WITH a Tory majority of 14,769 Ribble Valley should be the safest of safe Tory seats.

But candidate Nigel Evans knows that in unusual times, it isn’t.

He lost the constituency in the 1991 by-election caused by Tory MPs David Waddington’s appointment as governor of Bermuda to Liberal Democrat Mike Carr by 4,601 votes.

The campaign was unpleasant with attacks on Mr Evans Welshness and allegations of government high-handedness.

At the General Election months later he turned the tables by 6,542 votes and never looked back becoming an adopted favourite son.

In March 2013 Mr Evans was arrested on sexual assault charges, changing the political picture.

Cleared a year later, he now has a fight on his hands with UKIP’s Shirley Parkinson expected to eat into his vote.

He faces seven candidates, including local shopkeeper David Brass who stood in 1991.

Mr Evans will hope his Euro-scepticism and hard work on local issues such as dairy farming and housing developments will see him through.

Bookies odds of 1/33 for Tory victory suggest they will, but he can expect a much reduced majority.

The candidates are: Grace Astley, Independent; David Brass, Independent; Nigel Evans, Conservative; David Hinder, Labour; Tony Johnson, Independent Political Alliance Party; Shirley Parkinson, UKIP; Jackie Pearcey, Liberal Democrat; and Graham Sowter, Green.