Coulsdon resident Hickson selected as candidate by LibDems

Gill Hickson, the Coulsdon resident and community activist, has been selected as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate to stand in Croydon South at the General Election in May.

Gill Hickson: standing in Croydon South

Gill Hickson: standing in Croydon South

The selection was announced over the weekend – a few days too late for Hickson to take part in the debate between Conservative and Labour candidates that was staged in Old Coulsdon last Monday, organised by the Purley and Coulsdon Debating Society, whose committee includes… Gill Hickson.

The selection comes much later than the Tories (who chose Chris Philp in November 2013), Labour, Greens and UKIP: last week, it was reported that the LibDems had so far selected candidates in only 266 of the 631 seats up for grabs in Great Britain.

In 2010, Tricky Dicky Ottaway, the Conservative who has been the Croydon South’s constituency MP since 1992, was elected with a 16,000 vote margin – increasing his majority despite being among one of the worst examples exposed by the MPs’ expenses scandal. Simon Rix, the LibDem candidate on that occasion, finished second to Ottaway, polling 12,866, or 22 per cent of the vote.

Last May, Hickson stood for the LibDems in her home ward of Coulsdon East in the local council elections, but she finished a long way back in fifth place, behind the three elected Tory councillors and the UKIP candidate.

Hickson polled 696 votes, a significant reverse on her party’s previous polling: the leading LibDem in the same ward in the 2010 Town Hall elections had polled 2,164 votes, which would have been enough to be elected ahead of the third-best Coulsdon East Conservative in 2014.

Hickson appears undaunted about the possible backlash against the LibDems for supporting the Conservatives in the coalition government.

“It’s official. I am now the Lib Dem candiate for Croydon South at this May’s General Election,” Hickson announced via social media last night.

“I believe I’m the only candidate born and bred in Croydon. I am proud of a lot that’s been achieved in government, especially helping to stop us going bankrupt, which was a real possibility. I especially like the tax concessions for low paid, free child care and school meals, triple-lock pension and 2 million apprenticeships.

“Still lots more to do regarding schools, which we stopped the Tories running for profit, and the health service, which needs more funding but better running. So please don’t believe the politics of fear when you have the option of hope,” Hickson said.

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