Campaigning for my home town
I was born in Darlington at Greenbank Hospital and went to Abbey and Hummersknott schools then Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College. My mum was a local schoolteacher and my dad worked at the B&Q at Morton Park.
Currently I am a PR consultant specialising in healthcare. I have worked here in Darlington, in London and in Washington, DC. My first job was a delivery round for Martin’s newsagent in Mowden, and I previously worked at Darlington Station and the Newton Aycliffe Royal Mail. Within the constituency, I have lived in Mowden, Faverdale and just off Hummersknott Avenue, with my parents and while growing up.
My past record: committed to speaking up for Darlington and for the Conservatives
Back in 2015, I was chosen by the local Conservatives here to stand to be the town’s MP (link). Then in 2016, I was selected to run to be the local Police Commissioner for Darlington and Durham, where I brought the biggest increase in the Conservative vote in England (link).
Following Theresa May calling this election in order to secure the country’s backing for her plan to build a stronger Britain and to deliver last year’s vote to leave the EU and take back control, I was selected again by local Conservatives to be Theresa May’s candidate here (reported on here: Northern Echo, 25 April 2017, link, and earlier here: Northern Echo, 18 April 2017, link).
It is a great honour to stand for Parliament again in my home town, and I really appreciate the huge level of support I have received – particularly from those who are telling me they are lifelong Labour supporters voting for Theresa May for the first time in this election while I have been talking to voters on the doorstep. The choice in this election is clear: supporting Theresa May’s strong and stable leadership of our country, or risking everything by voting for Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate here, and allowing local Labour complacency over our town to continue. Vote for me and Theresa May on 8 June to bring change to Darlington and get Brexit done.
Why am I standing to be your local MP?
This is my home town. I want the people of Darlington to have their voices heard, both locally and nationally. Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate here and the local Labour Party has been doing a really bad job of standing up for Darlington, and with Theresa May I want us to change Darlington for the better.
Locally Labour have often taken people for granted around here and neglected our interests – for the past 25 years in Darlington, many of us left to feel that our supposed representatives only show up at election time. For example, considering just her local record alone, Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate here:
- Failed to stand up for our local library when the Labour council wanted to close it down last year, only accepting this year after the election was called that she ‘should have listened to you’: she said in May ‘people wanted to see me stand up and shout on their behalf. People are saying to me that they need to see me stand up against that particular decision – if they’re saying that, I need to listen’ (Northern Echo, 19 May 2017, link);
- Failed to speak out against the highest council tax rises in the country, other than in Leicester, while people in Darlington earn £2,000 less on average than across the UK; and,
- Failed to speak out against the Labour Council increasing the pay of their senior staff to a level that is amongst the highest per head of the local population than anywhere else in the country (PeterCuthbertson.com, 9 February 2017, link).
It’s clear for all to see: the Labour Party, and Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate here, have abandoned the people of Darlington.
Nationally, I want our voices to be heard as well, particularly as Theresa May is negotiating to secure and deliver the best possible Brexit deal. We voted to Leave here in Darlington last year – I am proud of that, but Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate seems to be ashamed of that fact! I do not want the referendum result frustrated, and the people of the north east ignored by out of touch Labour politicians in Westminster again!
Campaigning on local issues
Standing up for Darlington Library: I brought a legal challenge over the Labour council’s plans to close Darlington library, helping to save the library. My rival has now accepted that she ‘should have listened’ to local voices expressing their anger on this, but she failed to speak up when it really mattered i.e. not just when there’s an election on (Northern Echo, 19 May 2016, link). The legal challenge that I brought by finding a barrister and the funding saved jobs for at least a year so that we are now still able to discuss the library today – while my opponent did nothing (read more about my campaign to save our local library here: link).
- Speaking out against large rises in council tax and wasteful spending: I led a campaign against Labour introducing some of the highest council tax rises in the country. I know all too well from my time working for and as a supporter of the TaxPayers’ Alliance that too much council tax get spent wastefully and without proper consideration for the pinch on people’s pockets and family budgets. I think it’s disgraceful that the Labour-run council is paying some of the highest senior council salaries per head in the country (PeterCuthbertson.com, 9 February 2017, link). I aim to keep up the pressure on Labour here locally, and am committed under Theresa May’s manifesto to keep the tax on us all as low as possible. Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to wishfully seek to finance every nonsensical idea his shadow Cabinet has through increasing taxes on corporations will be damaging for the economy, destroy local jobs, and will ultimately passed onto consumers meaning that everyone else still ends up paying. A vote for Corbyn is too big a risk.
- Pushing for tougher sentencing: I founded the Centre for Crime Prevention in 2013 to campaign for evidence-based sentencing – by which I just mean people should receive punishments for their crime that they deserve, given the seriousness of the offence committed, and that we know actually work, in changing behaviour and preventing future criminal activity by those found guilty at trial and would-be-offenders (Centre for Crime Prevention, 2013, link). Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott don’t believe that prison works, but all the facts show that it helps keep our streets and communities safer, and helps crime rates to fall. Violent crime in particular has fallen under Theresa May’s guardianship first in the Home Office and now as Prime Minister. Locally in Darlington too I have been making the case for tougher sentencing, particularly for violent offenders (Northern Echo, 15 September 2014, link). When I pointed out in 2015 that Labour didn’t want more prison places to Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate in this election while again standing against her then, she desperately responded that my comments were ‘idiotic’ rather than engage on the substance of Labour’s dire record on tackling crime (Northern Echo, 25 February 2015, link). I am strongly in favour of tougher sentencing being applied by Theresa May and the Conservatives to help us reduce crime rates further still – and I have been speaking to so many residents of Darlington on the doorstep in this campaign, who are telling me they feel the same.
I voted and campaigned for us to Leave. I am proud of my home town and the decision we made here last year – to back Britain and take back control of our own decisions on how we spend our money, on our laws, and crucially on our borders and immigration.
My main rival here is Jeremy Corbyn’s candidate who campaigned to Remain in the EU (Twitter, 23 June 2016, link), then wanted to keep us in the EU’s single market – which would mean we would still have free movement (Open Britain, 23 January 2017, link) – and is now arguing that we should still remain in the EU’s Customs Union, which would mean the EU would still get to prevent us signing new trade deals and securing more jobs for local industry here (Daily Express, 18 January 2017, link).
Earlier this year she herself admitted her reluctance to get behind our decision to Leave, saying on Twitter ‘You might need to find a way to accept it, doesn’t mean you ever have to agree with it.’ (Twitter, 8 January 2017, link).
Almost a year after the referendum, I have never heard her speak of being proud of the decision we made last year. She doesn’t really want to stand up for our views here, and seems a little ashamed of the decision we made and real concerns here about immigration.
Jeremy Corbyn and his candidate here cannot be trusted to deliver Brexit and take action on immigration.
My commitment to you and to Darlington
I have been campaigning relentlessly in this election to see that Darlington gets the change it so badly deserves. If you have never voted Conservative before, that’s okay – I understand that many people have never voted Conservative before, or have even hated the Tories! – but I come from a working class family myself, and under Theresa May so many of them feel comfortable voting Conservative for the first time. If you want your voice to be heard, and for us to change Darlington for the better, I am asking for you to vote for me and Theresa May on 8 June.