Mid Bedfordshire Independent candidate says he has “unfinished business”

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Gareth Mackey at BBC Three Counties Radio. Image: Photo supplied by the candidate
Gareth Mackey at BBC Three Counties Radio. Image: Photo supplied by the candidate

The Independent candidate for Mid Bedfordshire said he is standing again as he has “unfinished business”.

Gareth Mackey came fourth when he stood as a candidate for last year’s by-election.

“I still passionately believe in Mid Beds, and quite frankly I look at the national politics and I think ‘my god, why would anyone vote for them, they’re all in a mess’,” he said.

“I think the people in Mid Bedfordshire deserve better, and they deserve someone who’s going to be absolutely focused on them and not engaged in the Westminster Circus.

Although a vote at a general election is a vote for who the constituent believes would be the best local MP, it is portrayed as a vote for the Prime Minister.

How does an Independent candidate get people to focus on choosing their local representative?

Mackey said: “I guess that’s the problem with Independents, they tend to be [standing for a] single issue – save this hospital, don’t knock down that school.

“For me, it’s about working hard and showing people that I am worthy of that vote over and above even perhaps a potential Prime Minister, that I can serve the people of the constituency far, far better than anyone in a party.

“Because what I keep trying to remind people is that everyone sort of campaigns on the fact that they’re going to do X, Y, and Z, but as soon as they get into parliament they’re at the beck and call of the whip.

“The whip doesn’t care about an individual constituency, they care about how that vote is going to go, how that’s going to play out in the media.

“Whereas I don’t have to worry about that, I can do, from start to finish, what is important to my constituents.

“And be visible to show people that I’m the one that cares about them enough to put my head above the parapet and do the job that needs to be done.”

Mid Bedfordshire had been Conservative from 1931 until last year’s by-election when Alistair Strathern was voted in as the constituency’s first Labour MP.

“They’ve had a succession of ineffective Conservatives, and one in particular who they were very glad to see the back of,” Mackey said.

“And they’ve had a good Labour MP, but that Labour MP has moved to another seat.

“They now have the opportunity to follow up [voting Labour] with equally something that they never have done before, and that is to elect the first Independent MP for Mid Bedfordshire.

“I believe that I am ideally placed with my level of experience, which is much better than any of my opponents, to serve the people of Mid Bedfordshire.

“They deserve someone who unequivocally lives in the heart of Mid Bedfordshire, who isn’t going to move and is dedicated purely and simply to serve them.

“My level of dedication to the people has been evident over the last 13 years of my service.

“So if you want someone with a proven track record, who is credible and competent, and will work hard for you every single day, I would urge you to take that leap from the parties who have let you down.

“And vote Independent on 4 of July,” he said.

The other candidates standing in Mid Bedfordshire are: Richard Brunning – SDP, Dave Holland – Reform UK, Maahwish Mirza – Labour, Stuart Roberts – Lib Dem, Cade Sibley – Green and Blake Stephenson – Conservative.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter