A NEW candidate has been selected by Hendon Liberal Democrats to fight the next general election.

Matthew Harris, a 38-year-old from New Barnet, was selected to contest the seat against current Labour MP Andrew Dismore and Tory candidate Matthew Offord, Barnet Council's deputy leader.

Mr Harris, a former pupil of Christ's College School in Finchley, said: “I was delighted to be selected. It was a pretty rigorous process and I was asked a lot of tough questions.

“I've lived in Barnet all my life and I know this borough. I think MPs should be parliamentarians, peoples' representative for both national and international issues, not someone who goes around being a social worker.”

Mr Harris studied English at Oxford University and now works in public relations, but lists being a junior researcher on the Big Breakfast as his quirkiest job.

He is secretary of the Lib Dem Friends of Israel group.

In the 2005 elections, Mr Dismore beat off the Tories with a 2,699 vote margin, with the Lib Dems coming in third more than 8,500 votes behind.

Mr Harris said: “We have a couple of councillors who have been elected in Mill Hill ward and other places in north London have returned Lib Dem MPs, where a decade ago it would have been unthinkable.

“Obviously it's up to the electorate to decide who they want to be the MP for Hendon, but we hope to increase our support and get a good result.”

He said he supports the Lib Dem councillors on their stances over the planned Brent Cross redevelopment and said he wants the “right conditions put on the developers to help the community”.

He also questioned Barnet Council's plans for basing their services on a budget airline with the so called “easy council”, saying: “I have flown on budget airlines and I have to say if I were looking for a way to improve the council it is not the model I would use.”