A group of East Surrey residents who claim they are tired of feeling “ignored” by the sitting Conservative MP Sam Gyimah have rallied together to support an Independent candidate in the General Election.
Andy Parr, MBE, a long-time resident of Caterham and influential community organiser, says he is hoping to give the other candidates a run for their money in the June 8 election.
Mr Parr, chairman of the Caterham Festival and a long time stalwart of Round Table and Rotary and Scouts said: “I will be available and accessible to the residents of East Surrey, prioritising their needs.”
Warlingham resident Emma Morgan, who is now serving as Parr’s election agent, kick started what she calls the “revolution” when she began posting on local social media groups about how she and other disaffected voters were hoping to find an alternative representative for East Surrey.
She wrote: “There are a lot of angry voters in East Surrey that are really disappointed in our MP’s lack of interest in his constituents. Now is the chance to attempt to do something about it.”
Ms Morgan said she received a great response, and once Mr Parr agreed to stand, a group of supporters came together to launch the campaign.
She said: “These people have put aside differing political views to unite for what is best for the area. They’re new to political campaigning and are giving up their free time to give East Surrey residents a real choice in this election. They believe that if people are dissatisfied with the status quo, they should try voting for something different.”
Mr Parr’s manifesto focuses on improving funding for local community initiatives; supporting Brexit negotiations; ensuring affordable housing for East Surrey residents is built with supporting infrastructure while at the same time protecting the Greenbelt; looking after local policing, the NHS and education; stopping Southern Rail strikes; and reducing the effects of noise pollution from Gatwick.
The full manifesto can be found at http://www.eastsurreyforum.co.uk/
There is also a public Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/eastsurreyforum/
Conservative candidate Sam Gyimah, MP since 2010, has as yet issued no comment about Mr Parr but has said at his nomination: “It’s been a huge privilege to have represented East Surrey for the last seven years. This is a wonderful constituency with a tremendous community spirit, and I’ve been proud to have been able to speak for the area at the highest levels of government.
"As Theresa May’s candidate in East Surrey, I am determined if re-elected that the interests of all our residents will be taken into account in all major decisions, both local and national. That means electing a strong and stable Conservative government in the national interest”.
Mr Gyimah went on to outline his priorities for the local area including: fighting to protect the unique and special character of our area; fairer funding for Surrey to deliver social care and vital local services; and the revitalisation of our high streets.
Other candidates for East Surrey on June 8 are: David Lee (Liberal Democrats); Benedict Southworth (Green Party); Hitesh Tailor (Labour); Helena Windsor (UKIP).
All candidates can be heard in debate on Caterham’s Ridge Radio on May 24 at 5-7pm. Log into www.ridgeradio.co.uk