Wednesday, June 19, 2024

General Election 24: Independent candidate launches crowdfunding campaign

A THURROCK councillor is hoping to take the Independents’ success at the local elections to the national stage by standing as a prospective parliamentary candidate.

Neil Speight, Independent councillor for Stanford-le-Hope West has launched a crowd funding campaign to finance his bid for the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat.

The seat is currently held by Stephen Metcalfe who won the 2019 general election with 29,973 votes – 66.2 per cent of the vote – while Independent Kerry Smith gained just over 3,000 votes.

But Mr Speight is not deterred and believes he can mimic the success of the Independent group at the recent local elections.

He said: “Realistically, it’s a very long shot to think an independent might win in this seat, just look at recent results and consider the numbers but stranger things have happened in elections.

“In the local elections in this constituency in May, more than 7,000 people voted for independent candidates – and ten were elected! Two others missed out by fractions. So there’s potential for an upset.”

Mr Speight, the editor of Thurrock Nub news, added: “The key is to give people a valid and authentic choice. Myself and local independent councillors are not the Monster Raving Looney Party!

“We are ordinary people, fed up with our stagnant and often repugnant political hierarchy. We just want to make a difference.”

Mr Speight, who has lived in Stanford-le-Hope for more than twenty years, said while the July 4 election had In some ways this election has come “a little soon as the groundswell for independent thought grows in south Essex” Independents must seize this opportunity.

He added: “Winning this bellwether constituency seat would be amazing but a longer term aim is to increase the independent presence on local councils, where we can effect direct influence and propagate change.

“It is important to smother the toxicity in local politics that led, as the most dramatic example, to the catastrophic financial collapse of Thurrock Council.”

Mr Speight’s Crowdfunder has currently raised £550 of a £3,000 target.

He has pledged to take no personal expenses from any money raised and he will fund his own deposit.

Any money that is not spent will be distributed to local community good causes.

Other candidates confirmed to be battling out the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat include the current MP, Conservative Stephen Metcalfe. Elizabeth Grant standing for the Green Party and Dave Thomas standing for the Liberal Democrats.

To donate to Mr Speight’s campaign visit: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/election-campaign-fund-4?tk=MTcxNjc0NTc0MDk5ODI2MTkyNmRkYjQwYThhNjkyMDRlMjBjMzc2MzU0OWIzN2I3ODQ%3D

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