CONSERVATIVE candidate Siobhan Baillie has responded to claims that she should be living in Stroud to stand as its MP.
The SNJ forwarded the prospective MP a reader’s letter, in which a resident said it was ‘outrageous’ that Ms Baillie has an address in the Witney constituency.
Ms Baillie posted the following response on social media last night:
SNJ LETTER – POSTCODES
“The Stroud News and Journal have sent me a copy of a letter that says it is ‘outrageous’ that I have an address in the Witney constituency and that ‘it should not be legal’ to stand to be an MP here on that basis. I do not know who it was from as the details were withheld but I have been asked to respond.
“I am saddened by the letter, the overall tone and the lack of understanding about the political process.
“My commitment to Stroud has always been that I will ensure we have a home in the constituency if I am lucky enough to become the Member of Parliament here.
“That said, I have not met a single person who wants to elect a public servant based solely on their postcode. As one person said to me, given the range of skills that are needed to be a MP, it would be an odd thing to focus on a set of bricks rather than the person and what they can do.
“It is of course legal for me to stand here.
“I also won a local competition fair and square to be your Conservative candidate.
“Since winning the selection in summer 2018, I have worked tirelessly to meet as many local community groups, businesses, charities, schools and residents as I can.
“I have campaigned for our college, high streets and railway station. You can see my work from my newsletters, social media and website.
“I reduced my hours at work to spend more time in Stroud and more recently, I quit my job completely so I can dedicate all my time to people here.
“This has naturally had an impact on my financial position.
“I am aware that not a lot of people realise that we do not get any funding at all to be a candidate and most of us cannot afford to get new homes in these circumstances.
“In any event, I think we should be encouraging people from all backgrounds, cultures, experiences and talents to run for parliament everywhere – not narrow the field in any way. Residents should have the widest and best choice possible at the ballot box.
“There are many many MPs who have been elected in places that they did not originate from.
“There are also many candidates (including from Labour) who are seeking to represent seats in this election where they do not live or have only recently moved to.
“As a result, the opposition political parties here should explain this in support my candidacy and to deal with letters like the one I have been shown.”