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David Bettney, SDP Candidate for Mayor of South Yorkshire

David Bettney is the SDP  candidate for Mayor of South Yorkshire.  This role is a combined authority mayor, who’s area includes Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham, Barnsley and their surrounding areas. We spoke with David about his decision to stand.

“I then joined the Army in 1987 (at the time as a cold-war soldier, training how to fight the Russians) and went then on to serve 23 years, visiting many countries around the world, and many combat operations in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan”

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

I was born in 1970 in Mexborough (Doncaster) and grew up a keen sportsman, playing football, rugby and boxing, and heavily influenced by my grandfather who had been a champion boxer and served in the Royal Navy in World War 2 before working the rest of his life down our local coal mine. He was a big tough man but was also very kind and a complete gentleman (the ideal role model).

I grew up in real “Kes Country” if you have seen the 1970 film set in the South Yorkshire Coal fields?  I applied to work down the pit when I left school, but there we no jobs, and it was the final stages of industrial decline in South Yorkshire, as the steel works had recently closed down too.

I then joined the Army in 1987 (at the time as a cold-war soldier, training and learning how to fight the Russians) and went on to serve 23 years, visiting many countries around the world. I experienced many combat operations in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, finally finishing at the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major.

After my full military service, I went out to Iraq as a bodyguard. I then soon started my own business, along with my Iraqi (Muslim) business partner. We have since gone on to set up several construction companies out in the Middle East. Home is Yorkshire when I’m back in England.

“The Green Party can be best summed up with the words … “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

What made you decide to stand for the SDP?

I was fortunate to travel the world with the Army, and since with my businesses, so I have watched the UK from the outside for most of my life. 

I saw things slowly become back to front.  The EU started off as a plausibly good idea, as a combined trading area, and ended up being an antidemocratic failed state, with the ever growing need to take more and more power.

The Conservatives are called conservative, despite selling off every asset and therefore conserving nothing of our industry and nothing of our culture.

The modern Labour Party is now extremely liberal, and in my opinion on the fringe of becoming very Anti-British, and lives on victimhood (never empowerment) with a penchant to spending everybody else’s money…Bizarrely, no Labourers actually vote Labour anymore!

The Liberal Democrats and also extremely liberal, but not at all democratic (Brexit overturn) They have become the pointless pronoun-police and are largely irrelevant.

The Green Party can be best summed up with the words … “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” be as the former head of Green Peace Canada says “The Green movement has become anti-human communists” He calls them water melons, as they are green on the outside but red on the inside, once you look at their policies. 

Reform UK (whilst well meaning) remind me of an Army run by Junior Officers with no Senior Officers, no Warrant Officers, no Senior non-commissioned officers, no junior none commissioned officer, but then just troopers at the bottom. They are looking for headlines rather than substance and are in need of some credible leadership.

“I have zero interest in politics but love my country and know that we all really have to put our shoulder to the wheel and push hard to stop if falling off a cliff”

Therefore, I happened upon the small but perfectly formed resurgent SDP.  It was nice to agree to disagree on some issues with people who could debate and were educated and worldly. Finally, there were some adults back in the room when it came to political ideas. Also, the leader, William Clouston is very well read, incredibly measured, and very in touch with the mood of the country. 

I have zero interest in politics but love my country and know that we all really have to put our shoulder to the wheel and push hard to stop if falling off a cliff. It’s never too late to start to change things, and that’s why I signed-up.

“promote more of the “we” and less of the “I”.  The demographics of South Yorkshire are changing, and we need to be “Yorkshire” before identifying as anything else”

What are your priorities for South Yorkshire?

De-Industrialisation. We make very little anymore, and just import from China and the East, who have zero commitments to any form of environmentalism, and in many cases their indifference to human rights is shocking.  We need to boost our region’s economy by returning South Yorkshire to a leading manufacturing hub again. We can compete with China, as all modern factories are clean and largely automated (so we can pay our robots the same as China pay theirs… “Which is NOWT”)

Now we have left the EU, we are far freer to make deals and purchase raw materials from the rest of the world, in order to build and innovate back in Yorkshire. We should aim to challenge Taiwan as the world’s leading chip maker. We would have well paid (future proof) jobs, which will create stable families and then stable communities. We would be a new research and development hub, making sure that we don’t lose Yorkshire born talent. You should not have to leave your area or region to prosper!

