Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Veteran Thurrock journalist and councillor set to stand for MP in South Basildon and East Thurrock seat

A VETERAN THURROCK journalist and councillor is set to stand for MP pledging to take the fight “to the elites”.

Neil Speight, who is an Independent councillor for Stanford West has issued a passionate battlecry.

Mr Speight said: “”We are going to take the fight to the doorsteps of the elite, the suits in the high castle, we are going to Parliament”

“I take great pleasure in trying to overcome what people say we cannot do.

Interviewed in his local pub, Neil Speight he takes a quick sip of his pint before slamming it back down on the table, eager to make the starting lineup for his next sentence.

“I have a firm belief that when something is broken it should be fixed or replaced. I have great faith that it is important to make something right when it is wrong.”

Neil is thorough when explaining his thoughts, but I hurried him to get to his point.

“All the things I said a little over a year ago when I was elected to Thurrock Council, well they are all still true and I still believe them. But the problem is much bigger, and the only way I am going to continue putting my foot through the doors that have been shut in our face is to take this higher up the tree.”

I press him further but this time he comes back quicker and with that inflection he has when you know he is serious. “I am going to run for election again, but this time for Parliament – and now is not just the best opportunity, it’s the perfect one.”

Neil was recently elected councillor for Stanford West on Thurrock Borough Council, using all of his 40-plus years in local journalism to take the fight to an embattled but ruling Conservative group on the council.

He delivered a speedy knock-out blow to the local Tory who had managed the finance portfolio while Thurrock burned through more than a billion pounds in flakily investments.

Football-loving Neil lives barely a scuffed goal-kick from the railway station in Stanford-le-Hope, a town he has called his home for more than 20 years,

An award-winning journalist, father and grandfather to five children and three youngsters he still finds time to be a considerable supporter to local charities and borough communities.

On the 4th of July, following the dissolution of Parliament, Neil will place his name on the ballot to be elected Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock.

“A little over 15 months ago I challenged myself to take on a Conservative councillor and supporters that showed a complete lack of contrition and who covered their ears and eyes as debt engulfed the Borough – as if it was the last days of Rome,” he reminisced as if it was yesterday. “All they wanted to was blame everybody else.”

“It was quite a moment to savour to be the ward winner as the former Cabinet Member for Finance was carried out on his shield.”

“The people made the difference then, and we need all of them again, plus their family, the bowls club and the rest of the yoga group.

“We need everyone else in this pub and in the Chinese next door,” for a now amateur politician, just like Wat Tyler during the peasant’s revolt that started half a mile away, he still finds himself to be just the angriest of a much larger crowd of angry, marginalised people.

He continued his convincing tirade: “Last year was the tip of the iceberg, getting someone to be accountable for the terrible deeds that were done with taxpayers’ money in Thurrock. Now it is about others accountable for continuing to lend support to what has been an appalling government,  literally and almost wilfully ruining people’s lives”.

Neil resents political alignment and the pitfalls of party politics and dogma.

“It’s ok to want the NHS to be better funded at the same time as wanting people to pay less tax. It is a tale as old as time people waiting for new light to shine through the old Conservative and Labour windows and I hope to help switch on that bulb.”

“Write this down”, he said, before taking another rushed sip of his IPA.

“My name is going on the ballot paper, that’s for sure – but I need everyone in South Basildon and East Thurrock who feels the same as me to come on this journey with me.

“I want to help everyone that is not avoiding paying tax by having a bank account in the Caribbean.”

His appeal tugged on the heartstrings for a moment before the comedy in his final sentence caught up with me. “Seriously, votes, leaflets delivered, funds in the pot, door-knockers, posters in the window, help comes in all ways and I am grateful for any that comes my way”.

You can find out Neil’s opinion on many topics simply by googling him, but for many other things critical to the lives of you, your friends and family can soon be found at www.Neil4MP.com, with regular updates coming in the days and weeks to come.

It certainly promises to be an interesting campaign.

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