Search

Election 2017: Upminster mum starts campaign against candidates unfamiliar with area

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:44 24 April 2017

Catherine Meek hard at work in her office. Picture Catherine Meek.

Catherine Meek hard at work in her office. Picture Catherine Meek.

Catherine Meek

A mum-of-two has warned a political party against taking voters for granted by selecting election candidates not familiar with the area.

Former Conservative employment minister Esther McVey. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images. Former Conservative employment minister Esther McVey. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images.

Because of time constraints before the general election, the Conservative party is selecting candidates for the Hornchurch and Upminster constituency after Dame Angela Watkinson announced she would step down.

When Catherine Meek, 43, of Courtenay Gardens, Upminster, found out she leapt into action and started a social media campaign and petitioned Gareth Fox, head of candidates.

“Conservative headquarters is not letting local Tory associations choose their own organic candidates,” she said.

“I heard that the plan is to parachute in the likes of Esther McVey or David Campbell-Bannerman, neither of whom know anything about the area.

“Through people power, we are trying to change this.”

Ms McVey, is the former MP for Wirral West, and Mr Campbell-Bannerman is Conservative member for the European Parliament (MEP) for the east of England.

Shaun Bailey speaking at a Conservative Party Conference. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Archive/PA Images Shaun Bailey speaking at a Conservative Party Conference. Picture: Chris Ison/PA Archive/PA Images

A third candidate is said to be Shaun Bailey, Conservative London assembly member who stood for Hammersmith in the 2010 elections, but now lives in Harold Hill.

Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association chairman, Bob Perry, 60, said: “It’s true but we are rejecting that principle and we are fighting for a local.”

Ms Meek continued: “We have a strong Tory majority but don’t take us for granted. Don’t think we are just going to stand for it.

“Think again. If you’re a big Tory area they should be saying thank you not just give us someone from Wirral who doesn’t know the area.”

Theresa May announced a snap general election on June 8 last week and was backed by a major of 522 MPs to 13.

Simon Darvill, secretary for the Hornchurch and Upminster Constituency Labour Party said the process for his association is similar to the Conservatives.

David Campbell Bannerman speaking at an Alternatives to EU Membership conference. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images. David Campbell Bannerman speaking at an Alternatives to EU Membership conference. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images.

He said usually associations have two months to choose a candidate, hold hustings and have names short listed by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC).

“Local members don’t get a say but having said that, they [the NEC] will try to pick a local candidate sometimes someone who has previously stood,” he said.

Mr Darvill suggested a possible candidate is Paul McGeary who stood in the 2015 elections.

Labour party candidates will be unveiled on May 2.

But according to Ms Meek, a solicitor, once Dame Angela’s replacement is chosen, the seat is likely to remain Conservative because of the large Tory majority.

“We know that the Tory MP is going to be retained here,” she continued.

“The question is who is that Tory going to be?”

Mr Darvill added: “It is a very large majority but we have held the seat before.

“We have 600 members, the most members we have ever had.

“We will be working hard to speak to voters and get our message out there in the time we can.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

Police in Hertfordshire are appealing to members of the public in Havering for help in tracking down a wanted man they believe is in the Romford area.

17:30

A musical variety group that spent more than 50 years performing in hospitals and care homes, still meets up to reminisce about the days of musical festivities and fundraising.

These are the Havering roads to miss next week if you don’t want to risk delays.

15:20

Bob Carlton, a well known theatre director and writer has died.

A touching musical comedy centred around the excitement of a royal wedding during 1940s Britain is making its way to the borough.

Young people will be campaigning to earn a role representing the borough as a member of Youth Parliament.

A former Olympic hurdler will be joining Dancing on Ice champion Ray Quinn at the official opening of the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre in two weeks time.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Breaking News

Yesterday, 10:04

A man’s body has been found outside a block of flats this morning.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now