Five candidates are contesting the North Dorset parliamentary seat. They are:

Simon Hoare, Conservative 

His successor as a candidate, 45-year-old businessman Mr Hoare, was until recently a county and district councillor in Witney, Oxfordshire, the Prime Minister's own constituency.

Mr Hoare plans to move to North Dorset with his wife Kate and three daughters.

Richard Barrington, Green 

Green candidate Richard Barrington has lived in the county for more than 40 years.

He has worked for small businesses, including the Bournemouth English Book Centre, as well as multinational firms.

Kim Fendley, Labour

Representing Labour, Kim Fendley was born locally and attended Blandford School. He teaches at Parkstone Grammar School and works on community projects, including at Blandford Youth Centre.

Hugo Miéville, Liberal Democrats

Bournemouth Echo:

Another teacher, this time at Milton Abbey School, Liberal Democrat Hugo Mieville lives in Blandford with his wife Yvonne and four children.

Mr Mieville recently promoted a 'Rural Bill of Rights' to ensure better funding for rural areas.

He answered the Echo's #sevenquestions as follows:

Why did you decide to stand in this election?

I am a local man, who has lived in North Dorset for thirty years. I love the area, but have always felt that it does not have the representation on the national stage which it deserves. I have been campaigning for a Rural Bill of Rights, which would allow rural areas to have equal rights to government funding, and equal access to infrastructure and services. 

What do you believe the key issues of this election to be?

For us, it is all about ensuring that the economic gains made in the last five years of Coalition government are not thrown away, but at the same time ensuring that social justice is actively pursued: we stand for a Stronger  Economy in a Fairer Society, and would give the Conservatives a heart and Labour a brain.

Where do you stand on renewable energy, fracking and climate change?

I am greatly in favour of renewable energy, and it is the way forward. However, we do need to be sensitive to the needs of local communities affected by such developments. We must be sure that we don't build wind- farms, for example, too close to villages - as in the Winterborne Whitechurch proposal.

What do you believe could be done to improve the housing situation in Dorset?

We have achieved a lot in North Dorset by infilling and using brownfield sites, but this will only go so far. Greenfield sites do need to be used, but this needs to be done carefully and respectfully, taking into accounts the needs of local communities, as expressed through their Neighbourhood Plan for example. We have proposed a Rent to Buy policy, whereby Housing Association tenants will be able to buy the properties which they rent, over a period of thirty years - this will certainly help younger people to buy houses over time. 

What three things do you think should be done to improve education provision in Dorset?

Quite simply, we need equal funding ! Dorset pupils receive one of the lowest per capita fundings from central government of any local authority, and this is unacceptable given the rural isolation of many of our towns and villages. Why should we receive less than Hampshire? I think there is also a need to have a consistently- applied tiering policy : are we a two tier or three tier county?

How would you tackle the issue of mental health provision in Dorset?

This is of huge importance to Lib Dems. We have put mental health on the front page of our manifesto, and we would introduce equal waiting times for mental health as for physical health - as well as equal funding in time. We would, within this, make adolescent mental health a special priority - by fully funding such bodies as CAMHS and the DCFCT, as well the Eating Disorder team in Poole, for example. These bodies have specialist local knowledge.

What’s your “red line” policy?

I want to see a Rural Bill of Rights! Rural areas would have a legal right to equal treatment by government and other regulatory bodies, and this would in time transform the quality of life in the countryside. I would campaign very hard for this as MP for North Dorset - and by the way I would not take any  other employment: being an MP should be a full- time job!

Steve Unwin, Ukip

Ukip candidate Steve Unwin, a former Conservative Party agent, has lived in Shaftesbury for 20 years with his wife and daughter. They run an internet-based business.