1c Weston Park Close
Surrey KT7 0HJ
3rd August 2009
Deputy Director – Campaigning; Head of Candidates
Conservative Campaign Headquarters
London SW1P 4DP
Dear Gareth Fox
“If you are interested in becoming a Conservative candidate and believe you would make a good Member of Parliament, please write to Gareth Fox at Conservative Campaign Headquarters .. setting out why you would like to be a candidate, and enclose a copy of your CV. Please set out any work you have done in your local community and achievements in your work or your personal life which you think would make you an effective MP.”
- David Cameron 24/5/09 on the Blue Blog
“I'm going to reopen the candidates list and invite new people to come forward. They don't necessarily need to have been involved in the Conservative Party in the past – more important than that is a belief in public service, and a desire to clean up our political system. Of course, I want them to be conservatives too. The values we share – a belief in the family, thrift, enterprise and a strong society – are needed now more than ever.”
- David Cameron 25/5/09 in The Daily Telegraph
Why would I want to be an MP?
My CV demonstrates that I fully meet the above criteria.
Following a very full working life in industry, I had not seriously considered this possibility until two combined events: DC’s invitation and the announcement of the intended retirement from Parliament of my MP - Ian Taylor.
As part of his announcement Ian wrote: “I still feel youngish and active but perhaps need another challenge in the next phase of my life”.
I feel the same.
My ambition is to be a “good constituency MP” and bring my experience to bear in parliamentary committees. I have no ministerial aspirations. I would not anticipate standing for more than two parliamentary sessions. During this time I would work actively with my constituency party to refine the process of selecting my successor.
(This application is written primarily, although not exclusively, in the context of the Esher & Walton constituency.)
What I offer
Experience of over 40 years working in the real world of industry with its clearly defined needs for rational decision making, adding value, making profits and meeting deadlines.
During this time I have developed a wide range of contacts in science, technology, public sector, industry. I can therefore act as an “aggregator” drawing on the wisdom of this wide and diverse range of these people as and when required.
We currently face tremendous challenges in areas such as: Climate Change; Energy; Transport – with Education as a fundamental enabler. It is therefore essential that we, as a nation, make prompt, rational decisions.
I can therefore, to some considerable degree, assume Ian Taylor’s mantle on Science & Technology issues - and trust, as I have said elsewhere, that his expertise would still be available to the incoming Conservative government.
Phil Willis, chairman of the House of Commons Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee quotes Sir Nicholas Stern, the former Head of the Government Economic Service and Adviser to the Government as follows:-
“Most of the high profile policy issues that face our nation and the world are critically dependent on the input of scientists.
• Securing economic prosperity through the knowledge economy;
• Protecting the population of the country against an .. influenza pandemic;
• Mitigating and adapting to climate change;
• Safeguarding the UK's energy supply;
• Detecting and averting potential terrorist threats”
It is therefore salutary and depressing to read the overall conclusion of the report “Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy” which was published only last week by this committee that “the Government has reduced science to a political bargaining chip and must raise its game to produce an ambitious science and engineering strategy for the future”.
By bringing a wealth of practical experience to the party I would endeavour to change this appalling situation.
Leadership by example.
Recent revelations have brought the many aspects of parliamentary processes into disrepute and reinforced the impression of a distinct “political class” decoupled from the realities of life faced by their constituents.
In all other employments it is legally required to have a “contract of employment” *; I would expect to define my relationship with my constituents and the Party similarly. This would include a process for handling expenses identical to that required of employees in the Civil Service. Were I to represent a constituency remote from London, I would stay in a reasonably priced hotel on the nights when it was necessary for me to stay near Westminster.
I would not join the MPs’ defined benefits pension scheme: I believe this should be abolished as exampled leadership in a total overhaul of the current highly unaffordable system of public sector pensions.
The Seven Principles of Public Life enunciated in Nolan Committee's First Report on Standards in Public Life dating from October 1996 should be emphasised again.
* (A significant contrast is Patricia Hewitt’s “earnings” as non-executive director of BT: £75,000 for attending 15 meetings, versus her MP’s salary of £64,766.)
