Grantham councillor Richard Davies shows interest in vacant Sleaford parliamentary seat

Richard Davies EMN-150115-160212001
Richard Davies EMN-150115-160212001
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County councillor Richard Davies says he is interested in standing for Parliament following the resignation of Conservative Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Stephen Phillips.

The Conservative Lincolnshire County Councillor for Grantham North West with Portfolio for Highways, Transport and ICT, Coun Davies confirmed he had told the local party that he wished to be considered for the seat.

He said: “I live in the constituency and have for most of my life. I’m very passionate about Lincolnshire and South Lincolnshire in particular. I think the area has a set of problems that need to be addressed by somebody local who’s a got a strong connection to the area.”

Since announcing his intentions Coun Davies has received a number of tweets in support. He said: “I think one of the really touching things is there are people on there (on Twitter] who I don’t agree with, but what’s been refreshing is those same people are turning to me saying go for it.

“It’s really quite good when people are prepared to look beyond single issues and look at bigger issues.”

He noted a number of highways concerns he would look to address in the constituency if he was elected as MP, along with other issues such as the effect of the recent changes to Grantham A&E.

Other candidates to declare their interest in the seat are UKIP candidate Victoria Ayling, county councillor Robin Hunter-Clarke and UKIP leadership hopeful Suzanne Evans.

Ms Ayling, who is Lincolnshire County Councillor for Spilsby Fen, said: “We need to add to the strong voice of Brexit in the House of Commons and a UKIP MP will be a good way of going it.”

She added: “I live locally and it should be someone local who understands the needs of the residents and the locality, who will bring Lincolnshire to Westminster and won’t see the constituency as the bottom rung of a ladder for a greasy pole.”

She said the constituency, and Lincolnshire in general, had ‘had a dreadful settlement from the Government’, calling it unfair and saying it did not take into account the rural issues and lack of infrastructure.

She said she believed that she did not want the county to be ‘shortchanged’,

She said a UKIP MP would also ‘shake up the Conservative Government if they lost a seat in a party stronghold to a party like UKIP’.

“It’s time we had another UKIP MP and challenged the Government properly and in Lincolnshire there’s no better time to do this” she said, adding: “This is more than just about Brexit.”

Robin Hunter-Clarke said: “I am currently seriously considering it. My team and I achieved the second best General Election result for UKIP in the neighbouring seat of Boston and Skegness.”

Mr Hunter-Clarke is currently UKIP councillor for Skegness South, but also works as the Chief of Staff to the UKIP Group in the Welsh Assembly, working with Neil Hamilton.

He was previously Vote Leave campaign’s UKIP Coordinator for the EU Referendum, and ran for the Boston and Skegness constituency seat in May last year where he received 14,645 (33.8 per cent) votes.

He also recently ran in a by-election to be a county councillor representing Gibbonsdown, Wales, for the Vale of Glamorgan Council on November 3 where he came fifth, having recieved 54 of the 846 votes cast.

Fellow party member and UKIP party leadership hopeful Suzanne Evans has also said she ‘would love to fight this seat for UKIP’.

Mrs Evans admitted she hadn’t had prior experience of the constituency, however, she vowed that if elected she would move and ‘live in the area, work hard in the area, it would be my only job’,

When asked about her candidacy for leadership of the party, she said: “There’s no problem in doing both. There are several MPs in the Houses of Parliament who are leaders of parties as well.”

She said she had worked all over the country throughout her life and said she could get to know an area quickly and become an active member of the community.

She added: “This will be quite a high profile by-election. I think I have got all the right skills to stand and represent the party there.”

Stephen Phillips announced on Friday that he was standing down as the MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham with immediate effect as a result of “irreconcilable policy differences with the current Government”.