The election in South Swindon is shaping up to be a three-horse race.

At the start of the week there were expected to be five candidates contesting the seat, but Brexit Party candidate Justin Stares was withdrawn by his party leader on Monday and the Green Party’s Steve Thompson stepped down for personal reasons.

On the final day for nominations it looks like a battle between Conservative incumbent Robert Buckland, Labour’s Sarah Church and the Liberal Democrats’ Stan Pajak, who all fought the seat in 2017.

With tactical voting and Brexit-based alliances very much in the air, it won’t become a two-horse race, both Ms Church and Mr Pajak have dismissed the idea of one standing down to increase the changes of unseating Mr Buckland.

Ms Church said: “I don’t want to restrict the choice of the people of South Swindon. I’m a democrat, and I want them to be able to vote as they wish - it’d my job to make the better argument and convince them to vote for me.

“I’m not that comfortable even discussing tactical voting with people when I’m on the doorstep, discussing who’s best placed to beat the Tory candidate. I want to convince them to vote for me positively.

“If someone is disenchanted with politics after the last few year, if they go to the polling station, if there’s a restricted choice I don’t think that will re-engage them.”

Ms Church added she thought the election was about many more issues than Brexit.

Mr Pajak agrees with her on offering voters a choice, but does see Brexit as the big issue: “We are offering the clearest choice to people who aren’t in favour of Brexit. Our position is clear; we are against it. Labour say they’ll have a conference, and negotiate a deal and then have another referendum. We stood on a policy of another vote in 2017 and it didn’t do us too well . So we won’t be standing down , we want to offer a clear choice to the voters of South Swindon.”

Mr Pajak said that his standing down would also diminish the spending power of his party in its national campaign, with spending limits depending on the number of candidates are fielding.

In 2017 Mr Buckland won the seat by 2,544 votes, which could have been beaten by the sum of Labour, Lib Dem and Green votes which totalled 25,171. If 1,291 votes for UKIP in that election were added to Mr Buckland’s total he’d have 26,100.