Two weeks ago you submitted your questions for me to put to Adam Rickitt. These are his answers.
1.What is your earliest political memory?
Probably the fall of the Berlin Wall. As a child it was the first time I really remembering seeing the power of and desire for democracy.
2.Do you regret pursuing show business rather than a law degree? How did you make your decision?
I believe I was incredibly lucky to have the choice in the first place and certainly don’t regret it. Acting has always been a passion of mine and when the opportunity came along I made damned sure I grabbed it with both hands. The only hard part was breaking the news to my father!
3.Many commentators allege you have done little or nothing for the party. Is this true? How did you first come to get involved with the Conservative party?
I have always been a Conservative and held Conservative views, believing them best suited as a form of Government. Since an early age I was taught to be very politically aware and knew from childhood that the process was something I wanted to contribute towards if I could. Despite misconceptions I have done grassroots campaigning for the party, at local and general election levels as well as independent initiatives. I took the decision a couple of years ago to try and make a bigger contribution, so submitted my name for candidate selection at that time.
4. Why do you think you got onto the A list and What makes you believe you would be a good Conservative MP? Are good looks and a six pack essential assets for those seeking election these days?
I believe in a Conservative Party that wants to put people above spin, so would hope that like everyone else I am there because I am good enough. Yes I do come from a career background seen as less typical, but from 10 years of working within the media industry I would hope to have gathered experience at how better to utilise the media to convey our message, and voice a constituency’s concerns. I think people forget that to be on the A list you first had to go through the original graded Parliamentary Selection Board. I did that and then like everyone else had the further interviews to get onto the A list. I think a good MP is someone who cares for their community and becomes their champion, which is why I will make my home in any seat I am lucky enough to be selected for. Looks play no part in the equation, what matters is your ideas and connecting them to the electorate.
5. Do you think you would have still been placed on the 'A list' if you were not on Coronation Street or a pop star?
There is a real diversity of talent and background on the A list so as to better reflect our society in all walks. There are people who have been candidates before, Councillors, Doctors, business leaders, charity campaigners. I hope that the reason any of us are there is because it is felt we can offer something to a constituency and the Party, and not to grab short term headlines. The duty of responsibility placed on any MP is one of the greatest honours that can be bestowed and I for one don’t believe the Conservative Party would abuse that trust by selecting someone who did not have the goods to do the job, just for the sake of media coverage. Anyway if you read some of the papers lately Corrie has not been all that much of an advantage!
6. Which one of the major parties do you think most effectively uses internet campaigning and how would you like to see the use of IT in election campaigning develop?
I think all of the parties still have some way to go to better utilise IT in campaigns. Although it should never take the place of the vital face to face campaigning (and utilisation of other forms of media) with more and more people registering with TPS and blocks of flats with increased security it is becoming very hard to reach many electors in the traditional way. The evidence that things are changing fast can be seen in the dramatic increase in the influence of blogging. We should be collecting emails as we used to collect telephone numbers and using them to better communicate our message to key voters.
7. Apart from IHT, which three laws would you propose to repeal if you were writing our manifesto?"
1. Reassessment of the funding legislation and rules which are destroying our farming community.
2. The Human Rights Act which is hampering our ability to determine our own laws.
3. The legal ability to shoot a Welshman from the walls of Chester with a longbow (archaic law which I am not sure really sends the right message nowadays!)
8. What is your attitude to drug use?
Drugs ruin peoples lives, break up families and have disastrous effects on our communities. There is no magic solution to the problem (although certainly the mixed messages sent by Labour over re-classification haven’t helped) but great steps can be taken through better education of our young people on the dangers. We should promote an education programme in schools where kids can hear first hand from ex-addicts on the detrimental effects. We should free up our police force from this Government’s obsessive bureaucracy so that they are better able to go after the big dealers, and at the same time expand the numbers of places available for rehab.
9. Who are your three political heroes, living or dead?
Churchill for saving our nation in time of war. Lady Thatcher for saving our nation in time of peace. The Chinese man who stood before the tanks in Tiananmen Square for showing how the courage and conviction of the individual can make a real difference.
10. How could you attract more younger people into the Conservative Party?
We need to re-engage all of our electorate in the political process. After believing in promises made and never fulfilled by Labour, people have become increasingly disenchanted with the process assuming that all politicians will say anything to gain power, and then never follow through. We need to make those commitments and promises come to fruition so that once again they can believe what they are told. With regard to the youth vote we should encourage them to partake in the process, making more use of our education system to show the role Government plays in their lives, but also utilise the youth media they relate to to better connect them to our message.
11. If you asked a question at the Prime Minister Questions to Tony Blair, what would you ask him?
Would it matter, he never gives a straight answer in any case! If I had the chance though I would ask how on earth he managed to waste 9 years and squander the stock of good will he had in 1997, as well as tens of billions of pounds, on achieving almost nothing at all.
12. Who is your favourite MP from any side of the Commons.
Either William Hague for his ability, wit and fantastic oratory, or the late Mo Mowlam for her ability to make people believe she genuinely cared.
13.What is your political ambition?
My greatest ambition may sound rather like something from a greeting card, but it is a genuine desire to serve a local community and be a local MP. I have no great urge to be minister of this or minister of that, but instead would feel incredible blessed to have the opportunity to be a champion for a constituency and fight for their cause.
14. When you’re not acting or singing what do you do?
When I get the chance I am a bit of an “outdoors” type person and love to go horse riding or running with my dogs.
15. Are you embarrassed by all the photos of you half naked which constantly appear in the newspapers?
Am I ashamed of them? No. It was a part of my life which was great fun, and all part and parcel of the situation I worked in at that time, and besides I try not to worry about such things as I can do nothing to change. Is it embarressing to have people know what my near-birthday suit looks like…oh yes!
16. Are you just going to apply for safe seats? Which seats did you apply for in the initial tranche of 35?
For me it’s more important to look at each constituency individually and find a community I feel I can serve to the best of my abilities, and where I feel I can make a real difference, and further their cause. It’s a case of finding that constituency, and them finding me, so that if I were lucky enough to be selected I would be in a strong position to fulfil my duty of care.
17. Do you agree with the statement ‘A Conservative government must cut taxes or it is nothing’?
I totally agree that the big difference between Conservative and other governments is that we trust people more. That means leaving them with as much of their own hard earned money as possible to spend on themselves and their families. Conservatives always strive to achieve lower taxes where possible but making them compatible to providing the best in public services.
18. Do you support the concept of gay marriage?
I think church and state should remain entirely separate at all costs, and that the decision of religious marriage should be of each faith to debate and decide free of political influence. However saying that I totally support the concept of civil partnerships in the eyes of the law, and think it a disgrace that same sex couples have had to wait so long for legal rights, protection and recognition.
19. You’ve come in for a bit of a pasting in the media and from some fellow Conservatives in recent weeks. How have you coped? Do you regret ever putting yourself forward?
Honestly….no. Don’t get me wrong, some of the mis-informed articles I have read over the last few weeks have been incredibly frustrating, but for my part I fully appreciate the opportunity I have been given and want to grasp it firmly. I’ve coped by remembering that those attacking me don’t know me, or my political background, at all and have been lucky enough to have had fantastic support and advice from family as well as friends who have been in politics for a long time. My biggest fear with what has passed is the message it sends our already apathetic young voters who have seen someone of their own age damned by some quarters for just wanting to get involved. Well I am still here and now hopefully can begin to show them how important the process is for their lives as well.
20. If you sat down for a chat with David Cameron, what three pieces of advice would you give him?
He seems to be doing pretty damn well without any advice form me so I don’t think I’d presume!