Early Friday morning, as others made their way to Liverpool for Conference, I set off to Hereford, following in the footsteps of a large number of my colleagues in the Lords. Our local candidate Lucy Hurds has been hugely successful in getting our Peers out of the House of Lords and onto the streets of Hereford including John Shipley, Jenny Randerson, Nigel Jones, Sally Hamwee, Shirley Williams and Chris Fox. She’s clearly been effective in getting others out too and it was great to see a good number of Lucy’s campaign team out with us and working hard to reclaim the seat for the Lib Dems.
Dick Newby, our Chief Whip, called for 1,000 visits to be made before the election. After many months of hard campaigning this was our 1,000th.
On my visit we got a chance to discuss what can be done to help local dairy farmers, supporting renewable energy & rural services and, as the party’s spokesperson on DEFRA matters in the Lords, I got a chance to highlight all the things the Liberal Democrats have been doing over the last 5 years.
The visit gave me an opportunity to talk to local Councillors Anna Toon and Polly Andrews who were keen to hear how local retailers can support local environmental charities and groups as a result of the 5p levy on plastic bags, due to come in this Autumn, which Liberal Democrats have championed in Government.
It was great too to meet newly selected PPC Jeanie Falconer, from the adjacent constituency of North Herefordshire and talk about our evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB and the pilot badger culls.
I also got a chance to visit the local RSPCA branch with Lucy, after Duncan Starling, the local RSPCA chairman and LD campaigner had invited me, as a Vice-President of the organisation. It was fantastic to talk to the local volunteers who are rescuing and rehoming local animals and raising funds through their shop for the vital ‘4th emergency service’ that the RSPCA is. Having had the Control of Horses Bill safely complete its passage through the House of Lords the day before it was good to talk about how Parliament and local action together can help voiceless animals.
Later on in the evening I joined Lucy, Jeanie and the Herefordshire team at spring conference in Liverpool at a reception they’d organised to campaign for fairer funding for rural areas. With some of the best refreshment the county offers (Jeanie runs a vineyard) it was a happy ending to a day spent with some of our indefatigable campaigners!
But there is no rest for the wicked and Dick has now called for a new target, 50,000 doors knocked by election days. Something that our team of 100+ Lords should be able to achieve (with a few cups of tea and some elbow grease). If you want to get a Peer to help out in your campaign, then contact our visit organiser Louise Furness (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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