Your readership will have received a leaflet from me in the post last week, stating my five pledges and plans for the area.
I have listened to feedback from the electorate and wanted to respond. Additionally, I recently engaged with Mr Hayes and other candidates in a debate on BBC Radio Lincolnshire and I want to set the record straight on a few points.
I went to a state school. I graduated into the worst recession in living memory, I have been unemployed and on minimum wage.
Firstly, with regards the leaflet, the overwhelming response was extremely positive.
For instance, proposals for a Lincolnshire Living Wage have resonated very well with your readers. However, I wanted to apologise to those who were disappointed with the content – specifically, that nothing about me as a person was mentioned.
It is very important that voters realise that my party only had resources for one of these leaflets. The type of content was therefore a carefully considered decision with such a wide variety of people to reach out to and stand out from the other candidates.
Our funds come entirely from our members in the constituency, who are ordinary people. The Conservatives and UKIP, as your readers can guess, have very wealthy backers (some of whom are outside the area) and are able to afford many leaflets and adverts as a result.
We are a member-funded, passionate, local, grass-roots organisation and so I wanted to ensure for our one leaflet that the policies were shared first and foremost, rather than talk about me and my personality (so not an ego-trip!).
This is not an excuse, but rather hopefully an explanation of the practicalities of my position.
Secondly, I wanted to respond to a specific misconception raised by Mr Hayes at the radio debate.
I lived in Spalding until November last year and had lived in the area for around three years as well as standing in a previous council election in Spalding. I only had to move due to the utter uselessness of our rail connection to and from Peterborough, which meant that when I changed jobs I could not get home from work at a decent time. I am sorry if that is unacceptable to some, but I have to earn a full-time wage like everyone else and do not have the luxury of being a full-time politician.
I 100 per cent guarantee to voters I will move back to the constituency if elected.
Finally, as a bit of personal background. I am 26 and my life experiences mean that I understand the pressures that local people are under from the cost of living.
I went to a state school. I graduated into the worst recession in living memory, I have been unemployed and on minimum wage. I have had to fight to succeed, as have many others in my generation, due to the financial sector’s blundering and greed.
I also feel I am entitled to claim ‘borrowed roots’ insofar as my fiancée is locally born and bred. She has been educated, lived and worked in around Spalding all her life, as has her family.
This means that unlike some other candidates I am always in and around the area. Just last night, for instance, we went for a birthday meal at The Moorings in Spalding – another great local pub and phoenix from the ashes!
We love this area – as I have said many times before, ours is a beautiful constituency. It just needs some TLC and investment, someone who will go to Westminster and fight our corner. This is what I intend to do.