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Eastleigh by election: Grant Shapps on Maria Hutchings

17 February 2013 Last updated at 12:37 GMT

The Conservative Eastleigh by-election candidate supports the state school system, the Conservative Party chairman has said, adding that she went to one as did two of her children.

Grant Shapps said Maria Hutchings was a "regular person who believes in the area" and was not a professional politician. He described her as a local candidate, who had "worked there forever".

She attracted headlines for comments about finding a school for her son who is "very gifted which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him - impossible in the state system."

The chairman also spoke of the role of Lynton Crosbie, the strategist helping the Tories' 2015 general election campaign, and about when Nadine Dorries MP may re-take the Conservative whip.

Full list of candidates for the 28 February Eastleigh by-election


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