Olympic Effort Ahead of Election


The Paris Olympic Games are just weeks away. Before we can sit back and cheer the athletes on, South West Wiltshire has the important job of electing a Member of Parliament. For the first time in decades, the constituency is 'in play'. Polls suggest the Conservatives' hold is at risk. In this context, the hustings events taking place across Warminster, Westbury and Trowbridge are more important than ever.

If you haven't yet attended or heard a hustings, listen again to the wide-ranging debate we hosted at the Athenaeum Centre. Big local issues like river pollution, pharmacies, defence spending and anti-social behaviour feature heavily.

It certainly feels like the political parties are taking the South West Wiltshire election much more seriously this time around. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have selected from outside their usual pool of local councillors and members. Bret Palmer is a doctor at the RUH in Bath with a medical record that the Lib Dems will use to challenge Andrew Murrison and the Conservatives' record on health. Evelyn Akoto for Labour is the Cabinet Member for Public Health on Southwark Council, not a medical professional but able to go head-to-head with Dr Murrison on his specialist subject.

Andrew Murrison has held the seat for the Conservatives for more than 20 years. He must be hoping that experience and the incumbent advantage will stand him in good stead at the ballot box. As a Naval Reserve and Defence Minister, he is hoping to draw votes from the large military community in this constituency.

Also standing in South West Wiltshire are Tom Culshaw (Independent), Garry Irvin (Reform UK), James Ward (Independent) and Fay Whitfield (Green).

We shall know on 5th July whether the Olympic battle of the opposition parties has been successful or whether their efforts to win votes simply splits the anti-Tory vote.