Ros Kayes chosen by West Dorset Lib Dems to take on Oliver Letwin in 2015

The Lib Dems have been runners-up in the West Dorset constituency since it was created in its modern form in 1992. Oliver Letwin was first elected in 1997 and has narrowly held the seat the seat since then. It would take only a 3.5% swing towards the Lib Dems to win it.

The party has this week moved a step nearer towards that goal with the selection of an energetic local candidate, Ros Kayes, as their website highlights:

West Dorset Liberal Democrats have selected Bridport based Cllr Ros Kayes to fight the seat for the party in the General Election of 2015.

In 2010 Ros cut her teeth as Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate in the adjacent constituency of South Dorset, achieving the biggest increase in vote share for the Lib Dems in any Dorset constituency.

“No-one can be under any illusion that fighting the 2015 election is going to be easy for either of the parties of government”, said Ros.

“But by far the bigger issue is that people are so distrustful of politics and politicians in general that they are crying out for MPs who are not career politicians. The best MPs grow out of their constituencies, and are not parachuted in by national parties. We need people who will represent their communities and stand up and speak out when there’s something that’s clearly wrong as well as supporting their constituents by not always toeing the party line when that’s clearly the right thing to do.”

With a career background in secondary education and mental health Ros, County and District Councillor for Bridport, is committed to working hard nationally to steer the party’s role in government towards protecting the vulnerable and delivering social justice in welfare reform, housing, health, education and training. In Bridport she has a reputation as a tireless activist, campaigning on a range of social issues and setting up innovative projects to improve housing, skills training and the local economy. She is a member of the Green Liberal Democrats. …

“We have an advantage in that Ros lives in the area and is well known within West Dorset for protecting services valued by the community, said Janet Page, Liberal Democrat Constituency Chairman, “West Dorset is 16th in the list of winnable seats for the Liberal Democrats nationally and there has been overwhelming support for Ros’s candidature among our members.”

You can follow her on Twitter here or via Facebook here. Good luck Ros!

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16 Comments

  • “But by far the bigger issue is that people are so distrustful of politics and politicians in general that they are crying out for MPs who are not career politicians. The best MPs grow out of their constituencies, and are not parachuted in by national parties.”

    I guess a career politician who lives in Putney, West London and was parachuted into a seat in Sheffield would not be one of the best MPs according to this definition.
    He might even be a reason why people are so distrustful of politics and politicians.

    The sooner Clegg leaves politics, the better it will be for everyone.

  • we wish her well, but is her surname Keyes or Kayes? both versions feature in the article.

  • “I guess a career politician who lives in Putney, West London and was parachuted into a seat in Sheffield”

    So that would be far, far worse than a career politician who lives in Primrose Hill and was parachuted into a seat in Doncaster North, would it?

    Or a certain shadow Chancellor who lives in Stoke Newington, courtesy of the taxpayer, and was parachuted into a constituency in Yorkshire?

    “The sooner Clegg leaves politics, the better it will be for everyone.”

    I notice you even blamed Nick for the defeat of Lords reform, even though it was obviously the Tories’ fault for not fulfilling their promises. How is that supposed to be Clegg’s fault?

    The sooner people stop scapegoating Nick Clegg for every single thing that is wrong with our country and its political system, the better it will be for everyone.

    It’s a weird kind of anti-cult that has sprung up among the more aggressive and paranoid Labour supporters. I’m not sure why you’re choosing to inflict it on us here.

  • “So that would be far, far worse than a career politician who lives in Primrose Hill and was parachuted into a seat in Doncaster North, would it?
    Or a certain shadow Chancellor who lives in Stoke Newington, courtesy of the taxpayer, and was parachuted into a constituency in Yorkshire?”

    So what? How does the fact that the Labour party has done the same make it any less hypocritical for the Lib Dems to peddle this line about local candidates, which they don’t actually believe?

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Dec '13 - 3:18pm

    RC
    I think that you are being a little over-sensitive when you claim that people are ‘scapegoating Nick Clegg. I also find your use of the medical term paranoia objectionable. People who are suffering from paranoia are people who are suffering deeply.

    As someone who read the Lib Dem manifesto before once more voting Lib Dem, I don’t see why Nick Clegg as leader of the party,( and those Lib Dems), holding ministerial positions should be above criticism.

