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.
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.
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema, Leviathan, Jan 13
- Eagle Improv, Spread Eagle Theatre, Jan 14
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- David Lean Cinema, The 78 Project Movie, Jan 15
- Child Aid Lanka foreign aid debate, Thornton Heath, Jan 15
- Youth Games cricket team trials, Thornton Heath, Jan 16
- Storytime (for under-8s), Oval Tavern, Addiscombe, Jan 17
- David Lean Cinema, Hannah Arendt, Jan 20
- David Lean Cinema, The Imitation Game, Jan 22
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Storytime (for under-8s), Oval Tavern, Addiscombe, Jan 24
- David Lean Cinema, Night Will Fall, Jan 27 (Holocaust Memorial Day)
- David Lean Cinema, Kon-Tiki, Jan 29
- Storytime (for under-8s), Oval Tavern, Addiscombe, Jan 31
- Soul Symphony Community Choir taster session, Feb 3
- Eagle Improv, Spread Eagle Theatre, Feb 4
- Storytime (for under-8s), Oval Tavern, Addiscombe, Feb 7
- Tales of Love, Lost and Found, Spread Eagle Theatre, Feb 7
- Uninvited Guests, Spread Eagle Theatre, Feb 11-13
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Rosie Wilby, Spread Eagle Theatre, Feb 27
- Amy Wadge and Luke Jackson, Stanley Halls, Feb 28
- Holmes Alone, Spread Eagle Theatre, Mar 6
- Eagle Improv, Spread Eagle Theatre, Mar 11
- Iain Lee, Spread Eagle Theatre, Mar 14
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Eagle Improv, Spread Eagle Theatre, Apr 8
- Anatomy of the Piano, Spread Eagle Theatre, Apr 15
- Patrick Monahan, Spread Eagle Theatre, Apr 16-17
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
- South Norwood Community Festival, July 5
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