With the current massive influx of foreign-born people flooding into the UK, we have to find some unifying factors in South Yorkshire. I would promote British values in all schools and promote more of the “we” and less of the “I”.  The demographics of South Yorkshire are changing, and we need to be “Yorkshire” before identifying as anything else.

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign? 

You can find out more about me at https://sdp.org.uk/david-bettney/, contact me by email at [email protected] or email [email protected].  Please also find out more at the SDP website.

Michael Roberts, SDP Candidate for North East Cambridgeshire

Michael Roberts is the SDP prospective candidate for North East Cambridgeshire.  We spoke with Michael about his decision to stand.

“As a self-described man ‘of the Left’, I have become increasingly uneasy with the Lefts’ seeming abandonment of the working class”

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

I was born in Croydon but grew up in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.  I’ve been interested in politics since I was a kid and would (and still do) describe myself as ‘of the Left’.  I studied as a mature(ish) student at the University of York, where I secured a First Class BA in Politics.  I subsequently did an MA in Legal & Political Theory at UCL.  I did have a place to do a PhD at UCL, but this was cut short when I had a double pulmonary embolism.  I’ve been on a slow road to recovery since.

I have done a range of jobs in Project and Programme Management, mostly for government departments/agencies e.g. Home Office, Foreign Office, British Council.  I worked at the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York for two months, and even spent an hour, or so, at No. 10.

I’m a long-suffering West Ham fan and an amateur songwriter.  I’m moved from Hitchin in Hertfordshire to March in Cambridgeshire seven years ago, to be closer to my parents.

“Contrary to the media characterisation of an unwashed bigoted mass, the British people are some of the most tolerant, generous, and peaceable people on Earth”

What made you decide to stand for the SDP?

As a self-described man ‘of the Left’, I have become increasingly uneasy with the Lefts’ seeming abandonment of the working class and with ‘so called’ progressives’ hostility toward hard-won Enlightenment freedoms, e.g. freedom of speech.

The post-Brexit vote reaction vividly exposed the palpable contempt that the ‘main’ parties have for the concerns of the British people.  Contrary to the media characterisation of an unwashed bigoted mass, the British people are some of the most tolerant, generous, and peaceable people on Earth.

Given our (thus far unexploited) post-Brexit independence, the UK governing apparatus needs to put the British people at the centre of policy making, to include a radical (relatively speaking) social democratic agenda.  I believe that as a patriotic, traditional, and economically left-leaning party, the SDP is ideally positioned to address these concerns.  Rather than complaining from the side lines, I decided to stand for the SDP to support this endeavour.

“There is a desperate need for more social housing (and housing more generally) in the region.  The solution is mind-bendingly obvious, even if it has eluded our leaders over the past decades – a substantial house building programme”

You’re the Spokesman for North East Cambridgeshire what’s made you decide to represent this area?

I’ve lived in the area for the last seven years (and in the region for most of my life).  Most of the UK has been suffering over the last few years, but a lack of investment with an older ailing population has seen this area decimated.  I’d like to do whatever I can to reverse this trend.

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?

There is a desperate need for more social housing (and housing more generally) in the region.  The solution is mind-bendingly obvious, even if it has eluded our leaders over the past decades – a substantial house building programme.

Many constituents are really struggling with energy/fuel costs and the commuter population are similarly afflicted with eye-watering train ticket prices.  The SDP proposes the nationalisation of natural monopolies, and energy/transport are perhaps the most urgent.

This part of the country is particularly affected by and concerned with the massive flows of immigration in the last few years.  The government has no excuse for this:  since leaving the byzantine clutches of the EU – this is a choice.  Most people don’t want to see a complete cessation, but they want to see the pace slow substantially.  We need to re-skill our native population – especially in healthcare roles.