    Whilst it could be argued that the pledge on university fees was broken because of coalition, there was a report that he planned to break his promise before the election. If this is true and students and potential students voted for him on the basis of his pledge, then his behaviour was totally dishonourable.

    I can’t claim to know much about economics but I thought the argument that there should not be massive cut backs too early seemed sensible.same with VAT, and yet he had not been sat at the knee of the Conservative government for two minutes before he was arguing for the Conservative approach of austerity.

    As someone who has always supported Friends of the Earth, I supported the pre-election stance on nuclear power. The final straw for me was the reported response of Nick Clegg to the Roma inhabitants of Page Hall in Sheffield.

    Call me naive but I actually believed that the Lib Dems promised a new kind of politics.

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Dec '13 - 5:26pm

    @Mark
    I am sceptical of what I read in newspapers,but he spoke on radio so it is possible to know his views straight from the horses mouth.

    What he said about the new immigrants who have moved to Page Hall is so reminiscent of what was said about the previous wave of Pakistani residents by the settled white residents many years ago, albeit in less uncouth terms.

    As far as I can make out, the Roma community in Page Hall are not law breakers. I say Roma men explaining why they came to Great Britain, they felt that because they were black they could not get an education for their children but in Great Britain they could ( so much for ‘Roma’ putting a low value on education.

    As for the comments , ‘ if you do things that people find intimidating such as large groups hanging around on street corners you have got to listen to what people say. Why direct this against the Roma? I have an elderly close relative who lived in a house leading from Eccleshall Road, a stones throw from Nick Clegg’s surgery. She was driven out by people standing in large groups, drinking , making a lot of noise late at night. The offenders – university students. To suggest that there is a ‘British way of life’ that Roma are not adhering to seems laughable to me.

    I agree with Professor Yaron Matras. Both Blunket and Nick Clegg are guilty of racial profiling. Manchester has shown a far more positive approach to the integration of Roma.

    If you think I am being over-sensitive, my attitudes to the Roma immigrants is influenced by an incident that took place when I was on holiday in Romania. I looked out of the window of our hotel in Bucharest and saw a swarm of children descending on the outside tables stealing the sugar packets. I pointed it out to the concierge that there were children stealing his sugar. The man a perfectly nice polite fellow, walked to the window and said, ‘ They are not children, they are Roma’. I was too chilled to answer and to this day, two year later,I feel guilt that I was so stunned I let the comment pass. I will never forgive myself.

  • RC 14th Dec ’13 – 2:05pm
    So that would be far, far worse than a career politician who lives in Primrose Hill and was parachuted into a seat in Doncaster North, would it?

    What an odd response, RC. The Labour Leader was parachuted in as well. I do not regard the Labour Leader as one of the best MPs. Do you?
    I was commenting on a Liberal Democrat statement that ” The best MPs grow out of their constituencies, and are not parachuted in by national parties.”.
    One of the problems with Clegg is that he spent almost ten years abroad before taking over the already Liberal Democrat seat in Sheffield. He was parachuted in to be an MP, in 2 years he was parachuted in to be leader of the party.
    I think you may concede that his meteoric rise to party leadership after such a brief period in the Westminster Parliament may explain some of his many errors?
    I think you may also agree that it is not unreasonable to lay some of the losses of the party at the door of Clegg who has now been party leader since 18 December 2007 ?
    Are you saying that Clegg is blameless for the loss of members, the loss of funding, the loss of councillors, the loss of activists, the loss of seats at the last General Election?
    Are you saying that Clegg is blameless for the loss of public support which has resulted in the party bumping along on in the opinion polls in fourth place below UKIP ?

  • RC 14th Dec ’13 – 2:05pm
    RC, you say =
    ” I notice you even blamed Nick for the defeat of Lords reform, even though it was obviously the Tories’ fault for not fulfilling their promises. How is that supposed to be Clegg’s fault? ”

    Reform f the House of Lords was written into the Coalition agreement.
    Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrat manifestos were committed to reform of the House of Lords.

    Well we were told by Clegg himself that he took on personal responsibility for getting House of Lords reform through.
    Clegg lead on this in the Commons.
    Clegg went before the select committee as the person responsible for the bill that he had decided should go before parliament.
    Clegg failed to get Labour on board.
    Clegg failed to keep the Tory Right quiet.
    Clegg failed to get on board even significant members of his own party like David Steel for the Clegg version of reform. Clegg summed up in the Commons in the debates – you can check what was said in Hansard – you may think that calling the Labour Party dinosaurs and other insults was not perhaps the best approach to keeping them on side.

