HE has led the fight to stop fluoride being added to Hampshire’s water.

Now John Spottiswoode is to challenge Government minister John Denham for his place in Parliament.

Mr Spottiswoode, chairman of Hampshire Against fluoridation, wants to turn the vote into the referendum on fluoridation that has so far been denied to the 200,000 people in and around the city affected by it.

He has been selected as the Green Party candidate for the Southampton Itchen seat at the next general election, which must be held by June 3 next year.

He will also come up against Southampton City Council deputy leader Royston Smith, who will be standing as the Conservative candidate.

Mr Spottiswoode said: “Clearly there are many other issues of importance in a general election and the Greens have substantial policies on all of these.

“However, the big issue in Southampton of putting a known toxin in our water against our will goes to the heart of our democracy and what our politicians should do.

“What right does anyone have to force anyone else to drink what is widely considered to be a poison?

“Further, by what right does an unelected health quango have to decide to add fluoride to our drinking water when a massive 72 per cent rejected the idea in the public consultation, despite the authorities running a very biased pro-fluoride campaign?”

Mr Spottiswoode, a married father-of-four who was a county councillor in Suffolk before moving to Southampton, said that the man he is challenging is one of those responsible for fluoridation being approved for Hampshire.

Mr Denham, the Government’s Communities Secretary, has consistently said that he agrees with fluoridation as a principle.

However, earlier this year he changed his stance to say that although he personally believes it is the right thing to do, the scheme should be put on hold until it can be shown that the public agrees with adding fluoride to tap water.

Cllr Smith is opposed to fluoride being added to Hampshire tap water and has also backed the Daily Echo’s calls for a referendum on the issue.