I am deeply opposed to radical gender ideology and inflamed identity politics more broadly.  Many are not aware of these alarming trends, but that is changing rapidly.

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

Firstly, spread the word about the SDP; the aims in the ‘new declaration’ are closely aligned to the concerns of most.  You can also follow the party on X/Twitter at @SDPhq.

If anyone wishes to help with my campaign, please get in touch via email at [email protected] or on X/Twitter @MikeRobertsSDP, or on Facebook at Michael Roberts.

Lastly if you can contribute I have a Crowdfunding site at https://www.givesendgo.com/GC6GE.

Peter Hopper, Reform UK candidate for West Suffolk

Peter Hopper is the Reform UK Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for West Suffolk.  We spoke with Peter about his decision to stand.

“I am standing for Reform UK as I despair at the current state of the two main parties, who are, in effect two sides of the same coin”

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Peter Hopper and I’m the PPC for Reform UK , representing West Suffolk.

I grew up in Durham and attended a grammar school there before graduating from London University with an honour’s degree.

I am now retired having spent most of my working life in the commercial world. I was Commercial Director of a very large retail company for many years before launching my own international consultancy business.

“For over 30 years I have had and continue to have racehorses and bloodstock breeding interests in the town, and I am a long-term supporter of The National Stud”

What made you decide to stand for Reform UK?

I am standing for Reform UK as I despair at the current state of the two main parties, who are, in effect two sides of the same coin.

Under the Tories we have ended up after 14 years with the highest levels of taxation, record immigration (both legal and illegal), net zero madness and massive waste in the public sector.

Expect more of the same under a Labour administration.

We need a re-set of British politics. First past the post makes it very difficult for a new, challenger party like ours, but the more people who vote for us the more likely we are to achieve fair representation in parliament.

You’re the spokesperson for West Suffolk, what’s made you decide to represent this area?

I have a keen interest in West Suffolk, especially Newmarket. For over 30 years I have had and continue to have racehorses and bloodstock breeding interests in the town, and I am a long-term supporter of The National Stud.

“there are local issues, such as the spread of solar energy farms, the need for re-generation of our high streets, and let’s not forget the potholes!”

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?

The major problems facing the people of West Suffolk are the same as those facing the nation, but as ever, there are local issues, such as the spread of solar energy farms, the need for re-generation of our high streets, and let’s not forget the potholes!

Over the next few weeks and months, I will be out and about and listening and learning about local concerns and have already been contacted by a lot of constituents with ideas for change.

The Reform policies are just plain common sense and reflect the views of millions who voted Leave and who yearn for a fair, balanced, inclusive, and rewarding society.

Voters are turning to Reform out of a genuine desire for change.

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

I can be contacted at [email protected].

Alexander Kokkinoftas, Reform UK candidate for North Somerset

Alexander Kokkinoftas is the Reform UK Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Somerset.  We spoke with Alexander about his decision to stand.

“I watched the government implode after Brexit, desperately switching leaders and straying further from what they stood for. Not delivering on their own promises and failing the very people who trusted them with their votes”

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers

My name is Alexander Kokkinoftas and I have lived in Clevedon, North Somerset since 2018. I was born in Cyprus but moved to the UK due to the enormous amount of educational and employment opportunities. We have always lived by the sea and we chose Clevedon for its magnificent coastline, historical landmarks and the surrounding busy towns and quaint villages. This area is also accessible to major cities in the country. My family comes from Plymouth and Cyprus and we are all staunch patriots when it comes to Great Britain. I am fascinated by my own English heritage, our rich history, landmarks, politics and people and there is no greater joy than to be a part of it all. History was my favourite subject at school and from this my passion for politics was ignited.

What made you decide to stand for Reform UK?

As a potential Conservative voter, I watched the government implode after Brexit, desperately switching leaders and straying further from what they stood for. Not delivering on their own promises and failing the very people who trusted them with their votes. Being the first election I will ever vote in, I decided their policies did not benefit the country, whereas Reform UK offered hope that there was a party that had the policies which could help change our country for the better. For example, Cheaper energy, lower taxes, NHS reform, net zero immigration and overall common sense. The parties strong, committed leaders impressed me with their vision for Great Britain’s future convincing me to join. As there was no candidate for North Somerset, I decided, if there is no-one to give your vote to then you must become that person.

