VOTING has begun in today's by-election in the south London seat of Bromley and Chislehurst.

The by-election was brought about by the death of Tory MP Eric Forth last month.

Mr Forth died on May 17 after a battle with cancer.

At the 2005 general election, Mr Forth held the seat with a majority of 13,342. Labour and the Liberal Democrats received 22.2 and 20.3 per cent of the vote respectively.

The Conservative party have selected London Assembly member Bob Neill to contest the seat.

The local constituency party chose Mr Neill over two candidates from Tory leader David Cameron's 'A-list' - Julia Manning and Syed Kamal - and Mr Forth's widow Carol.

The full list of candidates standing are:

  • John Hemming-Clark, Independent;
  • Benjamin Peter Abbotts, Liberal Democrat;
  • Rachel Jane Reeves, Labour;
  • Anne Emily Jane Belsey, Money Reform Party;
  • John Sydney Cartwright, Official Monster Raving Looney Party;
  • Nigel Paul Farage, UK Independence Party;
  • Nicholas Alexandros Hadziannis, Independent;
  • Robert James MacGillivray Neill, Conservative;
  • Ann Christine Garrett, Green Party;
  • Steven Uncles, English Democrats;
  • Paul Winnett, National Front Britain for The British.

Mr Neill, who is favourite to reclaim the seat for the Conservatives, said: "It is a great honour to be selected.

"I have enjoyed representing the area for the past six years on the Assembly and I hope to have the opportunity to do so as its Member of Parliament."

Independent candidate Mr Hemming-Clark said: "The good people of Bromley and Chislehurst want a local person as their MP, someone who, like Eric, stood up for them both locally and in the House of Commons."

Labour candidate Rachel Reeves, who was runner up in the June general election last year to Mr Forth, said: "I'm passionate about my local area and it is a real honour to be selected again.

"Anything can happen in by-elections, therefore I feel I have a fighting chance of success."

Liberal Democrat councillor for Clockhouse ward Ben Abbotts said: "The Lib Dems are fighting to win in Bromley.

"Just a few votes could separate the Lib Dems and Conservatives on polling day.

"Labour and the Greens can't win here."

London MEP and UKIP candidate Nigel Farage said: "UKIP and Nigel Farage are the real voice of opposition.

"I look forward to a serious political battle."

Residents can vote in person (your poll card will tell you where to go), by post, or by proxy. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.