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Jeremy Quin


Do you know the Horsham area at all?

My wife Joanna's parents used to live in Monks Gate, so we do have a familiarity with the area. But there is so much for me to learn and my task over the next few weeks is to get out and see as many people, schools and businesses, to make certain that I'm on top of the issues before polling day.

Have you been parachuted in?

Far from it. There is a familiarity with Horsham. Joanna and I love this place and we are looking to rent a house and move here on a permanent basis. Because of that past connection it already feels like home. There was huge warmth in the selection meeting and my job is to ensure that I'm on top of every issue.

Where do you currently live?

I live in Buckinghamshire at the moment. I was born in Aylesbury and that has been my neck of the woods, but I'm looking forward to being based here.

An opportunity hasn't arisen nearer home?

I consider myself to be incredibly lucky as it is great to have a seat coming up for retirement when you do have a connection; it feels right. I have lived in Aylesbury, which is an hour and 10 minutes from London and Horsham is a similar distance from London by train. Similar concerns arise and people worry about the same kind of issues. So for a whole raft of reasons this is a very natural fit and I'm delighted to have been selected.

Have you spoken to Francis Maude about the constituency?

Francis has been incredibly helpful. We had a very thorough meeting and I'm sure there will be many others. I'm totally focused on what I want to do, which is to get really stuck in and become part of this community. I have been involved in a lot of community activities back in Buckinghamshire, where I volunteered in a homeless hostel for a number of years; I'm on the board of a local credit union and am governor of a local school. Now I'm looking to get stuck in here.

Tell us a bit more about the homeless hostel work...

It was at a shelter in Aylesbury. I was just a straightforward volunteer but I got a lot out of it. It was set up in winter 2010 and is now in its fifth year. Aylesbury looks like an affluent area but beneath the surface we have social deprivation and this hostel helps people get off the streets and have warm food.

What line of work did you go into after University?

I left Oxford and worked for NatWest Securities, advising companies right through until I worked for The Treasury, helping them during the financial crisis for a couple of years. I am 45 now, and I think it's a really good age to do public service. My father worked as an agricultural merchant until he was ordained at a similar age. Now I'd like to devote the rest of my career and my life to public service and to do that here in Horsham would be fantastic.

Will you be electioneering, as is tradition?

It is more than a tradition - it is incredibly important that people who are seeking to get public office are seen in the streets talking to people and listening closely to what they say. That's not just at election times but throughout the period. If I'm lucky enough to succeed and I'm elected, I will be out seeing people in Horsham and in the villages and making certain that I'm available, approachable and able to assist.

What are your thoughts on a second runway at Gatwick?

Gatwick as it stands brings benefits to the area, but I'm totally opposed to the second runway at Gatwick. There is already huge pressure on infrastructure on this part of the country, and a second runway would be inappropriate. I would fight it tooth and nail.

Have you had a look at the plans for housing developments in the District?

Everybody is aware that we need to have houses to live in and people want to be able to see their children and their grandchildren growing up near them in this part of the world. There are constraints in terms of housing availability and affordable housing and it is a difficult task for councils to work out where housing should best be allocated. I understand the themes that are underlying the local plan but I'm not going to get into the details of it. It is a district council issue.

So is it the case that when it comes to these big local issues, the local MP actually has very little influence?

You have a wonderful ability as a Member of Parliament to make a direct benefit to a constituent's life. Every MP, of whatever party, says that some of the most satisfying parts of their job is when someone comes to them with a problem which has been impossible for anyone else to solve, and a letter or telephone call to the right person from an MP has resolved the issue. That is what an MP can do.

Do you sense people would like to see a change in the political structure?

I think people are getting more demanding about what they want from politics and from politicians. That is healthy. It is a good thing that people are switched on and that they are being empowered by social media, by Twitter, starting campaigns and that they are able to have a direct impact on politics. It is much easier than it has ever been for people to get a point of view across and that has to be a good thing. It is up to people like me who are involved in politics to ensure we are responsive to new, powerful and incredibly useful ways of doing politics in the future.

So do you embrace social media?

If I'm elected I will be on Twitter. But what I'm very clear on is that the limited number of characters you can use on Twitter does not make it an alternative to being on the streets, meeting people and hearing face-to-face about their concerns.

I know that you went to Oxford, but do you not sense that people want a parliament that better represents the nation?

I think what people want is to be well represented and they want people who will go out of their way to help them, be available and approachable to their constituency and to do their utmost to work on their behalf in Westminster. I don't think that people have preconceived ideas as to what an MP should look like. I think they just want to have the best man or woman for that job.


Darrin Green


Do you live locally?

I was brought up in Roffey and went to Forest School. I am a social worker by profession, but not currently as I took a degree in Politics and International Studies before returning to Horsham in 2013.

How long have you been with the Greens?

I've been a member since 2004. I've always been interested in the environment, so that probably triggered my desire to join the party. Gradually there was a realisation that they are a people party and not just an environmental party. They look at the environment, wildlife, people, and services. It's about caring and having a desire for something better which I think draws people to The Greens.

Do people perceive you as a one policy party?

We do get that a lot. If you go back five years, I think most people probably wouldn't have heard of us and wouldn't have considered us a serious political party. But when Caroline Lucas was elected at Brighton Pavilion, the profile of the party was raised and we are now taken more seriously. I think we still have some way to go, but certainly there is less of that 'one issue party' perception that we suffered from.

What issues are local people raising with you?

It is the 'people' issues, such as housing, employment, health and how local government is run. We are not just talking about the environment.

In the Horsham District, building on green field land is a contentious issue. So why don't more of us vote Green?

I think that's because Horsham is traditionally a Conservative stronghold, but I believe that we are taking votes from some of those parties that are descending, and we are gathering support. As a party, we favour brownfield sites and creating developments which reflect local needs and architecture and are sympathetic to the area. These developments need to include infrastructure that supports them in terms of road systems, public transport and in the broader perspective schools and hospitals, so the community can mesh together as one. Currently, we have ad hoc developments and they are plonking houses down anywhere that a developer sees that a profit can be made.

Would you change the way that local government is run then?

The Green Party is in favour of localism, so changing the way councils are run and how they relate to and work for local residents. There is much to be done in terms of improving local democracy and engaging people in the process.

Do we not have that with local consultations already run by councils?

There are consultations that are held so it looks like you are consulting people, and then there are consultations where you are genuinely engaging people. Often consultations are party political - particularly when they're run by the Conservatives - and tend to tick a box without really engaging people. Take the development to the north of Horsham being proposed. That is a development that is highly contentious with two campaigns running against it. Yet there appears to be scant acknowledgement of concerns raised and scant engagement of the local residents in terms of giving them some idea of what it will look like and gauging their views. (The council's efforts) have been tokenistic.

It can be difficult to engage people though, can't it?

I appreciate that. Many people don't want to know as people take the view that the council will do what they like anyway. But you have to put effort into it. If you're not engaging people in one way, then try something different. That is not being done. There is a lot of opposition out there but it will go ahead anyway because it's what the council wants and they are in favour of big private American corporations planting big developments in our countryside, with the Conservative -led council being paid a lot of money for the land.

Would you support a second runway at Gatwick?

We believe that there are more environmentally-friendly methods of transport. We have free market policies pervasive throughout society and it should be left for people to make up their own mind, but because of the damage that is being done through CO2 emissions, resulting in climate change, one could argue that there needs to be a more pro-active approach taken to promote alternatives to flying.

Is there a tendency for people to think that they are wasting their vote by voting Green?

There is that perception. Some might vote for another party that they felt had more chance of beating the Conservatives. But the Greens are starting to be taken seriously. We have to take a long-term view and want to grow the party's popularity as it increases our reach. I would like to double the vote for the Green party in Horsham.


Jim Duggan


How many times have you stood for election?

Now, that's a question! I think this is my fifth general election, as well as a bunch of local and European elections.

How old are you now, Jim?

There's another question! I'm 74 and I've been in Horsham for over 30 years now, so it's been a big part of my life. I've taken exception to a lot of things along the way, but I like this town and I feel comfortable here.

