Former Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey to stand in general election

Jon Sharman
Former Energy Secretary Ed Davey: PA

Former Cabinet minister Ed Davey has confirmed he will stand in the June general election.

The Liberal Democrat ex-Energy Secretary claimed his party was "the only really effective opposition to the Tories' hard Brexit" as he announced he would attempt to re-take his old Kingston and Surbiton seat.

He was deposed by Conservative James Berry in 2015, who overturned a majority of more than 7,000 on a night that saw the departure of almost all Lib Dem MPs — including Vince Cable, who has also said he will run again this year.

Mr Davey told The Independent: "We will be the surprise in this election, we will do far better than people currently think. Clearly the Tories are going to hammer Labour. But we can take some [seats] back.

"We need a strong opposition and many Liberal Democrat MPs in Parliament to hold this very right-wing government to account on hard Brexit and slashing the social infrastructure of our country.

"We've been winning council seats, and seats that voted solidly to Leave."

Asked why his former constituents would take him back just two years after rejecting him, Mr Davey said there had been a "dramatic change" in the political debate. "People can now see what the Tories actually represent."

A hard Brexit would constitute an "appalling threat to our economy," he said, and predicted Conservative and Labour voters would defect to the Lib Dems.

Mr Berry won Kingston and Surbiton by some 2,800 votes in 2015, representing a 15.3 per cent loss in vote share for Mr Davey, who had held the seat since 1997.

Contacted earlier on Tuesday before Mr Davey's announcement, Mr Berry said: "He'll try. I'm looking forward to standing on my record and the Government's, if a little sooner than expected."