A new and controversial hat has been thrown into the ring for one of Swindon’s parliamentary constituencies.

Debbie Hicks has announced she will stand as an independent candidate in Swindon North, contesting the seat held by Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson.

Ms Hicks hit the headlines during the Covid-19 pandemic for being arrested after filming inside Gloucestershire Royal Hospital during lockdown and she was subsequently found guilty of a public order offence.

Her announcement of her candidature quotes Albert Einstein as saying: “insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.”

It goes on: “If you want something different you need something different."

Ms Hicks says she started her adult life in Swindon, taking A-levels at Swindon College and her family has lived here and nearby for 30 years.

“I have been an outspoken, assertive grassroots campaigner for over 30 years," she said.

“I am proud to say I have assertively campaigned against the introduction of tyrannical health passports and the roll out of the new tax on the poor, middle Britain and businesses: ‘the low emission or green zones’ or ’15-minute neighbourhoods’.

“I have learned that to save our hard-won rights we must put aside pretty ideological differences and tribal politics and work with different people.”

She rails against what she sees as the decline of the town centre: “Swindon was once a shopping mecca in the west country and I am devastated and angry to see how run down and neglected Swindon is.

“Our public services, housing provision, NHS, Health and Social Care local refuse and council services are in a deliberate crisis that’s been created and propped up by puppeteered politicians to line the pockets or corporations and banks.”

Her announcement concludes: “In a dangerous time of growing fascism, it’s time to let go of the insanity of Labour, the Conservatives Liberal Democrats and Greens who are not able to truly speak up for you because they are controlled by corporate interests. It’s time to elect someone different.”

In January 2022 Ms Hicks was ordered to pay £120 in a fine, £775 in costs and a £34 victim surcharge after being found guilty of a public order offence after filming inside Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Gloucester over two days in December 2020.

She was found guilty of using threatening words or behaviour towards two women working at the hospital. She denied the charge saying her behaviour was reasonable and her human right.

Currently, the other announced candidates for Swindon North are Mr Tomlinson, Labour's Will Stone and Andy Bentley of the Green Party.