Do you still have the same passion?

Yes I do, but I am running out of energy! But these are my beliefs and I won't let go of it. I'm prepared to go on and on if I'm not boring people and keep trying to engage people. I think you're either part of the problem or part of the solution, and I believe we are part of the solution, so we'll keep spreading the message.

Has your message changed over the years?

The message has changed, but it is still really about peace, respect, tolerance and love. Ours is not a message of politics but about peace, rock 'n' roll if you like. Get out there, for yourself, for everybody, for the next generation.

Peace and love isn't really a manifesto though, is it?

No, but you don't get peace and love without principles in your life. We have a mini manifesto. We want to keep healthcare as a fully-funded public service, create a housing programme that ensures everybody has a home to rent or buy, ensure that education is free at every stage, create full employment and ensure everyone has a basic living income, and provide free public transport for all so we can reduce emissions and help prevent global warming and climate change. We would like to see social and economic justice as outlined in the universal declaration of human rights. We want to return power to the people themselves.

So you think the current political system should change?

Everybody has to be involved in the process, and we need to move away from this centralisation of power. People aren't stupid. People can organise their communities, so we need to put more faith in people as a whole - empower them! The world is changing, with the internet and social media channels. It's a whole new ball game, and I love it!

Has the town changed much in your time here?

We are lucky in this town. This is an affluent area with a capital A and yet there are three or four food banks in Horsham, which I find hard to swallow. There are people who haven't got enough money to put food on the table, and I find that astonishing for such a town. I'm really on the side of these people. There is a lot of money around here for that to happen.

Are these people disillusioned with politics?

I think a lot of people struggle to connect with modern politics, yes. They've been put off by the shenanigans, the corruption and scandal. It would be great to get young people more politicised, or perhaps that's the wrong word, but raise their awareness of what happens locally and how they can have an input. I think younger people in particular are quite political but there is nothing there for them. Politics is sort of boring for them and is way down their list of priorities.

Yet you would like to lower the voting age?

Horsham is a nice a place but there is a buzz missing, because there's nothing for the youth. We need to get the young people involved in bringing youth clubs and facilities together, so empower them, and give them a sense of ownership. When people come out of school aged 16, they should have the option to vote. They are generally very switched on, so why shouldn't they have a say? Also, if they don't like any of the options, they should have an option to vote for 'none of the above.' That is a proper protest.

Does it encourage you to see other parties with a similar message?

Yes it is nice to see people pushing for similar change. Really, there are good people in every party – okay, except one maybe – who are trying to do the right thing, and people who support them doing the right thing. I don't want to necessarily change their mind, but I do want them to face the reality of what they're actually voting for. Look at the manifesto of these parties and ensure what they say is delivered.

What do you hope to achieve this election?

I would hope to get a few more votes, but it's not so much the volume of votes, so much as raising awareness about the Peace Party and our message. We're not going to win anything in the next few years, but if we can get a foothold and a voice for what we believe in, in terms of our values, then I'm happy to keep supporting the party and keep promoting our message. If I was to ever be elected, well it's not rocket science! You just ask the right questions and don't pander to the ridiculous idea of a party whip. If you're an MP, you work for the people who gave you their mandate. I'm capable of doing that, for a few more years at least. Not that I'm going to get into Westminster. Hold on, that's a negative comment isn't it? I expect to make it folks!


Jim Rae


What triggered your decision to stand as an Independent candidate?

The one thing I've always been is straightforward and honest. I have integrity coming out of just about every pore. My style is not the slickest but you get what is written on the tin with me.

You were not selected by the Conservatives as a candidate in the local elections recently. Are you standing out of anger?

No. At the end of the day I have served as a district councillor and a county councillor. I'm well respected at both levels for my abilities, knowledge and my skills. I am an accountant by profession and have worked in the high echelons of a little company called ExxonMobil so I know public and private sector finances inside and out. I've lived in the Horsham District for 23 years, so I know the local issues and problems.

You've been criticised for supporting the Liberty development in north Horsham, where you are a local member?

