a British National Party candidate and UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage have so far lined up to challenge Mr Bercow, whose left-leaning views have angered some Conservatives.

Mr Bercow was a Tory MP but is standing as an independent, as is custom for speakers.

Princes Risborough and Icknield will move into the constituency at the May 6 vote.

Mr Bell – who defeated MP Neil Hamilton for Tatton, Cheshire in 1997 - said: “We need to restore public trust in public life.

“I believe that the Speaker’s constituency would be a very good place to start.

“John Stevens is a candidate of experience and integrity who will represent the people and not a party. I fully endorse and support him.

“I hope he will be one of a group of Independent MPs who will be a force for honest politics in the next Parliament.’ Mr Stevens said; “This is a very significant boost to our campaign for clean politics and change.

“I am absolutely delighted that Martin Bell will be coming to our area to support me, and pleased that his support underlines the fact that both John Bercow and Nigel Farage represent the old, discredited politics of the past.”

Details of the visit have yet to be announced. Mr Hamilton hit headlines over allegations he took cash to ask questions in the Commons.

Bosses at UKIP today announced Mr Farage, currently a member of the European Parliament, will launch his election campaign at Buckingham Community Centre on Tuesday night.

He will be joined by UKIP leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch and journalist Christopher Booker. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 7pm.

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