SINCE becoming a Parliamentary Candidate for North Cornwall, I have been keen to get out across North Cornwall to meet as many local people as possible from all backgrounds of life. We live in such a beautiful part of the country, so it has been a joy to get out on the road across North Cornwall.

It is a large constituency from Bude and Launceston in the east to Bodmin and St Columb Major in the west with around 70,000 population. I could have focussed my general election campaigning on the five main towns, where there is a high density of voters in a small area. However, with approximately half of the constituency living in rural North Cornwall, I was keen that no area should be left neglected nor forgotten. With this in mind, I’ve embarked on a tour of villages and met really interesting people who share with me the added concerns they have from living or working in  more remote areas.

Whether it’s farmers telling me about the changing farm subsidies or wetter winters and drier summers due to climate change or young people sharing how they rely on an infrequent and sometimes unreliable bus service to get them to college or work – these accounts help me to understand what people need from an MP. Whilst I hit the towns of Bude, Launceston, Camelford, Wadebridge and Bodmin every week, I’ve held some extra events in Week St Mary and Kilkhampton.

Often accompanied by other Lib Dem councillors, we use community venues to offer refreshments and a chat where I can listen and speak with villagers about what I stand for and how voting for the Liberal Democrats could make a difference to their lives. I also try to attend as many local community events as possible, and by doing this I have met some fantastic volunteers who give up their time to organise these much-needed opportunities for people to come together. 

Over the next few months, I have ‘Meet the Candidate’ events organised for Withiel (June 1), Marhamchurch (June 8), Altarnun (July 13) and Stoke Climsland, so do come along if you live nearby. I also plan to be at summer shows, festivals and fetes across the Constituency, including Big Lunches in Bude and Bodmin (June 1 and 2), the Royal Cornwall Show (June 6, 7, 8), Launceston Show (July 25), and Pride in Bodmin (June 15) and Bude (July 27). Time permitting, I also hope to pop along to coffee mornings, garden shows, craft fayres, markets, carnivals and community shops, pubs or hubs. 

Remember, though – you don’t have to wait until I am in a town, village, or hamlet near you – you can always make direct contact.

Ben Maguire, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for North Cornwall