The Horsham Conservative Association, the party, and I would say a measure of the general public, don't like hearing the truth. People have been pretending that north Horsham can be wished away and spirited elsewhere. The damage was done long before even the last election when people like (Horsham MP) Francis Maude, (Crawley MP) Henry Smith and (then leader of Horsham District Council) Liz Kitchen gambled on a new hospital for Horsham and Crawley. The site was going to be at Pease Pottage, then north Horsham. In 2009, a consultation was held on the local development framework. There was just 36 letters of objection received by Horsham District Council to the idea of a development on north Horsham. I can only surmise from that muted reaction that people thought that amount of housing was an acceptable price to pay. That gamble failed, and we didn't get the hospital. But north Horsham was never closed as a possibility for development. We should have put the bars and bolts up in 2009 when we had the chance. But it was not me - I wasn't elected.

Has it hurt you, what has happened?

I would be lying if I said it didn't hurt. What really pains me is that there are constituents who I fought alongside on local campaigns, who once thought I could walk on water, who now openly despise me. They are angry that north Horsham is happening. I'm angry that north Horsham is happening, but I cannot stop it.

But as the local member, people looked to you to try...

We have an eminent planning QC telling us the stark ruthless truth, that if we do not toe the line as the planning inspectorate is demanding of us, we will not have 2,500 homes in north Horsham, we will have far more. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) gives Liberty every planning power on the planet. All I have tried to do is tell people the truth, and limit the damage that had already been done. Some people have not liked that.

Do you feel you've been made a scapegoat?

I have been made a scapegoat. People in the Conservative Association don't like to hear the truth. I was prepared to back the strategy for north Horsham last April, and I've been proved right and they've been proved wrong.

This is all party politics isn't it?

This is not party politics at all - this is personal.

Do you really think people in general even know about, let alone care about, their local councillors though?

Please remember, I've been fighting for local people for a long time. I was a leading member of the anti-incineration group at Warnham, and I led the campaign to stop the football club from building at the Holbrook Club because it was the wrong site. People know that I fight for them. I am regularly contacted by people to help them with issues because they know I will research problems and find a solution. We need an MP that is prepared to lock horns and fight for the people of Horsham.

What is on your manifesto?

I will be putting around 50,000 copies of my manifesto in the next few weeks. The simple fact is that the NPPF is an evil piece of legislation as it robs the duly elected local planning authority member of any real choice. On a national level, the government is about to waste £20billion renewing Trident. That to me is a massive error. People are concerned about the size of their pensions and I believe we should be redirecting money towards improving the lot of our senior citizens as they put in years of effort and their savings are not returning what they should be returning.

What issues are local people talking about?

Mainly it's the local plan and the need for a new hospital. When people need to go into hospital they need easy access. People say that East Surrey in Redhill is not that far, and it isn't as the crow flies. But at the wrong time of day ambulances take a very long time to get there. I was on the commissioning team for the new Crawley dialysis unit and I am well respected within NHS circles, primarily renal care.

Why should people vote for you now?

The Conservative candidate has been parachuted in from North Buckinghamshire and hasn't been in the parish for five minutes and the UKIP councillor doesn't even live in the Horsham constituency. I believe that if people want a candidate who is local and as honest as the day is long, who has travelled a non-political road and a political road, and covered the entire spectrum, then I can do well. If the town wants a good constituency MP who fights the way I fight, I think Horsham would do just as well in electing me as anybody else.


Martyn Davis


Are you from the Horsham district?

I lived in Brighton for five years a long time ago, but now I live in Portsmouth. I've worked in education for 35 years so I have an understanding of reality. I was in Further Education, holding senior posts, and now I run an educational consultancy. We do training in the UK and are also working to deliver teacher training and qualifications in places like Somalia, Pakistan and other developing nations.

Have you stood as an election candidate before?

Not as a general election candidate, only as a councillor, so this is a learning experience for me. Labour may be a hard sell here in Horsham, but I think it is poor when political parties don't put a good showing in a constituency, just because they haven't done well in the past. If we put ourselves across properly and honestly then people will hopefully listen to us.

So you are aware that Labour traditionally does poorly in Horsham elections?

Yes. Yet Labour has consistently enacted legislation that has protected the countryside, such as the Town and Country Act, the creation of National Parks and the protection of agricultural jobs. Yet we don't get the support from rural areas that we perhaps should. I felt that I could put some of those policies across in Horsham. If you're prepared to work and show people that their preconceptions are not right, and that Labour have good policies for rural communities, we will make progress.

Are you concerned that UKIP could take away more votes from Labour because of their stance on Europe and Immigration?

Immigration is more of an issue in areas where there isn't any. I think that's why UKIP have a base here. If you look at the cost of accommodation, the amount of affordable housing and the rental accommodation available, it is not great. The fear of immigration is stacked up by the media and people will be nervous about if they haven't experienced it. If you want to ensure that the local community and economy grows for local people, you need to put certain protections in place, so workers are protected against zero hour contracts and given a living wage.

What can you offer the voters in Horsham?

From our point of view, it is a better standard of living, because we would look at developing the rural and agricultural sector, protecting the wages of the lowest paid and improving working conditions. We are looking at giving the local community much more power in local government, improving infrastructure and developing educational opportunities.

From an economic perspective, do you think people are fearful of Labour?

Under the last Labour government, retired people were significantly better off than they have been under the current government. We are looking at ensuring pensions increase in advance of inflation, which at the moment it isn't. The NHS is safer with us too. When we were in power, in some cases people were waiting only two weeks before they saw a consultant, and now it is in excess of six months, whilst the closure of local hospitals into larger multi-site hospitals is causing huge concern amongst the elderly and infirm.

What local issues are causing concern?

There are issues related to how the elderly or people with mental health problems are cared for. Another main issue concerns the loss of a fire engine here and from Crawley at a time when we are increasing the population. I would fight very hard against this because it's crazy to increase your population by 5,000 and reduce emergency services.

You mentioned making changes to local government. What changes?

If you go back five years, local people had much more influence on objections to applications. Now you can extend your house by a significant amount without planning application which can cause huge problems for others. Planning has become a developer's tool rather than a council tool to protect the local economy and local infrastructure. We should enable people to have a say in what kind of community they want to live in. That is one of Labour's strong policies – a return to localism.

What are your thoughts on the development plans for Horsham?

What Labour would have said is that the Liberty development would include 40% affordable housing and not 10% so we would have protected the housing needs of the local community. That was our policy in government. The problem with the current process is that all of those houses will be out of the price range of a significant number of local people, so they will be pushed out of Horsham.

Would Labour bring back that 40% rate?

Yes, absolutely. Also, look at the football club development that was turned down. It was a very popular scheme with local people and planning officers didn't object. Yet the Conservative council turned it down. Why would you turn down something like that unless, in the longer term, you had a plan to put exclusive housing next to the golf club instead? Yet the public can't hold the council to account for that decision.

Where do you stand on Gatwick expansion?

This is going to sound like a political answer. Looking at both Heathrow and Gatwick, Gatwick would be the logical place, in that it would increase jobs and opportunities. But what about looking at other areas such as Stansted, Luton or Kent? We need to have looked and consulted more widely and show exactly what the economic results would be if they didn't build at Gatwick. One of my concerns would be that the economic consequences to the area, if they don't build at Gatwick, could in the long term be quite high.

Do you see changes in the way people perceive politicians and that it's time politicians were more honest?

Yes. It irritates me too sometimes. People should expect a politician to be honest about what they think, and whilst they might not agree with everything you say, people will listen to an honest and coherent answer.


Morwen Millson


Tell me about your role in the council?

I am a county councillor, representing the Horsham Riverside division. I've been a county councillor for 26 years now; I quietly enjoy fixing things for people. I've lived here since 1982 so I do know the area well.

You have stood as a parliamentary candidate before?

That's right. I stood in 1997. I suppose I was more ambitious back then. I guess that I thought that one day the Liberal Democrats could be elected in Horsham if we kept working at it. In 1997, I did think we had a reasonable chance. I increased the vote slightly but it didn't come to anything.

