A gay Conservative candidate has been selected to challenge Hazel Blears for her Manchester seat.

Matthew Sephton is the chair of the party’s affiliated gay group, LGBTory.

He was selected this weekend for the new Salford and Eccles constituency. The parliamentary constituencies for Salford and Eccles are currently being restructured and combined.

The area has traditionally been seen as a Labour safe seat, although Blears suffered badly in the expenses scandal, having avoided paying £13,000 on capital gains tax.

Local residents set up a ‘Hazel Must Go’ campaign to protest over her role in the expenses scandal and alleged hypocrisy over hospital closures.

Blears resigned from the cabinet in June but has said she will defend her seat at next year’s general election.

Sehpton, who works as a primary school teacher in Stockport, lives in Manchester.

He said: “Local residents in Salford have been badly let down and taken for granted by Labour and by Hazel Blears MP – at the next election there is a clear choice between five more years of Gordon Brown and Hazel Blears, and a fresh start with the Conservatives.”

He continued “As Ben Summerskill of Stonewall recently said, the Conservatives after the next general election are likely to have the biggest number of openly-LGBT MPs than any other party, and I’m proud to be selected to stand as one of many openly-LGBT candidates.

“It won’t be an easy road ahead but I’m looking forward to the challenge it brings. Our country is ready for change and I believe the Conservatives are the ones to offer that change, for a brighter future ahead for everyone.”