Local Liberal Democrats have voted overwhelmingly to select community-minded Councillor Mike Beckett to contest the Parliamentary seat of Harwich and North Essex at the next general election. Mike sits on Brightlingsea Town Council and leads Colchester Foodbank with Brightlingsea, Wivenhoe, Greenstead and North Hill Foodbanks and Langham Warehouse. He engages actively in issues affecting our local coastal and rural communities and lives in the coastal town of Brightlingsea with his wife Caroline, vicar of Brightlingsea, and their 2 Harwich-born children.
"I believe in the people of this region", says Mike.
"We as a family are part of the community. It's our home. My charity and community work has taken me all across the area from Langham to Wivenhoe to Harwich, working with several hundred local organisations. I have friends and family throughout the constituency. Everywhere I go here, I meet extraordinary people doing great things for others. We all deserve an MP who lives in the constituency and will put local concerns first."
Used to a hard day's (or night's) work, Mike is a committed and relentlessly effective public servant. His CV includes Citizens Advice Bureau Manager, nursing assistant, NHS governor, a Mind CEO, school Governor and worker on a community eco gardening project, to name just a few roles. Now the same drive for fairness and care for people that powers him in the charity sector is leading him into politics where his skills and experience can make a difference.
"I have seen the impact of political decisions on all levels of society and it's time others like me stopped leaving things to career politicians and chose to stand up and create the change we want to see. We have to abandon party-first politics that threatens jobs, education, welfare, social cohesion and our economy and begin to build co-operation and a people-first politics to get a better deal for local people and families."
Mike wants to bring more power back to Harwich and North Essex from Westminster, saying, "I believe that no one should miss out on education, employment and access to healthcare. We need to build a better, fairer, greener future." He is also confident. "Following the amazing results in recent elections for the Liberal Democrats, we are now the best challenger to beat the hold that chaotic Conservatives have had over our region.
In the local elections last May, the Liberal Democrats overtook Labour by over a thousand votes coming second only to the Conservatives. Most recently in the European Elections, where we live more than twice as many people voted for the Liberal Democrats than Conservatives, and Momentum's Labour did so badly they lost all their seats. So we have proof Mike Beckett can win here in the Harwich and North Essex constituency. This election is a huge opportunity for voters in Harwich and North Essex to express their opinion and at last gain a local MP who represents everyone.
"The Conservatives' current chaos has shown they are not now fit to govern. Most voters oppose the currently proposed extreme form of extra red-tape Brexit costing companies time and money they cannot afford. While my ideal is to remain in the EU, I am also a pragmatist, wanting to get the best deal for local people. My focus is on making things work so if Brexit happens then we need well thought through, sensible plans to safeguard the jobs and welfare of the people of Harwich and North Essex and bring our divided communities back together to work for our future.
"For all those who want to protect local jobs, medication supplies, port income, imports and exports, businesses and services and prevent food shortages by staying in the Single Market and ensure the people have the final say over what comes next, this is your chance. The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government in Harwich and North Essex as Mr Corbyn's Labour Party simply can't win here."
Whether in a suit representing people at the highest level, or lugging crates of donated food, litter picking or listening to the community, one thing is clear: Mike Beckett means business.
Mike is likeable on Facebook: facebook.com/MikeBeckettEsq
Mike is followable on Twitter: twitter.com/mike_beckett