Are the Lib Dems a harder sell now?

At that time there was wider support for the Liberal Democrats, yes. We ran West Sussex County Council for a time, but it was largely because the Conservatives were extremely unpopular. We then did very well in the district elections, but it has not being quite so good since then.

Have the Liberal Democrats been badly affected by the coalition?

I think people who voted Liberal Democrat in the past, because we weren't the Conservatives, felt aggrieved. So yes, the party has suffered in some areas and I think that has made some Liberal Democrats afraid to put their head above the parapet and get out campaigning. Where we are campaigning hard, we are still doing well and are still able to win seats. But there are people who want to punish us for going into coalition, because they thought that we were as anti-Conservative as they were.

That's understandable isn't it?

I certainly don't want to vote Conservative and never have, and I don't want to prop up the Conservatives in power. But if we were going to go into coalition with anyone, it had to be Conservatives as it was the only way the numbers stacked up. I actually think we've done a huge amount in coalition and a lot of the things we believe in have been delivered. Unfortunately some of the things we don't believe in have also been delivered.

Why were you chosen as the candidate?

We advertised for a candidate outside of the constituency but it is not an attractive option for somebody trying to win a seat for the Liberal Democrats at the moment. Perhaps I'm being too honest here!

Do you feel it's a no-win situation then?

It's going to be very interesting as there are many candidates in the fray. It'll certainly be more interesting than it's been in the past. Horsham is a fairly affluent constituency but there are people that don't have homes, mainly younger generations, as we are not building enough houses that people can afford. The problem is that affordable housing is still not that affordable. I think the definition is that the price will be 80% of the market rate. Can you afford 80% of the market rate in Horsham? We need housing that is truly affordable that people on ordinary wages can afford.

So you would build more of these affordable houses?

We would be relatively happy with the 40% rate that Horsham was striving for if it was delivered. But it's not. They are caving in all over the place in terms of what they are letting developers get away with.

Are you targeting younger voters?

Younger people have social media channels and you have to tap into this. I'm on Facebook and Twitter but I don't think any young people are following me! It is actually quite difficult to engage young people in politics outside of the general elections, but we must do more for them. I'd like to see a sponsored scheme that gives young people half-price travel on buses, as well as old people. We have to get young people into the habit of using public transport.

Are young people still angry about your broken promises on tuition fees?

Yes. The media has been very unkind to us over the tuition fee matter and I think that, if we had more experience of being in government, we could have handled it better. We've actually done a lot for young people in coalition, such as creating two million extra apprenticeships. Also, the way people pay their tuition fees back now is much fairer.

Does it matter that you know Horsham well?

I think the people deserve an MP that knows the constituency. I know the area and the problems. I know that the Conservatives have really stitched us up on the hospital they promised would be in our area, and they have achieved absolutely nothing apart from building a massive carbuncle north of the A264 on the land that was going to host that hospital.

What other issues are affecting local people?

Transport comes up a lot. There has to be ways of increasing capacity so that people don't have to stand on the train every day. Something seriously needs to be done about that because there are a lot of people in our constituency who depend on the rail network. Bus transport to Crawley needs to improve as the A264 is full of people commuting alone by car, which is insane.

What is your view on Gatwick expansion?

I believe that if there is a new runway anywhere in the south east, it is going to be a problem for West Sussex employment if it is at Heathrow, because instead of seeing more high-quality employers coming here, we will see them leaving. I voted to support the second runway when the county council voted. Whatever happens, we need to press hard to get the right infrastructure in place and to make sure that the environmental problems are mitigated as much as possible. We also have to think carefully about flight paths because clearly the flight path trials that occurred last summer caused an awful lot of anxiety. Ideally, I'd like to see expansion of airports elsewhere in the country, but seemingly people won't fly to airports without 'London' in front of it.

As a county councillor, do you think a local MP still matters?

That's a really good question. I think an assiduous local MP who is not simply seeking a role in government can make a difference. I would be solely interested in serving Horsham. I would be gunning for Horsham and annoying people until I got something that would be helpful to us.


