Alex Chalk, Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Cheltenham, introduces himself to The Cheltonian readers for the first of his monthly columns
It’s now over six months since I was selected to stand for the Conservatives to be Cheltenham’s next MP. I remember rushing from court (I was actually prosecuting a would-be councillor for an election fraud…) to face my inquisition. One questioner asked who my hero of the twentieth century was. I said it was JFK, for holding back his generals from launching the strike on Cuba and unleashing World War III. I’ll never forget one member shaking his head in violent disagreement!
Afterwards, I remember standing in the light drizzle near Lilley Brook Golf Course where I had played as a teenager. Although I was daunted
what lay ahead, I was excited and resolved. Cheltenham is my hometown and it was the only seat I applied for when the key marginals came up for selection. I hadn’t wanted to stand for anywhere else. I think it’s important for candidates to have a strong local bond with the place they aspire to represent.
I was brought up in Foxcote, just outside Charlton Kings and my mother still lives there. I spent a great deal of my younger years in Cheltenham, including (eventually)passing my driving test on the streets of Pittville and attending theatre workshops in the Playhouse.
My wife, young daughter and I, are happily enjoying Cheltenham life as a family unit.
I am a barrister by profession, specialising in counter-terrorism work, as well as homicide and serious fraud cases. Before the Bar after leaving Oxford University, I worked as a speechwriter for William Hague, then Leader of the Opposition, drafting speeches and articles for publication under his name. I was also elected to be a councillor where I became Chairman of the Planning Committee for four years, adjudicating on multi-billion pound planning applications.
I want to use the time between now and the election to bang the drum for things I care passionately about: locally that means getting our night-time A&E back (I’ve been a patient there myself) and fighting to ensure that we face down threats to CGH’s future as an acute emergency hospital, as well as resisting plans to build thousands of new homes in our most precious green spaces.
Nationally, I believe in the urgent need for a EU referendum, as well as common sense measures to control immigration. I hope we’ll see some debates, as we get closer to the election. Conducted in the right spirit, I think they can be an excellent way of engaging the public about the choices that face our town and country. Further questions about JFK welcome!
Alex Chalk, Gloucestershire Conservatives, 1143 Regents Court, Gloucester Business Park, GL3 4AD. Telephone: 01242 577776; Email: email@example.com; Facebook page: Alex Chalk; Twitter: @alexchalkchelt; Website: www.alexchalk.com