This is her first interview since her selection as Liberal Democrat candidate for the Chichester parliamentary constituency
What first attracted you to the idea of standing for parliament as Chichester’s MP?
I have always wanted to make a positive difference in my community. But so much that impacts residents locally is decided at Westminster. I have always been politically engaged, so when the opportunity presented itself to apply to be the candidate for the Liberal Democrats, I jumped at the chance. I believe that the residents of Chichester deserve a local, liberal, and approachable MP who will work hard for them. I am honoured to be chosen as that representative.
The Liberal Democrats did well in the local elections this year. But Chichester has been a Tory seat forever. Do you really believe you can win?
I am not complacent. I know that overturning a big Tory majority is not going to be an easy task. But I think we have all of the elements here in Chichester to achieve success. Our amazing local election results in May showed that the people of Chichester are ready for a change. We have a strong group of activists and campaigners who want to see this seat finally turn Gold with the Lib Dems. I will give all my energy and passion to the campaign to get us over the line in the General Election.
There is no constituency anywhere more affected by the calamitous performance of this government when it allowed the water companies to dump sewage into our rivers and harbours. I know this is an issue close to many of our residents’ hearts. We need to protect our natural environment and our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The Government needs a complete overhaul of its housing policy, rather than sticking with the outdated, not-fit-for-purpose model that has left Chichester open to speculative, inappropriate planning developments leading to the wrong sort of housing being built in the wrong places, with failing infrastructure, especially around the A27, which affects our residents’ lives daily when trying to work and live in the constituency.
I know from knocking on doors and talking to our residents that they are sick of watching this Government starve the NHS. We need bold and innovative approaches to reduce waiting lists. We must make sure our constituents can access GPs and dentists when they need them. And when people call an ambulance, they have to know they won’t be left waiting.
I take my responsibilities as a District Councillor very seriously and it’s a pleasure to be able to support residents. My role as Cabinet Member is one I am passionate about. I am proud of Chichester's cultural history. The role gives me the opportunity to meet residents from all walks of life and learn about what Chichester means to them. Managing a variety of responsibilities is a key part of being an MP. So being a Cabinet member is good practice for the day when - hopefully - I am elected to Parliament.
We have a fantastic team who took the Liberal Democrats to an incredible victory in the local elections in May. We will need to scale up that operation for the General Election. If the Liberal Democrats are going to win Chichester, it will take everybody coming together. I plan to build a team of passionate, Liberal-minded individuals, willing to deliver leaflets, make phone calls, knock on doors and stuff envelopes and if they wish; to help finance my campaign. Mobility and age are no barrier: there are lots of tasks to be done and all can be involved, even if you’re short of time. Campaigning with the Liberal Democrats is really good fun - especially when we have the opportunity to make history in Chichester!
The candidate for Arundel and South Downs will be selected this autumn. Just like the Chichester constituency, we know from local election results that we are the only party capable of taking on the Conservatives across West Sussex, including Arundel and South Downs. We look forward to working closely with our constituency neighbours. Anybody interested in supporting the campaign in Arundel and the South Downs should get in touch.
I feel humbled to be in the position of having the opportunity to represent the community that I love, and for a party that I fundamentally believe in. Politics is for everybody and should feel accessible for all. I want to share that message with everybody in Chichester and take a place in parliament as an MP that works with them and for them.
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