Roger Arthur


You currently serve as a Horsham District councillor?

I've been on the council since 2007. I was with the Conservatives and now I'm leader of the UKIP group, and represent UKIP on the council. Not only do I have the experience, but I've lived around this area since 1973. I live in the south of the district, just north of Storrington.

When did you switch party allegiance?

The transition came about two years ago when I became totally disillusioned with David Cameron as he is moved the party to the centre ground of politics, where there is hardly a cigarette paper between the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

Why did you choose UKIP?

We have to get our country back. It doesn't matter who you vote for out of the Tories, Lib Dems or Labour, because it's going to be run by Brussels. If we don't break the chains that bind us to Brussels then our foreign policy and our army will be run by Brussels, our currency will be replaced by the Euro, and we will have open borders whether we like it or not. Many of the problems that we have in this country, including tax avoidance of about £120 billion a year, are caused because we are locked into the EU.

Is that the main appeal of your party?

It's not so much what people like about UKIP; it's what they dislike about the main parties. We've had the MP expenses scandal and yet they've awarded themselves a pay rise whilst everyone else's salary in real terms has gone down. Then they say 'we're all in this together.' After the expenses scandal, they introduced Leveson to take control of the press, with the objective of making sure people who divulge information to the press are exposed. Then they say we have to have whistle blowers! They are treating us with contempt.

Is it the other parties being bad then, rather than UKIP being good?

There are a lot of common sense policies with UKIP, which is another reason why people like it, including me. People are voting for us because they don't trust the old political parties and they see that UKIP wants to get back control of our country and control immigration. Other parties think that they can keep slagging off UKIP but they are actually slagging off the voters and that is not clever. They don't realise the implications of what they're doing.

Do you think that UKIP has lost some of the momentum it unquestionably had?

No, I think there is an underlying increase (in our support). I think in the 2010 election we had 5% of the vote and the Conservatives had 50%. Then in the county council elections it was 40% to 30% in favour of the Tories and then in the European elections it was 35% to 33%. Obviously, there are going to be adjustments because people change tactics from one kind of election to another, but there is an underlying trend, a sea change, and I believe it's turning into a tsunami.

Are people concerned about immigration?

People don't like immigration; it is having an impact right across the country. Some areas have been protected so far, but the demand for housing in this district is driven by the amount of immigrants coming into the country. Money has been spent advertising in Eastern Europe for people to come to Britain, when we have youngsters who are on the dole. Why are we spending money to encourage people to come and take their jobs?

Do UKIP exaggerate the problem?

I think actually what UKIP does is say what people want to hear. It is not exaggerating the problem - it is confronting the issues.

What local issues are causing concern?

There is a meeting after we speak here about the Horsham District's planning framework. I have outlined a number of flaws in the plan and have been raising questions about the way housing projections have been made for some time. They are based on population projections and not the number of people that can actually afford houses! There should be a market adjustment. In the Horsham district, the average house price to salary ratio is 10 to 1, whereas the national average is nearer 4 to 1, so you don't have to be an economist to know that there shouldn't be that many houses. I voted against the framework plan, and raised the question about market adjustment but it's never been answered.

Would you protect green field sites?

This is not a local issue. It's actually being led by national planning policy which puts developers in the driving seat. This policy was driven by three developers working in consultation with the government! They wanted to build on green field sites because it's less expensive, as they don't have to clean them up, so we are seeing a doubling of building on green field land. UKIP would allow the local authorities to actually control where houses go. At the moment, neighbourhood plans just get overridden by the inspectorate. We have developments being imposed on local councils and communities that they do not want. The government will pay a price for that in the election.

What changes would you like to see in terms of health services?

We'd like to develop Horsham Hospital to ensure we get maximum bang for our buck, because accessibility is a problem. People have to go to East Surrey Hospital and that could take several different bus journeys for older people without cars and it's just unrealistic. Now we are talking about just one surgery in Broadbridge Heath. The impact of not having a hospital nearby means that people are going to die and are going to suffer because they can't get to a hospital in time.

