As the 12 December General Election fast approaches, we're taking the opportunity to speak to the candidates for the Aylesbury constituency.
The seat has been held by Sir David Lidington of the Conservative party since April 1992. Mr Lidington recently announced that he would not be standing again.
Today, this paper spoke to the Conservative candidate for Aylesbury, Rob Butler.
Mr Butler is 52 years old and was born in Aylesbury before being raised in Oxfordshire. He studied French and Economics at the University of Sheffield.
His first job was broadcast journalism where he presented programmes for the BBC and Channel 5. He left journalism in 2004 and became a communications adviser as well as moving into public service as a school governor and serving as a magistrate. Prior to his selection as the Conservative party candidate he was also a non-executive director for Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).
We asked Mr Butler why he decided to run for MP in Aylesbury. He explained:
“I was born here, I started my life here, I still have family and business connections here and I’ve remained connected with Buckinghamshire throughout my life. I think it’s a crucial time in politics for everybody and where I think I can play my part is in an area where I have connections and where I think I understand the challenges that people face.”
“The buck stops with politicians and I felt it was absolutely right to step up and take a degree of responsibility having had a huge range of experiences over my career to see whether I could turn those to benefit for people of all backgrounds and all incomes across the Aylesbury constituency.”
Regarding HS2, which directly affects many people in the Aylesbury constituency, the Conservative candidate said:
“I oppose HS2. I have listened very carefully and read very widely about HS2 over the years and I genuinely do not see either an economic or an environmental case for it. I do think that it would cause profound damage to our countryside and to our wildlife and I’m very clear that I will commit to taking that case first and foremost to the Secretary of State for Transport if I’m elected.”
Brexit has changed the way that many people plan to vote in the upcoming election, with party loyalties being upended and the issue of EU membership instead taking priority. Mr Butler said of the issue:
“I make no apologies for it. I voted to leave the European Union. I believe quite fundamentally that Britain has a much better future where we have complete control of our laws, our trade, our borders and our money. I believe that the deal that Boris Johnson negotiated that everyone said was impossible but he was able to come back with in less than three months provides us with the basis for a new relationship.”
We asked Mr Butler what else he sees as priorities in Aylesbury. He told us that he thinks there’s an opportunity to “unleash Aylesbury’s potential.” Expanding on this, he said:
“I think one of the really important opportunities that there is in Aylesbury is to create a town that is safe and sustainable. I honestly believe that Aylesbury is a great town. I know some people are legitimately concerned about anti-social behaviour and I think that’s an important issue to look at but I think even more important is making sure we can make Aylesbury into the sort of town that attracts people to want to come here to work, to live and to visit.”
Finally, we asked Mr Butler what he likes to do away from politics. He said:
“I like being out in the British countryside which is why it does matter to me. I like to walk, I like to go cycling if I get the time and also I love trying different cuisines. Whenever I travel I always want to make sure that I get the opportunity to experience what is local.”