General election 2024: North Cotswolds constituency candidates vie for votes

Voters head to the polls next month to elect their MP in the North Cotswolds constituency. This newly created constituency includes the Cotswold towns of Chipping Campden, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water and Minchinhampton.

It also includes communities between Cheltenham and Gloucester, including Badgeworth, Brockworth, Churchdown and Shurdington, transferred from Tewkesbury. And the northernmost parts of the Stroud constituency, including Bisley, Hardwicke and Painswick.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown who was MP for the now defunct Cotswolds constituency is standing for election alongside Independent Jean Blackbeard, Liberal Democrat Paul Hodgkinson, Labour’s Anna Mainwaring, Reform UK’s Jason Preece and Green Party candidate Chloe Turner.

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Below the candidates has set out the reasons why they are standing and what they hope to achieve if elected.

Jean Annlyne Blackbeard - Independent

I moved to Moreton-in-Marsh in 2018 and have been actively involved in serving my community through my business. As a result, I was invited to stand for the local elections and was elected as a member of Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council in May 2021 and 2023.

I love parenthood, people, learning, being of service to others, pursuing peace and expeditions. I'm a confident dyslexic who also loves words.

My interests are heritage history, Christian theology, problem-solving, engineering, nutritional and environmental health, and social sciences. I thoroughly enjoy rambling, quiet contemplation, studying, puzzles, music, and sports in my spare time.

I instinctively apply my analytical, methodical and perceptive abilities and hard work ethic to all the areas I serve. Since 2020, landlords have been attempting to evict me from their commercial property to fulfil their ambition in the rental sector.

However, with the support of my community, my Christian faith, my natural gift for analysing complex mysteries and situations and no legal representation, the court ruled in favour of my request for a lease renewal and I refuse to vacate on unfair terms. I use my gift to assist people both personally and professionally.

I am not one to shy away from debate or advocating for the under-recognised. I will challenge the status quo when necessary for the betterment of others because it is my pleasure and honour to serve.

I've walked an arduous path in life, which has enabled me to develop empathy, gain insight into embedded social and systematic injustices that befall so many, develop resilience, appreciate the simple things in life and have an appetite for change. Change can happen!

In an era where old-fashioned chivalry, fairness, and honesty are fast-waning in all tiers of government and society, I remain committed to making independent decisions that are life-changing and law-making based on thorough research, logical reasoning, and public sentiment. I adhere to foundational values and principles without the peer pressure and temptations of party politics, which is corroding our democratic government machine.

Cotswold North! Vote on Merit. Vote Blackbeard. Vote Independent.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown - Conservative and Unionist Party

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Conservative candidate for North Cotswolds
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Conservative candidate for North Cotswolds -Credit:PA

I was educated at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS) and first elected as an MP for Cirencester and Tewkesbury in 1992. Due to the boundary changes, I find myself “coming home” to areas of Tewkesbury I represented previously.

I have served in various ministerial and senior committee roles, including as deputy chair of the powerful public accounts committee, ensuring transparency and accountability in government spending.

Some of my notable campaigns include securing the £500 million A417 'missing link' scheme and the rollout of fast broadband to 96% of the Cotswolds, transforming connectivity and accessibility in our region.

As a farmer, I am deeply passionate about protecting our countryside and environment. I hold biannual public meetings with key stakeholders to tackle major flooding and river pollution problems, achieving real results including pressuring Thames Water to pledge multi-million-pound upgrades for Moreton, Bourton, and Ampney St Peter sewage treatment works which will help clean up our rivers.

I have lobbied for a record £5 million in extra funding for our local schools, resulting in improved standards in Maths and English. Over the past year alone, I have supported 12,876 constituents on various local and national issues, demonstrating my commitment to addressing your concerns.

I pledge to work closely with local communities to deliver the necessary infrastructure, such as doctor's surgeries, schools, and well-maintained roads, in areas where new housing is proposed. Health remains a top priority, and I commit to working with the NHS to reduce waiting lists, improve neonatal performance, and enhance social care services.

I pledge to continue campaigning to improve education standards, support funding for special education needs, and promote on-the-job training through Apprenticeships and T-levels.

I will press for reductions in taxes, interest rates, and energy costs, while advocating for increased production of home-grown food.

Lastly, I pledge to harness advanced technology to boost renewable energy production, improve sewage treatment and river quality, and reduce flooding.

I have the experience and knowledge to get things done! It would be an incredible honour to represent our new constituency and I would really appreciate your vote on July 4.

Paul Hodgkinson - Liberal Democrats

Paul Hodgkinson, Liberal Democrat candidate for North Cotswolds
Paul Hodgkinson, Liberal Democrat candidate for North Cotswolds -Credit:Paul Hodgkinson

Paul Hodgkinson has lived in the North Cotswolds and Stroud for 35 years and says he is totally committed to the area. "I aim to stand up for those who feel disconnected from the decisions, appalling behaviour and chaos seen in Westminster.

