Thursday, 29 October 2009

Standing up for Esher and Walton !

I am delighted to have been short-listed for the selection of the next Conservative candidate for Esher and Walton. Before the final choice is made on 21 November, I will be out and about listening to, and learning from, people in the constituency. I will also post a series of comments here – on local and national issues – so you can see what I stand for.

What can I do for Esher and Walton? You can read a bit about my professional background here. I started my career as a commercial lawyer at Linklaters, advising businesses on how to stay ahead of their competitors, within the rules of competition law. Then I joined the Foreign Office, working on a range of briefs – including negotiating treaties to protect British investors abroad, strengthening the international rules after 9/11 for intercepting ships involved in terrorism and bringing war criminals to justice. I want to use the professional skills I have developed to serve Esher and Walton as your constituency MP, supporting small businesses, helping people at constituency surgeries and engaging with every part of the community.

I live in Surrey and I have campaigned here. So, whilst I still have much to learn, I appreciate some of the local concerns. Take local funding. Surrey pays Gordon Brown £5.5 billion in revenue each year, but you get back a quarter of the funding for local services that, say, Manchester gets. That is a rotten deal! Despite the best efforts of the local authorities, this inevitably has an impact on local services – from pressure on school places, to the irresponsible Whitehall cap on local police funding. It is bad enough that Gordon Brown is taking Surrey taxpayers for a ride, but his government has also neglected less well off areas across such a diverse constituency as Esher and Walton. Campaigning for a fairer deal would be my number one priority. If selected, my wife Erika and I would move to the constituency so we are based in the heart of the community - we would be proud to make Esher and Walton our home.

Serving Esher and Walton also means fighting its corner in Westminster – whether fighting for fairer funding for local services, or defending our greenbelt from arbitrary ‘top-down’ housing targets under the South East Plan. Having worked at the House of Commons, I want to use my experience to make Westminster work for Esher and Walton. But, the truth is, we also need stronger local democracy, so people here have a greater say over decisions that affect them – policing priorities, NHS services and planning – and less of Whitehall, regional government and Brussels trying to run our lives.

When it comes to national issues, if elected as your representative, I would be committed to supporting a new Conservative government get to grips with some of the toughest challenges facing Britain in recent memory. The next few years won’t be easy. But, with patience and perseverance, we can restore a competitive cutting edge to our economy and resuscitate public trust in our democracy.

You can read my campaign leaflet here. The final selection of the Conservative candidate will be an open primary event. You can find all the details here.


The Count said...

Very best of luck!

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