Rotherham and Barnsley Liberal Democrats have selected Michael Beckett as their candidate in the Rotherham by-election. Michael comes from North Yorkshire where as well as being a local councillor, he has worked for the Citizen's Advice Bureau, a mental health charity, and run his own small business.
Michael has dedicated his professional life to helping people, often the most vulnerable in society, which is very good training for the job of an MP, who should stand up for and help local people. Michael's sometimes frustrating experience of contacting MPs on behalf of CAB clients was one thing that motivated him to stand for Parliament: "I found that some MPs did very little to help their constituents and I thought that I could do a better job" he commented. Michael's experience running a small business also means he understands the problems business people face and the importance of supporting small businesses.
As many people are no doubt aware, the parliamentary by-election has been called following the resignation of Rotherham's Labour MP Denis MacShane for fraudulent parliamentary expenses. An official report into Mr MacShane's expenses described his case as "the gravest ever investigated".
Police are currently considering whether to bring criminal charges against Mr MacShane for the fraudulent activities he has now admitted in letters to parliamentary authorities.
Labour have been in control in Rotherham for decades, yet many residents feel badly let down not only by an MP with no respect for public money, but also by an ineffectual Labour run Council recently embroiled in a child abuse scandal.
It is definitely time for a change in Rotherham and replacing a Labour party expense cheat with another Labour MP would seem to reward Labour for a corrupt MP and a council that failed to protect children.
I was out talking to voters in Rotherham on Saturday with Michael Beckett and am happy to report that he was very well received on the doorstep. Many residents, including long term Labour voters, agreed that it was time for some real change and that they would like an MP who would be dedicated to working for the people of Rotherham.
On the doorstep Michael gave people a number of good reasons to vote for him including:
- His first priority would be to be to serve the people of Rotherham;
- His extensive experience of helping people makes himself very well qualified to be a good constituency MP for Rotherham;
- Liberal Democrats are in government getting things done and pushing for policies that help ordinary people, like increasing the tax threshold to £10k.
Good luck to Michael on Thursday 29th November!