Julian Huppert writes … Campaigning in Cambridge

Liberal Democrat members in Cambridge met last Friday evening to select the person to succeed David Howarth – as candidate, and we hope, as the city’s MP at the next election. Julian Huppert was the winner, and we invited him to introduce himself to LDV’s readers …

Being selected to stand for Parliament is always an honour. Being selected for Cambridge is especially so for me; it’s where I grew up, went to school and university, and still live.

And, of course, it’s a seat we hold, and have great hopes of continuing to hold. This is in no small measure due to our current MP, the excellent David Howarth. David is known in Cambridge for his local work – saving a hospital, campaigning for the young people’s psychiatric service – and for his national work in energy and justice, notably blocking the infamous Abolition of Parliament Bill.

He is also respected in Parliament for his deep knowledge in the law. It’s clear that MPs and ministers from all sides listen to what he says, and learn something from it – even if they don’t always agree. He will be a hard act to follow, although I hope my scientific background will enable me to match his expertise, albeit in different areas.

It was also a tough seat to win a selection in. There were lots of applicants, and with six people on the shortlist – all local; all, except me, current councillors (I stood down in June); all very good – I admit it was frustrating canvassing support to be told ‘but you’re all so good’. In fact, can I make a suggestion to anyone out there still looking for a candidate? Contact any of Tim Bick, Belinda Brooks-Gordon, Rod Cantrill, Sian Reid or Julie Smith and you will have an excellent PPC!

I fought the campaign for selection much as I will fight the general election – on our core values of liberalism, environmentalism, internationalism and a commitment to social justice. These messages resonated well with our members, and I think they will also resonate with the electors here in Cambridge.

It helps, of course, to have a track record in all of these areas – I’m on the National Council of Liberty, was a member of the party’s environment policy working group, have worked for the OECD, and spent eight years as a county councillor for a diverse ward, with lots of council and social housing. We’ll definitely remember to tell the electorate about all of this too.

If you are anywhere near Cambridge and want a taste of our campaign, please do get in touch – we’d be delighted to welcome you with leaflets, canvassing, and a good liberal message!

* Julian Huppert is the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Cambridge. His website is JulianHuppert.org.uk.

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