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By Peter Hoskin
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Simon MarcusTwo
more candidates have been chosen for the 2015 election. The first, Simon Marcus
for Hampstead and Kilburn. He’s an excellent choice. Not only did he beat the
BNP’s Nick Griffin into third place in Barking in 2010, but he also founded the
Boxing Academy, based in Tottenham and Hackney, which offers an “alternative education” for disadvantaged teenagers who might otherwise slide into crime and gang
culture. In fact, he wrote about it in a post
for ConservativeHome
a couple of years ago. Here’s a taster from it:

“Children need love, but tough love. The
Boxing Academy is based on this principle and it works. Our mentors are all
amateur boxers or martial artists and our staff cannot be bullied. The kids
respect them. Our staff take calculated risks to get through to our students,
some of whom don’t want to leave at the end of the day. We teach GCSEs, life
skills and a full sports curriculum, but boxing is the key. Opposite to what
many well-meaning liberals say, it does not teach you to be more violent but
helps you to calm down and control your anger. Children see the discipline, the
work ethic, the authority of a coach, the much needed father figure, the sense
of achievement, the decision making, the control of aggression and the
self-respect inherent in Boxing and learn that the use of force has a place,
comes with responsibility and is not for the street.”

No doubt because of
this work, Mr Marcus was appointed to the
panel
of the inquiry established to look into the London riots of 2011. He
is also—like so many of the candidates announced so far—a Tory councillor.


So what sort of
challenge does he face in Hampstead and Kilburn? Well, it’s got to be the tightest
seat on CCHQ’s target list. The 2010 general election left Labour’s Glenda Jackson
with only a 42 vote majority, after a 6.7 per cent swing to the Tories’ Chris
Philp in second place. The Lib Dems finished a further 699 votes behind, in
third. All of which is to say: close, close, close.

Byron DaviesAnd then, second,
there’s Byron Davies, who has been reselected for Gower in Wales. This is a
seat that Labour have held since 1906 – but the numbers from the last election
look less daunting than that would suggest. Mr Davies achieved a 5.3 per cent
swing towards the Conservatives, finishing 2,683 votes behind Labour’s Martin
Caton.

Mr Davies was born and
raised in the constituency, served as a police officer for the Met, and is
currently a member of the Welsh Assembly. He also helped prepare EU candidate
countries in Eastern Europe for accession – which is sort of a hot topic again,
of course.

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