Regardless of UKIP's result, do you think you've influenced change?

UKIP has influenced other parties, without a doubt. Cameron has made promises that he hasn't been able to keep, and has moved on certain issues because he is frightened of UKIP.

Realistically, can you win in Horsham?

Yes. We will get within 5,000 votes of the Conservatives. I have done a real job and I didn't just go to Eton. I was a chartered engineer, designing and commissioning power systems around the world and managing hundreds of people. I won't be doing what my party wants– I will do what the people need.


James Smith


What is Something New all about?

We are a new party, only officially registered a matter of weeks ago. We are trying to offer something different, something we think is lacking. I'm standing because nobody is speaking for the kind of things that I believe in. That frustration has led to me getting involved.

What kind of things do you believe in?

We are pushing for better democracy and to re-engage people in the way that we run our country. People are frustrated and tired of the bickering and the point-scoring of modern politics. We can do better than that.

Is it the policies or the personalities in politics that frustrate you?

It's both. I personally was frustrated that I was not seeing anyone that I felt represented me and that I could vote for. Rather than just complaining about it on Twitter, I came together with a few other people to put together some of our ideas and form a body of policies and ideas. It was a more positive step than just complaining! I felt we had a platform for a new approach and wanted to see what people thought of it so I've decided to stand.

What is this new approach to democracy?

We would like to move to a very open, collaborative way of democracy, like a Wikipedia approach to politics, in which anyone can make a suggestion. You can go to our website, and suggest a policy of your own. Our party members will look at the evidence behind it, debate it, and arrive at a consensus as to whether that is something we should add to the party's policies. This is all done in a transparent and open way, so you can see the discussions. Also, when someone contributes a new policy, they can become part of the group that decides on future Something New policies. So we all share power and responsibility. Currently, there is a separation in politics – it feels like them and us.

You're talking about people power?

I'm a regular guy, not a politician. I'm not looking to go to Westminster as a career. I'm just trying to show that politics is not the preserve of a special set of people. We can choose how we do this and we can do it more openly and collaboratively.

Would we be better off if parliament was filled with regular people, rather than career politicians?

Absolutely. Career politicians are in a bubble that gives them a different outlook. Many of them claim to be experts in various fields but they're not, they just have advisers. I would like to see a much more representative parliament. I don't think going to Oxford or Cambridge qualifies someone to be a politician or makes them any better at it. Our Chancellor took a degree in history and worked as a journalist before becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer. When was the last time the Education Secretary had an extensive educational background? We are not putting people into positions of power that are necessarily qualified, so there is a real lack of leadership because they can't speak with authority. That would come from the general population rather than this narrow pool of people with limited life experience. I'm an optimist; I believe in people and in human nature being generally good. People aren't stupid. Given the time and the information, people would make the right decision no matter what their background.

What kind of issues are you looking at?

We've looked to cover a whole range of things, from shutting down tax havens to protecting the NHS to reforming the democratic system. We've also looked at sustainability. From a local perspective, we have a government promoting fracking when it is a dead-end solution. Yet renewable energies which offer a much better long term solution, find it difficult to gain political support. We also have ideas about reforming the House of Lords with randomly selected people to provide a fair representation.

Are you finding support primarily from younger people?

I think using the term 'young' is wrong. I'm 38 so I can't get away with classing myself as young, yet like many people my age I feel disengaged from the current political system but not disengaged from politics. I feel everyone below the age of 40 has grown up in a completely different environment because of the internet. We are inclined to think that the old system is not part of the world we live in.

Has the internet made it easier to spread your party's message?

That's been one of the most difficult things! You go into it thinking 'I know the New World and about technology so I'll get my message out' but it's actually really hard. So we will be dropping leaflets!

What are you hoping to achieve in this election?

I'm realistic. I have lived in Horsham with my wife and children for four years now, working in the city as a software engineer, and I know that it's one of the safest seats for the Conservatives. But I don't think that means that we shouldn't be having a debate and making sure alternative voices are heard. Every little noise we make and every little thing that makes somebody think is a victory for me, as it all helps towards a more democratic process in the future.