DAVE GOODERHAM: Candidate has 182 days to make a mark

A personal view
A personal view
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The saga is over, the hard work must now begin. I didn’t know the name Jo Churchill until a few short weeks ago. A Lincolnshire businesswoman who is county councillor for Grantham, the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher, I have since learned.

I wasn’t privy to the final speeches of her and her three Conservative rivals in their final bid to become the party’s candidate for Bury in next year’s General Election, but I am told Mrs Churchill has put health as a key priority – something that I would welcome regardless of whether I was employed by the NHS or not.

But, for now, I have very little to base any opinion on other than newspaper reports and second-hand comments and opinions.

Mrs Churchill now has 182 days to make sure we all know what she represents come polling day as she bids to become the first woman MP for Bury.

I know I’m not alone in stressing slight disappointment that none of the final four had strong links to West Suffolk.

But that is in the past. Mrs Churchill now has an ideal opportunity to engrain herself into local life before next May.

She is in somewhat of a fortunate position. With the Conservatives boasting a 12,000 majority, she would need to do something hugely wrong for the party to lose their stranglehold.

I would imagine this takes some of the pressure off, meaning she can get out and about, meet local people from all walks of life to ensure she can make a real difference pretty much the day after she is elected, though that of course remains an ‘if’ at this stage.

She is also joining an area which remains very much on a high. Just taking Bury, the town appears to be largely bucking any economic concern with a strong mix of national stores and much-loved independents alike.

It has floral gardens and tourist attractions which are the envy of so many, an incredibly generous community and so many people who care about their town.

Mrs Churchill must quickly add to those ranks.

She must also not forget her other big areas in the constituency, as I am sure residents of Stowmarket and beyond will be quick to stress.

It all makes for an interesting few months when Mrs Churchill has an ideal opportunity to wash away the negative headlines that have gone before her.

I wish her well. I’m not a Conservative-supporter, but a resident interested in local politics and how local people can make a difference.

If all she does is quickly connect with the grassroots in all areas of her constituency, she will have my vote.