“The biggest concerns are access to healthcare, dental and doctors’ appointments, emergency and out of hours treatment”

You’re the spokesperson for North Somerset, what’s made you decide to represent this area?

North Somerset is my home and a beautiful county. I want to ensure it stays that way. I have always been a strong believer that any change that occurs within an area must be positive for everyone, not just a select few. That’s what Reform is – positive change. Recently, negative, unnecessary changes and disastrous decisions have been made by those who put personal political issues above local issues at huge expense to the taxpayers’. This cannot be tolerated, and I have a strong desire to stand up and support the community.

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?

The biggest concerns are access to healthcare, dental and doctors’ appointments, emergency and out of hours treatment. Housing affordability, people going through financial hardships require help. Local businesses and transport services are the lifeline of small communities and need investment. Cutting financial wastage squandering of taxpayers’ money and reducing taxes.

“For all those who share the same vision of a Greater Britain I encourage them to stand up, take part and get involved”

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

For all those who share the same vision of a Greater Britain I encourage them to stand up, take part and get involved in making this country Great. Together we can work to get the word out that this party is going to fix the country’s problems. Volunteers are vital in getting our message out there and are greatly appreciated. Anyone wishing to help can contact me via email – [email protected] and all my social media platforms, Facebook – Alexander Kokkinoftas, Instagram – AlexReformUK, Twitter –@AlexReformUK.

Reginald Chester-Sterne, Reform UK candidate for New Forest West

Reginald Chester-Sterne is the Reform UK Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for New Forest West.  We spoke with Reginald about his decision to stand.

“I’ve owned several local businesses and still run 2 de-pasture pedigree English Longhorn cattle on the Forest”

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

Born in The New Forest and lived here all my life. I’ve owned several local businesses and still run 2 de-pasture pedigree English Longhorn cattle on the Forest. An Engineer by profession, I have worked overseas in 17 different countries managing large projects and diverse workforces.

What made you decide to stand for Reform UK?

Alienated one too many times by the Conservatives. This country needs a change to honest politics and politicians that work for the country and its people, not themselves and their friends. I am willing to spend time and effort changing this country so it is a fit place to live again.

You’re the Spokesman for New Forest West what’s made you decide to represent this area?

I’ve lived here all my life and running businesses here know the trials and tribulations faced by people. Committed to the area and its protection. Breadth and width of life experience can be brought to bear to solve the myriad problems we currently face.

“This country needs a change to honest politics and politicians that work for the country and its people”

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?

We have a multi layer multi agency management structure for the Forest that does not always work in tandem or in a joined up way. The spread of Southampton’s port could become a problem. 

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

You can contact me via email at [email protected].  We need fund raisers and leaflet deliverers to spread our message.  You can also find out more at https://www.reformparty.uk/new-forest-west-constituency.

Catherine Becker, Reform UK candidate for Hampstead and Highgate

Catherine Becker is the Reform UK Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hampstead and Highgate.  We spoke with Catherine about her decision to stand.

“I have become increasingly frustrated at the poor running of government both by Labour at the local and London-wide level and by Conservatives at national level”

What made you decide to stand for Reform UK?

I have a successful business background rather than being a career politician. However, I have become increasingly frustrated at the poor running of government both by Labour at the local and London-wide level and by Conservatives at national level. I saw Reform policies and the sensible and well thought through solutions to crime, the economy and across the board and was delighted that there was a credible alternative.

You’re the Spokesman for Hampstead and Highgate what’s made you decide to represent this area?

Hampstead and Highgate have the third worst crime in the whole of London.  There are only 2 policeman per ward (who are on shifts and if on holiday/sick not replaced) and there is little funding or operational efficiency to support them.  In addition, labour have been running the area for over 25 years and there has been a rise in wasted expenditure, poor amenities and pushing through irresponsible policies.  I have real solutions and policies to turn this round without bankrupting the area.

“having more front line police is key, but it’s not just about funding (which Reform will increase by 28%) but also about creating a safe culture in which the police operate”

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?

a. Crime –  is one of the biggest – having more front line police is key, but it’s not just about funding (which Reform will increase by 28%) but also about creating a safe culture in which the police operate.  Many have left the force as a result, and having run a business I know about keeping a culture in our organisations so they thrive and stay.

b. Transport – The 20 miles an hour restriction is important near schools and small roads, but along the finchley road and other key main roads is too restrictive and can be more dangerous.  The safer streets again is important but has been rushed through and in many cases means the elderly cannot get essential visits or deliveries and is certainly not making our streets cleaner.

c.  Housing – we need more affordable housing, but without being rushed through by labour without the necessary increases in tubes, GPs, hospitals, schools and infrastructure.  This needs to happen alongside which it currently is not.

“There should be proper tenders for all government expenditure not the chumocracy we have at present.  And we want to make it better for workers and local business owners too by taxing less and delivering growth”

d. Economy – The expenditure and deficit in H&H is poorly handled by Labour, I am a business person and used to getting the best value out of our budgets.  There should be proper tenders for all government expenditure not the chumocracy we have at present.  And we want to make it better for workers and local business owners too by taxing less and delivering growth in the area.

e. Students and young people – many people think labour is the party for young people but our policies of not taxing the first £20k of income (as opposed to £12.5k now), no interest on student loans and better crime prevention and amenities show that Reform have the best policies to provide support.

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

Yes, we need more active volunteers in the area.  Being involved in a political campaign is fascinating and great experience – so please do get in touch at [email protected] or our Facebook page at Reform UK – Hampstead and Highgate Constituency 2024 or fill out this very short form for feedback on policies and volunteering at: Reform UK – volunteering and help.

Hilary Salt, SDP Candidate for Wythenshawe and Sale East

Hilary Salt is the SDP prospective candidate for Wythenshawe and Sale East, in Manchester.  We spoke with Hilary about her decision to stand.

“I joined forces with a small group of actuaries to establish a pensions consultancy with five offices across the country. I set up our Manchester office and we now employ 90 people in the North West”

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

I live in Sale with my dog, Friday. I’m an actuary, which means that I work with numbers. In 2004, I joined forces with a small group of actuaries to establish a pensions consultancy with five offices across the country. I set up our Manchester office and we now employ 90 people in the North West.

I raised two sons in Sale. They’re both grown up now. One is a carpenter, living and working locally. The other, an engineer, couldn’t resist the bright lights of London.

I spend my spare time with family and friends in Manchester. I love football and music. In quieter moments, I like pottering in the garden and spending weekends away with the dog in my VW campervan.

Having dedicated more than 40 years of my life to pensions work, I am now stepping away to stand in the general election.

“our biggest challenge is to revitalise productivity in Britain. The SDP’s policies on re-industrialisation, investment in infrastructure and energy, and rethinking how we train people, all address this priority”

What made you decide to stand for the SDP?

I joined the SDP three years ago, having become disillusioned with the left, which is what I still think of as my natural political home. I didn’t think I’d find a party that reflected the concerns I have about this country and the world around us. But when I came across the SPD and explored their policies, I found that they really spoke to me.

I think our biggest challenge is to revitalise productivity in Britain. The SDP’s policies on re-industrialisation, investment in infrastructure and energy, and rethinking how we train people, all address this priority.

The SDP policies are practical and grounded – we know what a woman is, we recognise the need to pause mass immigration, and we’re determined to build houses that are fit for our citizens.

I was already an active local member of the SDP North West branch when the Tories decided to bring back David Cameron. At this point, I became so frustrated that I knew I had to do something to offer local people an alternative to our broken two-party system.

You’re the spokesperson for Wythenshawe & Sale East. What’s made you decide to represent this area?

There’s an easy answer to this – it’s where I live. My son and lots of my friends also live in the constituency. So I can definitely count on local support for my campaign.

“there are some wider principles I want to champion – including free speech, defending women’s sex-based rights, and driving innovation and business productivity”

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency, and what issues do you hope to champion?

It’s an interesting constituency with lots of different areas and communities, so I expect to face a wide range of local issues.

Many hardworking tradespeople in Wythenshawe are still concerned about Manchester’s paused Clean Air Zone. And across the constituency, people worry whether sufficient resources are in place to support the new residents we have welcomed, including those from Hong Kong.

We’ve seen some success with the regeneration of our high streets, but in some areas this is stuttering to a halt and people want to see more renewal. And as in many areas, crime remains a central anxiety both for families and businesses.

I’m keen to support local people with all these bread and butter issues. But at the same time, there are some wider principles I want to champion – including free speech, defending women’s sex-based rights, and driving innovation and business productivity.

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

The most helpful thing people can do is to tell their friends and relatives about the SDP. Whenever we run a meeting or a street stall, lots of people tell us that they didn’t know about us and are amazed to find that we’re exactly what they were looking for. If you want to help my campaign, get in touch with me at [email protected]. Connect with me at facebook.com/hilary.salt. or follow me on X/Twitter at @RedActuary.

Bromley a Free Speech Council

Bromley Council has recently passed a policy to enshrine free speech in its procedures, code of conduct and constitution.  We spoke with the Chairman of the Executive, Resources and Contracts Committee at Bromley Council, Councillor Simon Fawthrop.

“We have seen multiple court cases where employees have been unduly penalised, or Council’s have supressed free speech”

Could you briefly introduce Bromley Council and the borough to our readers?

Bromley Council is the largest borough in Greater London, a mainly suburban borough in the south and east around Chislehurst, Orpington and Biggin Hill and more urban in the North towards Crystal Palace. The Borough has the longest road network in greater London and is about 50% greenbelt land. It is run by the Conservatives and currently solvent!

“Roy Chubby Brown isn’t to everyone’s tastes, for instance, but did the residents of Lancaster really need their council to save them from smutty humour”

Why did Bromley decided to become a Free Speech Council?

Essentially for two reasons, the initial reason was to protect employees from being persecuted for speaking freely, to allow them to whistle-blow without repercussions. We have seen multiple court cases where employees have been unduly penalised, or Council’s have supressed free speech, examples highlighted by the Free Speech Union (FSU) groan with examples of short-sighted intolerance and outright legal error.

Blue comedian Roy Chubby Brown isn’t to everyone’s tastes, for instance, but did the residents of Lancaster really need their council to save them from smutty humour by cancelling his show?

What of Basingstoke and Deane, which investigated an elected councillor under its code of conduct for use of the term ‘year zero’? (It’s allegedly offensive to the victims of Pol Pot, in case you were wondering.)

Was it really wise of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to support its employee’s injunction against citizen journalist Julian Saunders, only for a High Court judge to throw the case out with a reminder that, in this part of the world, journalists are free to speak and write?

And think again about visiting the Yorkshire town of Calderdale if you’re a broad reader – its library squirreled away books by gender-critical authors in a bid to suppress the fashionable heresy that men are men, and women are women.

“it will ultimately allow us to challenge other organisation to have the same high stands that we have when it comes to free speech”

The second reason is that political speech is under increasing pressure to only follow orthodox lines. Original and critical thinking, left field views and challenge are often frowned upon and subject to peer pressure to conform to the orthodoxy.  The changes we have and are making, give additional protection to Councillors, recognising that we are representatives of our electorate and that codes of conduct in an HR style put unwarranted constraints on free speech. Why would residents elect someone who is not able to speak up for them? These changes reaffirm those extra freedoms and protect elected representatives, but it goes further, it will ultimately allow us to challenge other organisation to have the same high stands that we have when it comes to free speech.

“allowing employees to whistle-blow and speak freely is important to good governance”

Aren’t councils about potholes, bins, schools, and social services.  What makes this something for the council to get involved in?

Yes, Councils are about all of those things and more, but Councils can be innovative and set a good example. Having a policy on licensing or planning or how a Council looks after their employees doesn’t prevent them doing all those other things. More importantly having a policy helps them do those things, allowing employees to whistle-blow and speak freely is important to good governance.

If other authorities want to become Free Speech Councils, where do they start?

If they want, they can contact me and I can give them the Bromley policy to copy, alternatively they can contact the Free Speech Union (FSU) and see if they can be of any assistance. The FSU were tremendous help to Bromley Council in progressing this policy and we couldn’t have done it without their help and guidance. For assistance below are links to copies of our policy and my comments when I introduced the policy at committee.

Malcolm Cupis, Reform UK candidate for Melksham and Devizes

Malcolm Cupis is the Reform UK Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Melksham and Devizes.  We spoke with Malcolm about his decision to stand.

“I grew up in Melksham and went to school at Aloeric Primary School and George Ward Comprehensive… and live in Keevil with my wife Caroline, two dogs and a cat.

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

I grew up in Melksham and went to school at Aloeric Primary School and George Ward Comprehensive before emigrating to South Africa with my family when I was 15 years old in 1983.

I returned to this country in 1989 and became Editor of the Melksham News and founder Editor of White Horse News in 1990.  This was followed by a career in public relations which included living in London, the Middle East, and extended periods of time in various parts of Africa, and the Far East.  I returned to this area in 2019 and live in Keevil with my wife Caroline, two dogs and a cat.

“The Party stands strongly for the classically liberal values of low taxation, personal responsibility, small government, empowered individualism”

What made you decide to stand for Reform UK?

I was an active member of the Conservative Party for 25 years before resigning last year. The farce over the leadership contest was absolutely the final straw for me. The Conservative Party has moved further and further away from core conservative values in the last 20 years and I no longer felt able to support it. It is absolutely clear to me that those values have been embraced by Reform UK.

The Party stands strongly for the classically liberal values of low taxation, personal responsibility, small government, empowered individualism, properly policed borders, free market economics, law and order and, above all, common sense. It is resistant to conformity, statism, bureaucracy and authoritarianism.

One of the biggest problems we have in politics now is that Parliament is chocked full of identikit career politicians who get parachuted into constituencies that they have no real affiliation to, having previously gone to the ‘right’ school and Oxbridge. They often have no real-life experience. They exist to impose centralised policies on their constituents, regardless of their opinions, needs and aspirations. I’ve done things the hard way. I haven’t been parachuted in from London or Cheshire with the financial support of a big political party.

“villages throughout the constituency, have seen largescale housebuilding in the last few years with little or no commensurate investment in associated infrastructure”

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?

My main areas of focus are:

1. Campaign for no more housebuilding without investment in infrastructure 

Melksham and Devizes in particular, but also other town and villages throughout the constituency, have seen largescale housebuilding in the last few years with little or no commensurate investment in associated infrastructure.

By this I mean roads, schools, healthcare facilities, retail leisure facilities and dedicated commercial areas. The result of this has been that living standards have dropped markedly as pressure has increased on all these things.

I will campaign vigorously to not just bring the infrastructure up to an appropriate level for the housebuilding that has taken place, but also to insist that it must be further appropriately developed before future housebuilding takes place. No infrastructure – no more housebuilding.

2. We need our own hospital

This follows on closely from the first point. With the great increase in the number of people living in the area it is iniquitous that people in the West of the constituency are dependent on the Royal United Hospital in Bath and people in the East have to travel to either Swindon, Salisbury or Bath. We shouldn’t have to travel 25 miles in an emergency for life saving treatment, or for cancer treatment or to see other specialists for long term healthcare.

Bath in particular is now very difficult to get to quickly and cost effectively due to the transport policies of the Council there. All three hospitals have terrible backlogs for appointments and operate way beyond demand levels that they were designed for.

I will campaign that we should have our own hospital in the constituency, with increased capacity for General Practitioners and dentists operating alongside it.

3. Support our farmers

This remains very much a rural constituency with very many people employed directly or indirectly in agribusiness and food production. Our farmers are under terrible pressure with supermarkets forcing prices down to maximise their profits and buying food in from other countries where farmers are more heavily subsidised. As a result many farmers are going out of business or giving up fields for subsidised solar farms or housebuilding. We cannot be reliant on importing our food from other countries. We must ensure that we grow our own food. We must support our farmers.

