As the 12 December General Election fast approaches we're taking the opportunity to speak to the candidates for the much talked about Buckingham constituency.
The seat has not been properly contested since 2005 due to the tradition of the main parties not putting up candidates against the Speaker of the House, which of course had been Buckingham's own John Bercow since 2009.
Last week, Mr Bercow confirmed he would not be standing again in the upcoming election.
Today, this paper spoke to The Brexit Party candidate for Buckingham, Andrew Bell.
Though he was raised in South Buckinghamshire, where his father was an MP, Mr Bell, 64, is now based in London. He is a former investment banker who currently works in the resources sector and is married with three children.
Beginning the interview, we were surprised to learn that we were speaking to the candidate while he was in Africa – perhaps a first for this paper! When asked where he's based, Mr Bell told us:
"I fly overseas quite a bit. Today I'm in Kenya, a couple of weeks ago I was in Congo, so being not too far from Heathrow has an advantage."
We asked The Brexit Party nominee why he chose to run in the Buckingham constituency. He responded:
“I love the countryside, I come from Buckinghamshire, and also I originally wanted to stand there because I had the idea that John Bercow was standing again and if the major parties weren't going to challenge him then I thought someone should and I was quite happy for that person to be me.”
On HS2, Mr Bell was clear and unequivocal that the project must be stopped. He said:
“For a large part of its route, such as through Buckinghamshire, it's duplicating existing lines, it's not giving anything extra to the people living in that area. It is cutting a little bit off the timing for people getting into London from much further north but timing is not the critical factor for most of them. What is core if you're in say Manchester or Birmingham or York isn't communications with London, it's going east-west across the country.”
“I totally, completely and absolutely oppose this stunning waste of money which could be spent on many more worthy causes.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly however, the businessman reserved most of his passion for the subject of Brexit.
"We have a verdict, we voted to leave and we must carry out that verdict, and anything else would be extraordinarily divisive and extraordinarily damaging to democracy.”
Regarding how he thought we should proceed, Mr Bell said he was in favour of 'No Deal' clean break with the EU. He said:
“The transition period is in fact the most important thing to avoid. What we should do is leave and then have a negotiation where we are on equal terms.”
We asked Mr Bell what other issues he thought were important, but he insisted the focus must first be on leaving the EU. He said:
“The Brexit Party wants to focus on the issue of Brexit. It's such an important position. It's so important to do this having had the vote. The decision about whether we are going to have self-rule and be self-governing or whether we are gradually going to give control of our affairs to a federal structure that is aiming for one government based in Brussels, my view is that we must get off this train because we don't want to go to the final destination.”
Finally, we wanted to know how the candidate spends his free time. He told us:
“I quite like seeing the world and travelling but also of course, as you get older, family is a more important interest and spending time with them.”