"I want to give the area I live in a real voice, getting things done and giving hope for the change which a lot of people crave after a decade of broken services. My record of public service is that I’ve been elected to Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire

"County Council seven times - winning the rock solid Conservative seat of Bourton and Northleach after previously representing Bisley in the 1990s. I’ve also been Leader of the Opposition on both councils and am currently the CDC Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Parking. Alongside that I’ve run my business successfully in leadership coaching.

"People know me for my campaigns for local people, including better ambulance response times, safer roads and for being the first councillor in Gloucestershire to expose the sewage dumping scandal in our rivers. In addition I’ve lobbied hard for fast broadband, supported local schools and have been accessible always to residents.

"My priorities are: to fix the pressures in the NHS and ensure people do not have to wait so long in A&E, for ambulances, for GP appointments and can find an NHS dentist to help with the cost of living crisis by cutting energy bills and bringing my business experience to focus on a stable and thriving economy protecting the environment by ending the sewage scandal and conserving the beauty of Gloucestershire bringing my record of integrity and hard work to the role of MP.

"In this new constituency it’s neck and neck in terms of the number of councillors at county and district level between my party and the Conservatives and we have historically been the main challenger. It’s time for a change of MP."

Anna Mainwaring - Labour Party

Anna Mainwaring, Labour Party candidate for North Cotswolds
Anna Mainwaring, Labour Party candidate for North Cotswolds -Credit:Anna Mainwaring

Anna Mainwaring moved to the Cotswolds in 2016 and was a school governor at her son’s local primary school. She is a journalist and TV producer. “I’ve worked for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. I worked for BBC News as a producer on the national bulletins, the News Channel and BBC World for about 12 years.

“I’ve represented workers as a union leader for the National Union of Journalists and was Mother of the Chapel at BBC TV News. It’s an honour to be standing to be the MP for my home constituency. I love living here and never take for granted how beautiful it is.

“If elected as the MP for North Cotswolds my top priority will be to protect our natural environment here. From day one I will fight in Parliament to tackle the climate emergency and put our countryside first.

"If the will is there from all politicians, I believe we can take back control of our future and stop the clock ticking towards a potential global environmental catastrophe. There really is no time to waste.

“You could choose to re-elect, for another five years, a Conservative MP who has one of the worst track records of voting on environmental issues. Or there is the choice to vote for me as a member of a potential Labour government that intends to put the environment at the top of its agenda.

“We will invest in solar, wind, nuclear power and new technologies to stop the dependence on fossil fuels that are destroying our planet. We will set up a publicly-owned green energy company funded by a proper windfall tax on the big oil and gas companies. I am also determined to stop the water companies polluting our rivers.

“Labour will protect the NHS and ensure it stays a publicly funded service that is free at the point of need. We will bring down the waiting lists that have grown consistently since the Conservatives were elected to government. I want to ensure that residents in rural areas across North Cotswolds have adequate healthcare services on their doorsteps with fast access to NHS GP and dental appointments.”

Jason Preece - Reform UK

Jason Preece is standing for Reform UK in North Cotswolds constituency
Jason Preece is standing for Reform UK in North Cotswolds constituency -Credit:Reform UK

The Reform candidate has been approached for comment but has not yet replied.

Chloe Turner - Green Party

Chloe Turner is the Green Party candidate for North Cotswolds
Chloe Turner is the Green Party candidate for North Cotswolds -Credit:Chloe Turner

Chloe lives in the new North Cotswolds constituency and represents her home town of Minchinhampton as a county and district councillor. She has chaired the environment committee at Stroud District Council since 2021, chairs the environment scrutiny committee at Gloucestershire County Council, and sits on many other committees including the County Council’s Audit and Pension Committees. She is well known locally for her involvement in many community projects.

A Cambridge graduate and a chartered accountant, as well as a published author, Chloe has skills and experience that will allow her to represent North Cotswolds effectively at Westminster. If elected, Chloe will be an independent, principled MP, able to hold the next government to account.

Chloe says: “Over the past months, I’ve loved exploring the new constituency, especially meeting lots of new people. And it’s been really interesting that - although it is huge and diverse - the vital issues people have raised with me have been broadly the same wherever I've been.

"People are calling for real hope and real change. They want a properly funded NHS, and an end to creeping privatisation. They are calling for safe, warm homes, for their family and everyone else. They want immediate action on the cost of living.

"People are calling for robust action on climate and protection for our natural environment, especially our waterways. They’re demanding the restoration of rural public services, which have been allowed to decline over decades, including youth provision and public transport. And finally, I’ve met far too many people who have had enough of grubby, self-serving politics, and want to see some integrity put back in the Commons.

"The Green Party has credible, practical solutions to these real issues facing people every day. A Green vote is not a wasted vote here in the North Cotswolds; it's a totally new constituency with all to play for. So these are my priorities in this campaign, and the priorities I will take forward at Westminster if elected as the Green MP for North Cotswolds.”