A local press release brings the news:
John Milne will contest the Horsham constituency seat for the Liberal Democrats at the next general election.
John was adopted as the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) following a selection process which concluded in a local hustings and vote last Friday, 3 February 2023.
John is currently both a West Sussex County (WSCC) and Horsham District (HDC) Councillor, representing Horsham Riverside for WSCC and Roffey North for HDC. He hopes to use this local knowledge as his main weapon in the next general election.
The message is simple. In Horsham, the only way to stop the Conservatives winning again is to vote Lib Dem.
John’s first objective is to show the difference the Lib Dems can make in power, by winning control of Horsham District Council in the May elections.
As for the next General Election, John believes it will be fought mainly on the economy and the intense pressure on basic livelihoods. The lingering impact of the Brexit vote, in which Horsham voted Remain, will also likely continue to form part of the debate. John said,
It’s certainly true that many voters are suffering from severe buyer’s remorse over Brexit. But wishing you voted another way back in 2016 doesn’t necessarily amount to enthusiasm for a repeat referendum battle…I’m a supporter of Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey’s gradualist approach, which would bring us closer to our nearest and largest trading partner, the EU.
John believed that the killer advantage for the Lib Dems isn’t any specific individual policy area, but our excellence in understanding and acting on local priorities. He said,
Other parties start from Westminster and work backwards. We start local and work forwards, on behalf of our local residents.
In Horsham, that means addressing the strong local feelings on development which eats up our green spaces. John said,
Every day, Tory housing policy in Horsham looks more like a giant protection racket. Their line is now, only the Tories can stop those nasty top-down Tory targets! Vote for this week’s Tory so we can save you from last week’s!
John argues we must move the argument away from an obsessive focus on sites, and start talking about benefits. He said,
As Lib Dems, our priority must be to deliver affordable homes for all budgets, or else what’s the point? So long as no one believes the promised homes will do anything to help locals, they’ll never support development.
And as for how to go about building the right affordable homes, John believes councils must get back in to the business of housebuilding. John said,
Councils must build partnerships with developers and perhaps take a direct financial stake in projects. This gives us more control over site choice, guaranteed infrastructure delivery, and genuinely affordable housing. We can then use our control over planning permission to pay for the essential services, the eco building, and the affordable housing tenures.
Horsham Lib Dems have put their faith in John Milne to take them into the next general election. John concluded,
I believe in local, and I intend to stand on my track record as a local councillor. Our current MP Jeremy Quin is here for his career. I’m here for Horsham.
John Milne grew up in Epsom. After winning a scholarship to Oxford University, his career as a copywriter for an international advertising agency took him from London to Dublin. Eventually he returned with his family to Pulborough to help care for his parents. He got to know our constituency well, driving his son from one muddy football match to another across Horsham District.
After another move to Horsham town, he joined Forest Neighbourhood Council and was later approached to run as a Liberal Democrat candidate for HDC in 2019. He won his seat from the Conservatives and two years later was also elected as a WSCC councillor, representing Horsham, Riverside Division.
John now serves as the Deputy Group Leader of the HDC Lib Dems. He serves on the Local Party executive and has worked tirelessly to elect more and more Lib Dems across the region.
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