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 Gareth McKeever, who was selected in July 2008 for Westmorland and Lonsdale, a beautiful constituency covering much of the Lake District. Belfast-born Gareth was educated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and quit his job as a stockbroker on his selection to move to Kendal and campaign full-time. The seat was gained at the last general election by the Liberal Democrats, who will defend a notional majority of 806. ConHome recently reported the news that his campaign office had been burnt down in a fire. You can contribute to his campaign and read more about him on his website.
Monday 1st March
Monday morning is admin, press releases and phone calls; Monday afternoon is canvassing. I much prefer the latter and this Monday we are in Kendal.
In aftermath of our fire (a suspected arson attack - click here to read the local newspaper's report) there is even more correspondence to deal with and happily much of it brings offers of help and good wishes. Local people have been tremendously supportive.
The canvassing response is very encouraging and we find many people who voted Lib Dem in 2005 switching to us as they realise that a vote for the Lib Dems only serves to keep Gordon Brown in No.10.
Monday evening I have a church group meeting. We have a great night and the evening flies by.
Tuesday 2nd March
Our March leaflet is starting to hit doorsteps and a large number marked for hand-delivery have just arrived at our temporary office, my house. I will be glad to move into our new offices next week. We have delivered a piece of literature to every home in the constituency every month for seven months. All the money to do this has been raised locally and they have proved a big hit with many local people glad to hear from us so regularly. When I was selected back in July 2008 one of my priorities was to get us communicating on a more regular basis. We have a great team of deliverers across the constituency and everyone is working incredibly hard to win the seat back.
I spend the first few hours of the morning drafting campaign literature and making a few calls before joining the canvass team. We are once again campaigning in Kendal and we have a great day. There is disbelief on the doorstep that the polls have narrowed as much as they have and everyone is understandably very worried about the prospect of a hung Parliament, where nothing would get done.
Tuesday evening I have dinner with senior management from the Lake District National Park and we have a very productive catch-up, discussing a variety of important local issues such as affordable housing and green transport within the park.