“Prospective Parliamentary Candidate” in old language, but it’s a mouthful to say, and the acronym PPC isn’t widely-known outside the bubble of politics followers. Remember that only around 2% of people are members of a political party.
The announcement was made by the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and the former Energy & Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey MP.
“Pippa Heylings, a district councillor and activist, will be the party’s candidate for South Cambridgeshire, a seat that has been Tory since the 1990s but which now has a majority of just under 3,000 votes.“Huffington Post 12 Nov 2021.
Cllr Heylings takes over from the previous Liberal Democrat candidate and fellow councillor Dr Ian Sollom who, as Cllr Heylings quotes above, came very close to winning in South Cambridgeshire in 2019. With Cllr Heylings confirmed as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate, and Labour’s Dan Greef having stood down from front line politics, both parties will have new candidates to stand against the incumbent pro-Johnson Conservative MP, who was announced following the former Conservative MP Heidi Allen (who later joined the Liberal Democrats) leaving the party over Brexit and other issues, and eventually being bullied and hounded out of politics due to criminally violent threats to her life. (Which was why she did not stand again).
A different sort of campaign to 2019 is inevitable – both Conservatives and Liberal Democrat candidates have records to defend.
When you don’t have a record to defend, you generally get an easier ride because people don’t necessarily associate you with what happened before. This time around, the Liberal Democrats have their record on South Cambridgeshire District Council to defend in both the all-out elections coming up in May 2022, and also the record of the Joint Administration of the County Council. But that’s nothing in terms of the challenge her Conservative opponent will have in defending Johnson’s record on corruption, sleaze, hugely wasteful spending, cash-for-cronies, the poor civil contingencies preparation for Covid that the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 required him and his ministers to have sound preparations for, the under-funding of state schools (and the record of twice-sacked Gavin Williamson), the woeful record on planning and housing from the former Housing Secretary who demonstrated he was prepared to put the interests of party donors ahead of one of the poorest London boroughs, and the failure to deliver a long-awaited social care plan. And that’s before we’ve even looked at Brexit.
So there are *lots* of political targets for anyone wanting to contest the constituency, whether from a progressive or even a populist “cut-spending-cut-taxes platform.”
The only other thing to note for now is which South Cambridgeshire we’ll get. The current one or the one above. Population growth has meant the county is due another constituency at the expense of somewhere else. If it goes through before the next general election, South Cambs becomes the southern half of the existing constituency, and the southern half of the current South East Cambs. A new St Neots constituency emerges from the northern part of existing South Cambs, and part of Huntingdon.
Having spent the past week or so at the Glasgow Climate Conference for the Local Government Association, it will be interesting to see what the Green Party choose to do in this election. Will they stand aside like last time or contest like in 2017?
If you are interested in the longer term future of Cambridge, and on what happens at the local democracy meetings where decisions are made, feel free to: