Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Why I'd Like to be MP For Bracknell
Some of you may have seen on various sites over the last two days that I am in the final round of the parliamentary selection for Bracknell. I didn't want to say anything here until the shortlist was officially announced by the local party.
There are seven of us in the final of the Open Primary, which takes place on 17 October. The others are Rory Stewart, Margaret Doyle, Katy Lindsay, Philip Lee, Julia Manning and Ryan Robson.
As regular readers will know, I haven't applied for a seat for nearly two years. I decided that the launch of my new business, TotalPolitics, wasn't compatible with being a candidate due to time pressures, but that I would review the situation after 18 months. Now that the business is up and running, and going well, I felt now was the time to plunge in.
To be honest, earlier this year, I had almost decided to give up any parliamentary ambitions, but it was the expenses scandal which got me fired up again. And however much people tell me I would have more influence doing what I do now, rather than being an MP, I cannot agree with that. If you want to effect change you've got to get 'in the arena'. Douglas Carswell has proved that you really can achieve things as a backbencher.
At the end of August, CCHQ advertised eight constituencies for selection, including Bracknell. I didn't apply for any of the others. I'm a great believer that you shouldn't have a scatter gun approach and that you need an affinity with a constituency you wish to represent. I'm certainly not going to pretend I am a local expert yet, but it's an area I know quite well.
I was delighted to be shortlisted from more than 200 applicants, and last Friday the seven of us addressed the local Association's Executive. On Saturday I joined some local activists to campaign in a council by election, and over the next three weeks we are all going to be out and about in the constituency meeting people, learning, listening and encouraging people to attend the Open Primary on 17 October.
I think it is a great shortlist, packed with people who have real life experience outside politics. Having met the other six on Friday, I think any one of us would make a great MP for the area.
If you'd like to express your support for my candidacy (even if you don't happen to live in the Bracknell constituency!) you can join the Iain Dale 4 Bracknell Facebook group HERE.
Note for residents of Bracknell, Sandhurst, Crowthorne & Finchampstead
If you are on the electoral roll in Bracknell and would like to attend the Open Primary on 17 October, you can find all the details HERE on the local party website. You must pre-register by phoning 01344 868894 or emailing primary AT bracknellconservatives DOT com. You do not have to be a Conservative Party member to attend or vote.