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North Cornwall is part of the Lib Dem recovery in the Southwest, following the 2015 General Election when all Cornish seats went to the Conservatives, the first time in a hundred years.
The previous Lib Dem MP, Dan Rogerson, contested the seat again in 2017, securing 36% having won with as little as 42% in 2005. This time local members have selected Danny Chambers as the candidate.
Danny is an equine vet in North Cornwall, and grew up on a local farm, with early work taking him to New Zealand.
From the outset, he's been involved in campaigning on global health and the alleviation of poverty, including rabies eradication projects and livestock improvement programmes in Iraq, India, Gambia, and Morocco.
Locally, he is a trustee of a mental health charity and is the youngest elected member of the Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Danny has published papers in scientific journals, presented at conferences, and written for New Scientist magazine.
The constituency profile is very rural. This is an isolated, sparsely populated part of the UK with many challenges. Traditionally emigration has been high. On average people earn less than £500 a week. Only 4.5% of the population were born outside the UK.
In June 2016 56.5% of Cornwall voted to leave the EU. And yet, voting 'Liberal' has been almost a reflex action by swathes of the population. Previous North Cornwall MPs include Paul Tyler, now our Constitutional Affairs Spokesperson in the House of Lords - with whom the overseas local parties have worked on our policies for restoring the right to vote for all UK citizens and establishing overseas constituencies - and John Pardoe - leadership challenger to David Steel and Alliance campaign manager in the 1987 General Election. Tom Horabin was a later defector to Labour, but as a Liberal was a vocal opponent of Chamberlain's policy of appeasing the Nazis, a central issue in the by-election campaign that he won.
It's fair to say also, that North Cornwall was home to many traditional One Nation Tory voters, some of whom are beginning to support Danny and his campaigns. Needless to add, there is still a very large amount of work to do.
The Tory MP is Scott Mann. He is young and local. A Brexiter who campaigned to leave in the 2016 referendum, in July 2018 he resigned from his junior role in Theresa May's government claiming that the Brexit white paper went against the wishes of his constituents who "wish to have control over our fishery, our agricultural policy, our money, our laws and our borders."
He also continues to employ his partner as a part-time secretary on a salary of up to £30,000 a year, following the change to make the practice of MPs employing relatives unlawful - the law is not retrospective.
He was investigated by police for his 2015 election spending returns but not prosecuted. Having introduced a Private Member's Bill to penalise water companies pumping sewage into the sea during high rainfall, it was recently revealed that Scott Mann has not voted in favour of a single measure to prevent climate change.
He had retained his local government seat when the county became a unitary authority, becoming council leader, but the by-election following his election as an MP was won by the Lib Dems.
Danny knows that Brexit will devastate his local communities. His priorities as the next MP will be to:
- Fund Schools Fairly to ensure local schools get their fair share of funding per pupil
- Save our NHS to ensure that local services meet the needs of everyone
- Take meaningful action to tackle our planet’s Climate Change emergency. Watch his climate change discussion with Ed Davey here
- Fight for Farmers to ensure that their livelihoods are protected from a no deal Brexit
- End Poverty in North Cornwall tackling low wages
A local campaigner with a global view.
How you can help
Our strategy is to make local party donations to the recommended seats and encourage our members and supporters to fund that strategy.