THE Conservative candidate who will stand against Layla Moran at the next general election has said benefits must be raised.

James Fredrickson will stand as the Tories' candidate in Oxford West and Abingdon whenever the next general election is held.

He met Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, and said he pressed for an unfreezing of benefits in the Spending Review, which will be held later this year.

Mr Fredrickson said: “A number of vital benefits to help those most in need in our community have been frozen since 2016.

"With the pressures of inflation, the increase in the number of people using foodbanks and the improvement in the Government’s finances, I believe it is time to lift the freeze and increase the help we are able to give to those most in need in our society."

He said: "I refuse to be a politician that calls for more money for services without engaging in a discussion about how that is financed, but as national debt as a percentage of GDP is now falling, it is high time we turned our attention to removing the benefit freeze."

He added he had raised concerns over infrastructure, with thousands more homes expected to be built in Oxfordshire over forthcoming years.

Ms Moran is amongst the favourites to become the next leader of the Lib Dems.