“So much of this is just common sense, but it’s been ignored for so long by politicians that people are begging for these things to happen.”

The last time that Leslie Willis stood for Parliament was only five years ago in 2019 – but then a decision by the leaders of the Brexit Party meant he was shunted from his original constituency of North Wiltshire to North Swindon, and then again to Exeter.

Mr Willis 69 said: “There was an agreement not to stand against Brexit-supporting Conservatives so I found myself in Exeter.”

He doesn’t expect something similar to happen again with this general election. And he intends to spend the next five weeks working for every vote as the candidate for the Reform Party in the Swindon North constituency he had hoped to fight in five years ago.

Mr Willis, a former Mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett, said: “We are putting ourselves forward as a party with a distinctive offer to people.

"And I’m getting a  very good response from people about it.”

Illegal immigration and crossings by ‘small boats’ is a headline issue for Reform, and the one Mr Willis brings up first when I ask him his priorities.

He said: “We have lost control of our borders, but there is a solution. We have the powers to take hold of the boats and send them back. But to do that we have to leave the European Court of Human Rights.”

Mr Willis acknowledged doing so carries a risk to British citizens who might then find rights they have taken for granted to be violated but added: “I don’t think it would come to that. There is a risk, but it’s very small and I think it’s worth it to regain control of our borders.”

Health is another priority for voters in Swindon, Mr Willis said: “There are not enough GPs, people can’t get an appointment. And the hospital here is not big enough.

“One reason is that it’s a Private Finance Initiative hospital, gifted to us by Tony Blair’s government, and the country is in huge debut because of PFI. We’d look at undoing it.

“And to keep staff in the NHS we’ll write off student fees pro rata per year over 10 years for doctors nurses and medical staff. We’ll end the caps for training medical students.

“And frontline NHS and social care staff will pay zero basic rate income tax for three years.”

Closer to home Mr Willis said he would want to look at making parking free in Swindon town centre to attract shoppers back: “It costs a lot to park anywhere in the town centre, and there are all the out-of-town centres like Greenbridge and  Asda Walmart in North Swindon, so it’s obvious where people will go.

“I’d want to look at making parking free in the town centre to attract people back, and I’d talk to the owners of shops about them making a contribution.”

Mr Willis has welcomed Nigel Farage back as leader of the party and a newly announced candidate, saying: “Since he announced he was standing we’ve seen membership go up."

But he is less concerned that standing against a sitting Conservative MP risks splitting the centre-right and right vote and letting Labour take the seat: “I’m not worried about that because I think people remember how terrible Labour were in the past.

“But it’s not something we want to happen – but we are our own party and we want to show what we want to do and attract more voters and members to us.”

Other candidates in Swindon North are the Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson, Labour’s Will Stone, Andy Bentley for the Green Party and the independent candidate Debbie Hicks.