    It was Clegg’s failure, a very personal failure, which showed up his lack of experience, his inability to command a majority even for a policy which all parties shared.

    Reform of the Lords was a policy on which Liberals had been consistent for a hundred years. If we had got nothing else out of the coalition we could have proudly gone to the voters and demonstrated how we had made a significant change with an iconic Liberal reform. But Clegg failed. Clegg lost support in all parties, even his own party. He managed to develop a version of reform which upset everyone and had the support of virtually nobody. Clegg is very much to blame. He has no excuses and no alibis. He told us he was personally responsible for the reform and he has been a lame duck ever since he failed.

  • I really get why people want a ‘local candidate’ – but when over half of our parliamentary constituencies being ‘safe’ tory or labour seats, we’re effectively denying 50% of the population the chance of becoming and MP (unless they happen to support the incumbent party) simply because they live in that area, for work or family requirements. This is even worse if you’re a Lib Dem! A huge amount of seats across the country are effectively unwinnable, unless you have the time and money to campaign tirelessly to build up from a low base (being rich enough not to work helps). Not that I’m complaining :)

    Party leaders and the general public bemoan the overall quality of MP’s for ministerial positions and I’m can’t help thinking this is a part of the problem – its not like most other highly important roles to the country where anyone can apply and the best candidate gets the job.

    How to fix this? Maybe MP’s should stick to looking after their constituencies and ministerial positions should be filled by non-MP’s – with these jobs being filled by people genuinely qualified to do the job with specific experience in that particular field. A side product of that might be that the people who become MP’s will be doing it for the right reasons, *helping people* as opposed to seeing it as stepping stone to prestigious and powerful political career.

  • Gareth Wilson 15th Dec ’13 – 8:19am
    ” Maybe MP’s should stick to looking after their constituencies and ministerial positions should be filled by non-MP’s ”

    Gareth Wilson, Take a look at how many ministers are NOT actually elected members of the House of Commons.

    Lord Matthew Freud for example, the Conservative PR millionaire who takes such delight in his ministerial role of cutting social security support for the poor. The real Scrooge in the Coalition Pantomime.
    Or in the last Labour Government, Lord Adonis who was rewarded for deserting the Liberal Democrats with a place in the Lords and a present of the country’s biggest train set to play with.
    Who can forget Lord Falconer one of the most powerful ministers in Blair’s government, who was ennobled for being Tony’s flat-mate?
    Or Lord Sugar, who was put in the Lords for saying “You’re fired” on the telly. Did they make him minister for Employment?
    We are already paying for more than 800 Lords-a-Leaping this Christmas and a lot of the are ministers.

    Do not be surprised if very soon some more are appointed.

  • peter tyzack 17th Dec '13 - 10:10am

    A pity that this piece about the brilliant Ros Kayes and her selection for the very winnable West Dorset should be turned into a navel-gazing spat about the Party leadership. What happened to ‘loyalty’? Nick is our Leader, he is doing a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances and deserves our utmost support and respect(nothing wrong with being a critical friend, but do it in private not on an open blog).
    Armchair theories are all very well, but try putting your principles into action when most of the media circus are against you, and even your own party members believe the fiction that they write.

  • According to the 2011 Census, West Dorset has a below-average per capita income, well below the figures for neighbouring parts of Dorset, Somerset and Devon. The poverty hotspots are Bridport and Beaminster. Why is this constituency Tory? West Dorset is surely a prime target for a left-of-centre party.

    RC wrote:

    “The sooner people stop scapegoating Nick Clegg for every single thing that is wrong with our country and its political system, the better it will be for everyone.”

    Quite right, RC. We shouldn’t be attributing to Mr Clegg powers he doesn’t have. All that does is deflect our attention from what is really destroying this party, which is the “coalition”, not Mr Clegg. It matters not who leads the party while the party is nothing more than a satellite of the Tories. The sooner we wake up to this fact – and do something about it – the better for all of us.

  • Andrew McLean 22nd Jan '14 - 8:02pm

    More information at roskayes.org.uk

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