Adherence to the “Party Line” etc
Many senior MPs have announced their retirement. An influx of youthful enthusiasm will require balance. I well remember the 1989 Conference when the ill-fated “community charge” was enthusiastically welcomed by an overwhelming majority.
To quote again from Ian Taylor's standing down letter:- “the influence of MPs in general has declined and this needs to be addressed. This is strikingly evident in the loss of real impact of backbenchers. In the Chamber, speeches have become best-kept secrets. The Executive have control - I do not see this as changing under a Conservative Government despite recent talk of encouraging 'independent-minded' MPs. As someone who has shown an independent streak, I know it is not career enhancing!”
“I can already see the whips licking their lips at the enhanced power of patronage at their disposal over MPs who either do not have the qualifications for outside interests or increasingly are denied the opportunities by new rules.”
“I fear that the rise of the professional MP will further undermine the quality of parliamentary debate and certainly be counterproductive if we are looking for more free-thinking candidates.”
This is highly reminiscent of the words of W S Gilbert in Iolanthe:-
“When in that House M.P.’s divide, If they’ve a brain and cerebellum, too,
They’ve got to leave that brain outside, And vote just as their leaders tell ’em to.”
Is there any evidence that the Party is “looking for more free-thinking candidates”?
Following the “triumph” in Norwich North there is already considerable press speculation over the composition of a new Conservative government; will “Bliar's (sic) Babes” be replaced with a coterie of “Dave's Debutantes”?
However to quote David Cameron:-
“There are far too many laws being pushed through, with far too little genuine scrutiny from MPs. And excessive "whipping" of MPs by party hierarchies further limits genuine scrutiny. This too has to change.
“We need standing committees that genuinely examine bills as they go through Parliament. And we need select committees – the committees that look at each of the government departments – that are more independent.”
Lack of diversity
As a mature, male, white, heterosexual, un-handicapped, Anglican etc. I can contribute nothing to any “politically correct” diversity agenda.
Clearly my immediate focus is on Esher & Walton; should the party require that I offer myself elsewhere, I would still aspire to reflect strongly the characteristics of my prospective constituents.
If nothing else, I hope that this application provides some stimulus to consideration of the qualities the Party and constituency should require of their candidates.
I look forward to progressing matters in due course.
cc Esher & Walton Conservative Association, Ian Taylor MP
Summary Curriculum Vitae: RICHARD TEBBOTH
1c Weston Park Close, Thames Ditton, Surrey, KT7 0HJ
020 8398 3951 07816 853259 firstname.lastname@example.org
Since graduating from Imperial College (Physics), I have spent over 40 years working in the IT industry dealing predominantly with technical and scientific applications across major industrial companies (e.g. Ford, BAe, Rover Group [deceased]) and the science research community. I have retained many contacts in these areas and continue to develop new ones via such institutions as Imperial College, IET and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
My immediate top interests/concerns are the inter-related issues of energy security, climate change and nuclear proliferation.
Former ward chairman, Kingston on Thames – Norman Lamont
Contributor to speeches in House of Lords on industrial policy
– the late Earl of Kimberley
Past member of Bow Group, CTU.
Spoke on industrial policy at CTU conference 1981.
Active in Esher & Walton constituency party – Ian Taylor,
Conservative Policy Forum, Conservative Technology Forum
Contributor to the “Blue Blog”
and other on-line postings: see http://richard-tebboth.blogspot.com/
Graduate of Imperial College: Physics
Over 40 years with IT industry including:-
ICL: Manager Competitive Marketing for Group
Vice President Marketing – Canada
Thinking Machines Corporation (US) – Sales & General Manager - UK & N Europe
Sales/Marketing roles with IBM, Computervision, Intergraph.
Consultancy, regular voluntary work at Brooklands Museum, Science Museum.
Domestic Context: Married, 3 children, 5.3 grandchildren
Periods of residence: Johannesburg, South Africa (1969/76);
Toronto, Canada (1981/82); Boston, Mass. (1990/91)
Family: Australia, Morocco (son & family working in rural development),
Uganda (daughter & family working in health & education), USA.
Friends & acquaintance: above plus Canada, Iran, Israel, Jordan, S Africa, Europe.
Recent travel: Morocco, Jordan, West Indies, Australia, South Africa, East Africa,