The race to represent Helensburgh and Lomond at Westminster is gathering pace after Scottish Labour announced a former Royal Navy officer as its general election candidate.

Hamish Maxwell, 39, will contest the Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber seat when voters across the UK go to the polls.

He is the latest to challenge the SNP's Brendan O'Hara, who has been Argyll and Bute's MP for the last nine years.

Mr Maxwell is an investment specialist who was previously based at Faslane, where he "helped lead crews on both ships and submarines".

His Royal Navy service included a spell as navigating officer on board the Sandown-class mine countermeasures vessel HMS Blyth.

The party says Mr Maxwell is currently working at a Scottish asset management firm, but that he spent his childhood living in social housing.

In a statement, he said: "I am delighted to have been selected as Labour’s UK Parliamentary candidate in Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber.

"I have a personal connection with the communities of the west coast and often enjoyed visiting the wider area when I was based at HMNB Clyde.

"I love Scotland and the UK and I have a real desire to work for a stronger public sector, supported by a stronger and growing economy.”

He added: “I would like to make sure that everyone has the opportunity for a better future. The country has already been failed by both the Tories and the SNP, at Westminster and Holyrood.

“It is time for a fresh start and time for a change. Labour will be the change that Scotland needs.”

Labour said Mr Maxwell is married with young children, and that they enjoyed time outdoors with their Labrador, Dougal.

The Conservative candidate is Oban South and the Isles councillor Amanda Hampsey, while Alan Reid, who represented Argyll and Bute for 14 years before being beaten by Mr O'Hara in 2015, is running for the Liberal Democrats.

It's widely expected that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will call an election for later this year.

Mr Sunak previously said his "working assumption" was that an election would be held in the second half of 2024, though it can be held as late as January 28 next year.

However, there has been some speculation among pundits at Westminster that Mr Sunak could call an election sooner than anticipated if the Conservatives perform well in the local government elections taking place across England on May 2.

The existing Argyll and Bute seat is being enlarged to take in part of the current Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency, including Ardnamurchan, Morvern and Glencoe, making it one of the largest, in geographical terms, in the UK.