After a casual laid back semi-retirement from front line politics, I'm seeing if I can muster the energy to play again.  Let me explain.  For over 20 years politics drove me, amused me and dominated my time - it was a massive part of my life.

In 2010 it was finally declared after three recounts that I had managed to come third in the closest three-way election in mainland Britain.  The experience was amazing, exhilarating and in so many respects personally rewarding - but I was exhausted, disappointed and wanted a break.  Politics is all consuming and utterly unforgiving.  So I stepped back and have done little active street campaigning since then.

Roll on six years and I'm here in Oxfordshire admiring the historic Buttercross of Witney, appreciating the Norman church in Fulbrook, the autumnal creepers over The Chiltern Arms in Barford and the site of the Saxon Minster in Bampton-in-the-Bush. Yes, it's the Parliamentary by-election for the Witney constituency to succeed Rt. Hon. David Cameron who has resigned his seat.

So what is it about this election, on paper an unlikely election tussle, that has propelled me to clear the diary and be here for the last week of the election.

  1. Liz Leffman, the Liberal Democrat candidate, is an absolutely cracking person and would be a superb Member of Parliament for Witney. She is effective, strong, clear, no-nonsense and has a great track record as a councillor in Charlbury (in the constituency).
  2. The Conservative Party Conference was for me a shocking display of resentment, division and barely disguised nasty nationalism.  There are lots of decent people who align with the Conservative Party, many of them are my friends, but they, like I, were shocked at what they heard.  Most ugly were the plans announced by Tory Minister Amber Rudd to ask firms to list the nationality of employees.
  3. The referendum result was a shock.  But few things were more shocking than the revelation that Leave pledges to give millions of the NHS was a naked lie, that the Government is watching the pound slide in value and that there is no plan whatsoever on how or what to negotiate.  The speed with which the leaders of the Leave Campaign ran, hid or disowned their campaign of lies has sickened many of us who are hardened to dirty politics.

There are other motivations, but these three are at the forefront of my mind. For these reasons I have cleared my diary and re-located to Witney.  I hope to be able to make a positive difference and will now spend the week working, knocking on doors and campaigning hard.

Voting is on Thursday until 10pm, so by Friday morning, 21st October, the voters on Witney will have a new MP - my aim to make sure that MP is Liz Leffman.

You can contact Liz Leffman's campaign HQ