A busy day for candidate selections. Congratulations to Maria Caulfield who has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Lewes. This is a seat currently held by the Lib Dem Home Office Minister Noman Baker with a majority of 7,647. However the subsequent council election results suggest a tighter battle. In 2011 the Conservatives gained Lewes District Council from the Lib Dems – although the constituency boundary is different to the council one.
The daughter of Irish immigrrants Miss Caulfield “grew up in a run-down area of South London where the only careers advice given to us was the phone number of the local council housing office for when you became a single mum and needed a council flat.” She is a full time nurse and part time shepherdess. She is the Regional Deputy Chairman for Conservatives in the South East. In 2010 I stood as the Parliamentary Candidate for Caerphilly in the General Election achieving a 6.4 per cent swing to the Conservatives. In 2011 she was the Sussex No2AV co-ordinator. As a Brighton and Hove councillor she was Cabinet Member for Housing and gave preference on the waiting list to those who worked.
Miss Caulfield is a board member of BHT, a Sussex based homeless charity which helps with “drug and alcohol addiction and has a huge success rate using the abstinence based approach.”
People often ask me how I got in to politics. Well it was my experience of working as a nurse under the last Labour government which drove me to frustration. Their obsession with targets that made no difference to patients and their spin that sounded great in the press but in reality was far from true got me motivated to get involved and make a real difference. Today I still work as a nurse and now work at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London as a Breast Cancer Research Sister and so I see first hand the issues facing our health care system on a daily basis. I passionately believe that having experienced health care professionals involved in politics can help improve front line services and deliver services that patients really want and need.
Over the last 24 hours I have chronicled the selection of four Conservative candidates – three of them have been women. None of them conform to the lazy stereotypes which the media (and, let’s face it, much of the electorate) hold about the Conservative Party.