“Rural people deserve equal law enforcement and I am committed to campaigning for more visibility and better service from the Police throughout the constituency”

4. Prioritise the needs of local people

All across the country migrants are being prioritised for housing and healthcare, even if they have travelled here illegally. This must stop. I want to make sure that local people have priority for housing and healthcare, especially homeless ex service men and women and I will fight to make this happen.

5. Combat rural crime

Police numbers have been greatly reduced and what officers we have are hampered by endless bureaucracy. As a result the majority of their focus is on urban centres, where the majority of crime takes place and it increasingly feels as if rural areas are overlooked and forgotten. Criminals are aware of this and can see rural areas as soft targets. Rural people deserve equal law enforcement and I am committed to campaigning for more visibility and better service from the Police throughout the constituency, not just in urban and suburban areas.

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

You can contact me by email at [email protected], and find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/reformuk.melkshamanddevizes and X/Twitter at https://twitter.com/reformukmandd.

Malcolm Cupis Reform UK candidate Photo Trevor Porter 70125 1

Peter Storms, Reform UK candidate for Bournemouth West

Peter Storms is the Reform UK Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bournemouth West.  We spoke with Peter about his decision to stand.

“I worked in the financial sector, manufacturing, marketing, and industrial training. During that time, I also served on various professional and charitable boards”

Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m a retired businessman who grew up in Rhodesia and South Africa and came to England over 22 years ago. I also served in the British South Africa Police (BSAP) in Rhodesia and the South African Army. In business I worked in the financial sector, manufacturing, marketing, and industrial training. During that time, I also served on various professional and charitable boards in Industrial Health, Alzheimer’s, Prostrate Cancer, Materials Handling, Occupational Safety and Chambers of Commerce.

“the United Kingdom is already a Socialist Totalitarian State. Just look at ULEZ, 20MPH restrictions, DEI policies, rampant labour unions, decimated Army, Navy and Airforce”

What made you decide to stand for Reform UK?

I got very angry. I voted for BREXIT and the Conservative Government deliberately failed to implement our decision. It is my firm belief that a Labour Government would do everything possible to drag our country back into the European Union. Between the Conservatives and Labour, they have dragged British politics so far to the left that the United Kingdom is already a Socialist Totalitarian State. Just look at ULEZ, 20MPH restrictions, DEI policies, rampant labour unions, decimated Army, Navy and Airforce, Critical Race Theory being taught in schools. Our country is so far left into socialism that the common-sense policies of Reform UK are perceived as “Far Right”.

“Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch were major family holiday destinations with over 8 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Entire hotels have been taken over by illegal migrants thus reducing the holiday potential of the area”

You’re the Spokesman for Bournemouth West what’s made you decide to represent this area?

I have lived, with my family, in Bournemouth since 2022. This is my home and I will protect it.

What do you see as the big concerns for the constituency and what issues do you hope to champion?

A major problem is the large influx of foreign illegal migrants dumped into local hotels here by the government. Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch were major family holiday destinations with over 8 miles of beautiful sandy beaches. Entire hotels have been taken over by illegal migrants thus reducing the holiday potential of the area.

Another major problem is the LibDem led Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council. They have already started implementing lunatic policies like 20MPH speed limits, property developments with inadequate on-site car parking and are now wanting to site a Gypsie/Traveller permanent site for 15 caravans in an unsafe location. The site itself was a railway coal dump for over 100 years and has not been, nor will it be rehabilitated.

A third concern I have is the three town centres, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, that constitute the BCP Council area are in a disgusting state. Bournemouth in particular, is in a disgusting state with shuttered shops and high crime. It offers nothing for tourists. Our beaches are beautiful but our central business districts are a disgrace.

For those eager to help, how can they get involved in the campaign?

You can find me on:
X (Twitter)- https://twitter.com/P_Storms4Reform
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Storms4.ReformUK
To Volunteer, contact me at – peter[email protected]
For donations please connect to – GoFundMe Link: https://gofund.me/9dfba5d6 and GiveSendGo Link: https://www.givesendgo.com/Storms4Reform.