After nearly two decades of service Sir George Young has decided to retire and over the summer I was honoured to be selected to stand as his replacement for the general election next May.
I was born in Liverpool and educated in Newcastle before starting my own business in Leicester. Now I have landed in Abbotts Ann in lovely Hampshire after six lively years as Deputy Mayor to Boris Johnson in London.
I believe there were three things about me that stood out from the dozens of other applicants:
First, as a small business owner of 20 years’ standing, I face the same challenges as many people here in North West Hampshire. In the early days, I was a typically cocky young man, but a few bumps and bruises, along with some successes, knocked the sense into me. Now my team is an efficient group of eight, and critically the journey from there to here means that I understand what small and medium sized businesses need to grow and prosper.
Second, I have learned how to get things done. I was Deputy Mayor for Policing in London for four years where my relentless focus on street-level analysis of violent crime saw overall figures drop by 11% with murder rates reaching a 35 year low. As Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise since 2012, I have played a part in employment in London reaching its highest level ever whilst numbers of tourists visiting the capital soar.
Finally, having been a local Councillor and London Assembly Member I am a forceful advocate for people in their battles with bureaucracy; I have the ability and sheer grit to protect this lovely constituency and to secure what North West Hampshire needs to remain one of the country’s most successful and prosperous areas.
Politics takes skill and experience, but what drives me is a concern for the future, for safeguarding the values we share while navigating a world that’s changing with dizzying speed. And as a father of three, I’m very fortunate to have a constant reminder of why that matters.
I look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail.