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First Q&A session for prospective Tory candidate

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: July 29, 2013

meeting the public: Alex Chalk, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Cheltenham

Comments (8)

CONSERVATIVES have started their attempts to win Cheltenham in the next general election.

About 40 people gathered at Warden Hill URC on Saturday evening to hear from Alex Chalk, the Tory prospective parliamentary candidate.

It was Mr Chalk's first Ask Alex event and he was grilled on a wide array of topics as party members and voters looked to find out more about the barrister.

Cheltenham specific concerns dominated the hour long question and answer session.

Mr Chalk was asked about his links to the town, which have already been questioned by Lib Dems.

"Cheltenham is very much my home town and it formed a very big part of my upbringing," he said. "I did work experience at the Playhouse as a kid and was taken to A&E when I fell off my bike."

Speaking about the decision to downgrade services overnight at Cheltenham General Hospital's A&E department, Mr Chalk said the shift had to be temporary.

"We should have heard the warning bells about this a long time before it happened," he said. Mr Chalk described the majority held by current Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood – which was just under 5,000 votes – as "very swingable".

And he added students in the town felt "very let down by the Liberal Democrats".

However, the currently sitting Hammersmith and Fulham councillor said he will not be fighting a personal campaign against Mr Horwood in the run up to the general election in 2015.

"I made a solemn pledge that I am not going to personalise this campaign. But if I get elected, when Cheltenham speaks it will be listened to," he said.

Mr Chalk also compared Cheltenham to Gloucester, stating the city seemed to be "on the march" thanks to "very energetic leadership".

Cheltenham was punching below its weight, even though it is an "infinitely superior" place to live, he said.

The thorny issue of development was raised by a number of people and Mr Chalk accused the borough council of being "asleep at the wheel" in trying to come up with its housing plan.

He was also asked about the plans to pedestrianise Boots' corner and tear up parts of the town's one-way system.

He said he felt as if the one way had been "specifically calculated to put people off from coming in to spend money", describing it as "unnavigable".

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  • honslknjklyt  |  July 29 2013, 6:25PM

    Tories always parachute people in to try and win and then they ship straight back out (thanking everyone for their support but time to move on etc..) when they lose. The ONLY good think this coalition has done is brought in the charge that employees have to pay to bring a tribunal. About time too.

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  July 29 2013, 4:05PM

    He isn't here to represent students as they're not eligable to vote here (unless it happens to be their home town)!

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  • Scorpio2010  |  July 29 2013, 2:42PM

    "And he added students in the town felt "very let down by the Liberal Democrats". Yup, they most certainly do - for supporting Tory policy on fees!

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  • thomas1996  |  July 29 2013, 1:45PM

    Alex Chalk........is he related to Charlie?

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  July 29 2013, 1:16PM

    He doesn't hail form the town Matt - he comes from Foxcote, several miles away in a different constituency!

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  • Matt1006  |  July 29 2013, 10:00AM

    So do we now face regular "news" articles on this latest Tory wannabe, for the next (nearly) 2 years through to the next General Election? Will he be jumping on every bandwagon going, just to get his name & face in the local rag? Just like his predecessor did. And I see he's currently a Councillor in London, so appears he's being parachuted in from halfway across the country by Tory HQ. Couldn't find anybody nearer to Cheltenham willing to have a crack at it, then...? At least he does appear to originally hail from the town, but how long since he last lived here? And if the result of the next election is the same, will we ever then hear from the latest failed Tory wannabe ever again?

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  • TimMessanger  |  July 29 2013, 9:04AM

    Because they don't take their heads out of their backsides long enough to see the real world!

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  • TIMONLINE2010  |  July 29 2013, 8:42AM

    Why are Cheltenham conservatives so bad at choosing candidates?!

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