I asked Phillip Lee a few questions about his politics and what he can offer Bracknell in his selection of one of the 7 candidates who are standing in the open primary for the new Tory PPC to replace Andrew Mackay MP.
Details of the other candidates on the short list can be found here.
1. What can you offer the Bracknell constituency?
I can offer my enthusiasm, drive and professional experience. I have worked throughout the Bracknell constituency, having already cared for over 2500 constituents in Finchampstead and Bracknell Town. When I undertake sessions for the East Berkshire ‘Out of Hours’ service, I am responsible for covering Bracknell Town.
The people of Bracknell constituency should know that I will dedicate my working life to representing my constituents at Westminster, defending their best interests locally and securing a bright future for the Bracknell constituency.
2. How has being a General Practitioner prepared you for politics?
My present ‘day job’ involves acting as an advocate for the best interests of my patients. At times, trying to provide the best care for my patients in this part of the county can be both tough and frustrating. I believe that many of the skills that I have had to develop as a local GP are the same skills that I will need to be a good constituency MP here in Bracknell.
3. Will you be willing to move to the constituency?
No. I presently live just 10 miles from Bracknell Town and feel that moving such a short distance will not make me any more able to represent the people of Bracknell constituency.
I am sure that local people recognise that health services, policing, transport and the environment are all regional matters that are well understood by someone who lives in a neighbouring borough. For example, where I now live, I am protected by the Thames Valley Police and my healthcare provision is provided by East Berkshire PCT. The same situation applies to someone living in Bracknell Town. For the record, I will make no future claim whatsoever from my Parliamentary allowance for my present home in East Berkshire.
4. Will you question the party policies if you see the need?
Yes, if needed. For me, representing the best interests of my constituents will come ahead of my allegiance to my party.
5. How do you feel about Andrew Mackay's departure and the second home error him and his wife Julie Kirkbride made?
I was saddened by events here in Bracknell. Ever since I first met Andrew Mackay, he has always been kind and supportive towards me. I’ve yet to meet someone in the constituency who did not regard him as a good MP. Indeed, whilst waiting to be interviewed in the first round in the selection process for the Bracknell constituency last week, I met a couple in the bar of South Hill Park who happily sang his praises.
What he did over his Parliamentary allowances was wrong; however, if selected as the candidate, I would most certainly listen to, and learn from, a man who has done so much for his Bracknell constituents.
6. Do you think that pre-registered open primaries are a good idea?
Anything which increases participation in democracy broadly gets my support; however, I have some concerns over the effect that this type of process has on the relevance and value of political party membership. Our democracy is based upon ‘Party Politics’. The recent national trend of reducing membership levels in all parties is, I feel, not good for the long-term health of our democracy.
7. If you could improve anything about Bracknell constituency what would it be?
The acute medical and surgical services for East Berkshire are not in the right location to best serve the local population. It is of paramount importance that this historic misjudgement by the then health authority is admitted to, and addressed as soon as possible. I know I would be very capable of holding them firmly to account, thereby securing the best healthcare for all in the Bracknell constituency.
8. Do you have any other previous experience in politics?
PPC Blaenau Gwent General Election 2005 - Although my total vote was numerically small (!), I achieved the largest swing to a Conservative Candidate in Wales in this high-profile political contest.
Councillor in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire 2001-2003 (By-election) – In February 2001, I stood in a Liberal Democrat-held seat and secured an 11% swing to win the seat.
9. Why do you want to stand for the Conservatives as opposed to any other political party?
I believe in the following guiding political principles:
· the value of small government
· the value of low taxation
· the importance of personal responsibility
· the value of liberty
· the supremacy of the Nation state.
Hence, I believe that the Conservative Party is the only party for which I could stand as a candidate.
10. Do you have any prior connection with the constituency? If not, isn't it fair for voters here to conclude that you are just looking for a safe Tory seat in order to further your ambitions?
Clearly, as explained above, this question does not apply to me.
I am activity seeking the opportunity to ask similar questions of all the candidates in the open primary and hope to post them on this blog soon, My first Q&A was with Iain Dale and this can be found here.
If you would like to reply to any questions asked or answered then please do so in the comments below this blog.
Phillip Lee’s website can be found here
Disclaimer : Bracknell Blog does not supporting any particular conservative's candidacy in the Bracknell Primary Selection.