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Leader/Times Column 9th September 2016

On Tuesday it was 10 years ago to the day since I was chosen as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Pendle.  I was chosen following a selection process by Pendle Conservative Association, who interviewed eight candidates at their offices in Nelson before shortlisting two, Andrew Percy and myself. The then-Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Theresa May, came up to Pendle to promote the selection process with an event held at the Sparrowhawk in Fence.

On 6th September 2006, there were hustings in the Training2000 lecture theatre in Nelson, where we were both interviewed by a moderator before answering questions from the floor. A secret ballot of members was held, which I won.  At the time Labour’s Gordon Prentice represented Pendle with a majority of 2,180 votes, having done so since 1992.  As they would say – the rest is history. I was elected Pendle’s MP in May 2010 with a 3,585 vote majority, then re-elected in May 2015 with an increased majority.

I remain incredibly grateful to local party members for putting their faith in me in 2006 and for local residents doing so in 2010 and 2015. It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve the area as our MP. I’m also pleased things worked out well for my opponent, Andrew Percy, who was elected as Member of Parliament for Brigg and Goole in 2010 and now serves as Minister for the Northern Powerhouse.  

I took the opportunity of meeting with him on Tuesday, to lobby him about Lancashire’s bids in the latest round of the Growth Deal.  Government money via previous Growth Deal rounds is already helping fund a number of key projects across our area, like the redevelopment of Brierfield Mill but more investment is needed and as usual I am busy fighting Pendle’s corner.

 

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