Each week a different PPC provides us with an insight into life as a candidate and gives us a flavour of their own campaign and interests. If you are a candidate and are keen to be featured, please email Jonathan Isaby.
This week’s diary is written by Robert Jenrick, who was selected in November 2008 for Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, where is seeking to overturn the 8,108 majority of sitting Labour MP Paul Farrelly and become the seat's first Conservative MP for over 100 years. He studied History at St. John’s College, Cambridge before qualifying as a lawyer and working for City law firms in London and Moscow, and is also involved in managing his family’s local manufacturing business. He took leave from his legal career in December 2009 to fight to win the seat. Read more about him and his campaign on his website.
Monday 8th March
Monday morning is a chance to catch up after an interesting weekend. Newcastle’s General Election campaign began in earnest on Friday with our first election hustings. We answered good-humoured questions from staff and students at Newcastle College, although I’m not convinced the debate truly engaged the sceptical students in the audience. I wonder whether the national debates will prove as electrifying as the media suggest – I certainly never met many who were thrilled by the Presidential debates whilst living in the U.S.
Sir John Major was in Staffordshire on Friday, supporting our six target seat campaigns (Newcastle, Stafford, Staffordshire Moorlands, Burton, Tamworth and Cannock Chase) as well as the work being done to re-establish ourselves in Stoke-on-Trent. Speaking after dinner in the evening, Sir John was eloquent and laid out a damning critique of Labour’s record. I said in the vote of thanks that if all Conservatives presented themselves with such clarity we would be assured of a new government in May.
A weekend of canvassing followed. Dropping my wife off at Stoke station on Sunday night for her train back to work, it had been another exhausting weekend.
Monday morning I make some calls to colleagues who are campaigning to change the unfair regional quota system that has arisen, whereby 65% of sand and gravel extraction across in the entire West Midlands falls upon Staffordshire. Inevitably this means beautiful Staffs countryside being torn up. I write a letter to members of the West Midlands Regional Assembly who make these decisions (a quasi-democratic body that is thankfully on the way out), urging them to support us and end this crazy system.
Unexpectedly this afternoon, a legal contact calls. He’s an environmental lawyer in Washington D.C. who is co-ordinating efforts in the U.S. to develop the first Green Investment Bank with the Obama administration. I put him in touch with the Shadow Environment team, some of whom it turns out will be in D.C. tomorrow and may be able to meet up. This follows on from bringing together the Environment team with Better Place, an Israeli company developing an electric car system that will soon be on the streets of Tel Aviv and San Francisco. Better Place’s CEO, Shai Agassi is one of the most impressive men I’ve met: he is pragmatic and not a climate crusader and he puts privately-funded technological advancement at the heart of tackling climate change.