As you may have seen from Iain Dale's diary, the Dagenham and Rainham selection for a candidate is underway, with four candidates being put through to the open primary yesterday. I am delighted to be one of the candidates gunning for the seat.
The seat covers 6 wards of the current Dagenham constituency: Chadwell Heath, Whalebone, Heath, Village, Eastbrook and River; and takes in 3 wards from Hornchurch constituency: Elm Park, South Hornchurch and Rainham and Wennington. After boundary changes Hornchurch will no longer be at Parliamentary seat at the next election. The open primary takes place this Friday at Dagenham Parish Hall, Church Lane, and the closest station is Dagenham East. All residents in the constituency, whether they are Conservative members or not, are entitled to attend, and you should register in advance. Details of how to register will be advertised in the Barking and Dagenham Post, and the Romford Recorder.
This is the only seat that I have applied for, and the seat that I applied to get on the candidate's list for. Having grown up in neighbouring Upminster where my parents have lived in the same house for 26 years, and spent many years in different parts in the constituency, I have a great affinity and love for the area. I spent several weekends in Goresbrook Leisure centre competing in Karate tournaments, and achieved my black belt in 1999 in nearby Barking park. My second rugby team (after London based Saracens) is Barking RFC, and I have several fond memories of watching games there.
In the 2005 general election I campaigned for James Brokenshire, and spent many days in the Hornchurch parts of the constituency. In the local elections in 2006 I campaigned almost exclusively in Elm Park, Rainham and South Hornchurch, listening to resident's concerns, and working hard for them.
Like so many voters, I want to see a return to fairness, where those who work hard and abide by the law are not penalised, families are encouraged to stay together, there are tough measures on crime, but also to deal with the causes of crime. I want to get rid of this Labour government, which has failed so many people. I want to encourage aspiration and hard work, and a sense of community and society. But I want an end to the never-ending regulation and interference, new laws, new forms, new paperwork that prevents our professionals from doing their jobs, such as our teachers, the police on the streets (in the station), and our doctors and nurses.