This is the latest in ConservativeHome's new ongoing series in which 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 Andrew Bingham, candidate for the High Peak constituency in Derbyshire. He fought the seat in 2005, reducing the majority of sitting Labour MP, Tom Levitt, from 4,489 to just 735, and he was reselected soon afterwards. Being born, brought up and still living in the constituency, Andrew is a true local candidate. He is also a councillor on High Peak Borough Council, being a Member of the Council’s Executive, with responsibility for Community and Social Development. The High Peak boundary has changed for the next General Election, effectively making Andrew’s task harder by increasing the sitting Labour MP’s majority quite significantly.
Saturday 14th March
I have been asked to speak on environmental issues at a Fair Trade show in the spectacular setting of the Dome in Buxton. Last year I spoke on Fair Trade and the use of child labour. Also last year, I was asked to model Fair Trade clothing. This year, however, the modeling was not required! The show consisted of Fair Trade exhibitors, a fashion show and talks given by a variety of speakers. As the last speaker, I was asked to speak for 10 minutes. I dealt with the environmental issues facing the world today and how we can look to rebuild the economy into a low carbon economy, harnessing all the British skills in technology to develop skills in the area that we can then export to the rest of the world.
After the Fair Trade exhibition it's back out on the streets knocking on doors. Today I am out with our County Councillor for Chapel & the Hope Valley, Cllr. Tracy Critchlow. We start working through the village of Dove Holes. The High Peak is, as its name suggests, high! Dove Holes is amongst the highest points of the area and there is a bitterly cold wind blowing through the village. By the time we are done, both Tracy & I are frozen, and retire home for a well earned hot drink. The feedback we get though is good and people seem genuinely pleased to see us.
Buxton has been selected for the Entente Florale – which is a European wide version of Britain in Bloom. This is a tribute to its efforts the previous year for the Britain in Bloom contest. It is a real feather is the cap of the town. However, the costs of entering are quite high. The Conservative-controlled High Peak Borough Council has put some money in, but more is required so a fundraising dinner is being held tonight. Hosted by the Mayor, the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire are also in attendance, together with the local MP. I attended the dinner both as the PPC and also as an Executive Member of High Peak Borough Council. Held at the refurbished Pavilion Gardens restaurant, we are treated to an excellent meal. The speaker was first class too. The speaker and the band both gave their services free of charge to help with the fundraising.