The Lib Dems have selected a lawyer with extensive experience in the oil, gas and power industry as their candidate for the new Farnham & Bordon constituency.
Khalil Yousuf is the managing director of Flexible Lawyers and has an office in Farnham. He also claims to have strong ties to community groups across the constituency including the Ahmadiyya Muslim community based in Tilford.
His brother, a GP, lives in Bordon where Khalil is planning to soon make his own home.
Mr Yousuf is bilingual, speaking Urdu as well as English, and unsuccessfully represented Crawley as its Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in the 2019 general election.
His online LinkedIn profile states he has recently served on senior management and leadership teams at BP, Castrol, Shell Energy, a well-established US hedge fund and number of aircraft operators.
The new Farnham & Bordon constituency encompasses 20 wards across Bordon, Farnham and Haslemere.
Mr Yousuf's selection comes after a seat-by-seat YouGov poll published this week in The Daily Telegraph forecast Farnham & Bordon to be a Lib Dem 'gain'.
The Farnham & Bordon election is currently a two-horse race between the just-announced Lib Dem candidate Mr Yousuf and the Conservatives’ hopeful Greg Stafford, who was the first to be announced last September.
Other major parties including Labour and the Greens are yet to put forward candidates.
Mr Yousuf has already identified the cost-of-living crisis, river pollution and NHS waiting lists as the three cornerstones of his campaign.
He said: “Sadly, far too many hard-working families across our constituency are struggling to pay their bills because of a cost-of-living crisis that is only getting worse. It is a travesty that families have to rely on food banks and volunteer support to make ends meet.
“Little has been done to clean up the River Wey, which is still filled with hazardous pollution from sewage dumped by Thames Water.
“And our health service has been starved of proper funding and clinician driven management for far too long.
“The result is that when our constituents become unwell, they can’t get an appointment to see their GP in a reasonable time.
“As at July 2023, waiting lists for diagnostic tests in Frimley Health NHS Trust reached more than 36,199, up 57 per cent on 2019. In Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trusts, 12,563 people were on diagnostic tests waiting lists, up 29 per cent on 2019.
“We need a strong Liberal Democrat voice in Parliament to challenge these and other injustices. If elected, my job as an MP will be to serve the 75,000+ residents of this constituency; to be their advocate, their defender and a relentless voice for them in Parliament.
“I am determined to succeed in that.”
Farnham & Bordon is a new cross-border parliamentary seat including the Surrey towns of Farnham and Haslemere and villages including Hindhead, and parts of East Hampshire including Bordon, Liphook, Grayshott and Lindford.
The BBC has also identified the Conservatives and Lib Dems as the main parties targeting the seat – but without concrete polling data from past elections, Labour are hopeful of pulling off an upset too.