I am delighted and honoured to have been selected as the Conservative Party’s Parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam.
Many people tell me they feel they’ve been let down by career politicians who make promises, for example on student fees, only to find they have been taken for a ride.
Last time we were second in a seat which was traditionally Conservative until 1997. With politics changing, this is a seat we can win back in May and I am determined that we will.
Here is why. To me politics is about two things: choices and character.
At the next General Election the choice we will make is between a Conservative vision and a Labour vision for our country. It will be either David Cameron or Ed Miliband in Number Ten.
I will set out throughout the campaign the reasons why I believe that the Conservatives have the better plan to grow our economy so that we can afford all the services we need, such as the NHS and good education, and at the same time leading the way in social justice – supporting people who want to get back on their feet and out of dependency when and if they are able.
As a Northern Conservative and a Yorkshireman (I am the only candidate to have been born & bred and still live in Hallam), I know that Yorkshire folk are straight talking people, suspicious of the empty promises of career politicians. I would urge voters to consider two attributes when choosing their representative in Parliament: integrity and authenticity.
As mentioned earlier, people felt let down on the widely trumpeted, then broken, promises on student fees. The Conservatives and Labour may have different or indeed opposing views on this and other matters, but at least electors know where these two parties stand and can make an informed choice knowing their choice will be honoured.
I saw a similar example when I stood in the by-election last year for South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). Labour want to abolish them: fair enough, that’s their policy. Conservatives believe that, although the election process needs improving by bringing it into line with local elections, PCCs demonstrate the public have a much stronger voice if and when they have any policing concerns. However, the Liberals supported and voted for the post, then didn’t field a candidate at the by-election claiming they’d change their minds again.
I strongly believe that constituents should be represented by someone who is one of their peers, whose heart is for their city, rather than their political career.
It is one thing to pose for a photo op at Christmas at the Children’s Hospital, but it’s not the same as having had to use its facilities yourself as a child and as a Dad visiting, probably all too often, with your own children.
I know about GP services in Hallam. I’ve had an operation at the Northern General. Relatives have died there and at nursing homes in Hallam. My two sons were born at Jessops. We as a family have benefitted enormously from the excellent work done by Sheffield community nurses.
More than that, although I’ve spent most of my working life in engineering businesses in Sheffield, I have always sought ways to give back to my city. For 10 years I was a Non-Executive of Sheffield’s Strategic Health Authority and its successor bodies, ending up as Chair of Audit for NHS North of England. One of my key areas of focus in that period was ensuring the health economy focussed on reducing health inequalities between rich and poor areas.
I chaired Sheffield Training and Enterprise Council investing in training, apprenticeships and helping small businesses get off the ground and grow to provide jobs and wealth locally. Now I’m a school governor and a trustee of 2 other local charities.
I believe that it’s time for change in Hallam. We need a candidate who will work for Hallam, work for Sheffield and work for you. If you believe that too, please join my campaign and help us reclaim this constituency, allowing it to be represented by a Sheffielder.