Bridgwater and West Somerset Labour Party have selected Oliver Thornton as their candidate for the next General Election. In 2017 Labour doubled its vote, was second placed and is now in prime position to take on sitting Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger. Labour runs Bridgwater Town Council and is the main opposition party on Sedgemoor District Council. Labour Leader Cllr Brian Smedley said “Bridgwater and West Somerset is clearly now a target seat for Labour. The Tories have been responsible for a decade of austerity and Brexit is clouding the issue for voters. They are being faced down by their former partners the Lib Dems who put them in power and helped implement those policies in the first place and from the right by the Brexit Party who are angry at Johnson’s ‘deal or no deal’ farce while their own MPs drop out in droves to become independents. There never has been a better time for Labour to unseat the Tories in this constituency and we now have a candidate with the qualities who can do it.”
Deputy Labour Leader Kathy Pearce said “I am delighted that we have selected Oliver as he has exactly the right experience and qualities for this constituency, which mixes urban and rural. I think he’s the right person to take on Ian Liddell-Grainger – to tackle head on the hardship which Tory policies like Universal Credit have inflicted on many across the constituency to the challenges facing the rural community, especially the possible tariffs on organic products and uncertainties for our food producers and farming community.The Tories think they’re undefeatable in these parts. Let’s prove them wrong. Unite and Vote Labour, no vote splitters!”
Speaking from the stage at the Bridgwater Arts Centre where he accepted the nomination from a field of 8 candidates Oliver Thornton (32) said “You may wonder why a proud Yorkshireman is campaigning to represent the good people of Bridgwater & West Somerset in Parliament. The truth is I fell in love with a local South West girl and before long I fell in love with the South West too. I studied at my local comprehensive school and I spent my childhood on the wild North Yorkshire Moors, not unlike our local Exmoor. My wife is the latest in 5 generations of West Country farmers.
I’ve worked hard in London for the last 10 years, transforming the way financial crime is predicted and detected. I have a 1st class degree in Law and I’m experienced working with regulatory bodies, under scrutiny and under pressure as would be required of me as MP. I regularly work with diverse stakeholders from different jurisdictions and backgrounds, with different interests and conflicting visions of the future. I believe in understanding, dialogue and compromise and that’s how I operate.
Tories Have ‘pushed us apart’
Brexit has been disillusioning for many; while the current crisis inspired me to take this leap into politics, I’m acutely aware of the damage already done to our social fabric. Successive Conservative governments have pushed us ever apart. Whether you voted to leave or remain we now need to look to the future and bring our divided nation together. I trust regular people to make the judgement on our future relationship with the EU. It must be an informed and democratic choice between a Brexit that doesn’t destroy workers’ rights or the environment and an option to remain.
Bridgwater & West Somerset is not a Labour stronghold yet, but Brexit will provide electoral volatility. With teamwork, creativity and a positive message on local issues we can create a local movement. In 2017 regional turnout was up to 13% higher than in our constituency. If we can reach them and take the Liberal vote with our progressive and democratic message, we have the numbers! I want to hear about your local issues and your ideas to help.
I am a passionate environmentalist, there is so much we can do locally that not only protects the planet but improves our social circumstances. Let’s engage with nature to protect us from flooding, by reintroducing native trees on the uplands and returning riverways to their natural patterns. Let’s support electric busses that would keep our air clean and provide vital transport to rural communities!
I am truly honoured to represent Labour members and the people of Bridgwater & West Somerset, I will do my utmost to bring about a better future for our children and the most vulnerable in our society.”
Looking Forward to it
In 2017 Labour candidate Wes Hinckes amassed almost 17,000 votes in the Bridgwater and West Somerset Constituency, an increase of almost 50% from the 2015 election and Labour regained second place. With the Tories in disarray and the Lib Dems failing to live down their phony legacy of false promises, the next election could see Labour taking seats such as Bridgwater and West Somerset where Brexit fatigue can be replaced with strong candidates prepared to take on the real issues and provide a genuine alternative.