RICHMONDSHIRE COUNCIL leader John Blackie will attempt to succeed William Hague as MP for Richmond in May.
Coun Blackie is standing as an independent candidate in what is one of the safest Conservative-held seats in the country.
Mr Hague, the Leader of the Commons who has been Richmond’s MP since 1989 and has a majority of more than 23,000, is standing down at the General Election and the Conservatives have selected Rishi Sunak as their candidate.
Coun Blackie, who also sits on North Yorkshire County Council, said: “When so much of what we have enjoyed here in the constituency is under threat from the ravages of austerity, I feel it is the right time for our interests to be represented in Parliament by an MP who will focus primarily on local issues, using his long experience of living, working and bringing up a family in our area, somebody who instinctively understands what is needed by local communities to have a viable, vibrant future, and has a proven track record of standing up to be counted by doing his very best to deliver it.”
A vocal campaigner on issues affecting rural communities, Coun Blackie lives in Hawes and has served as a parish and district councillor for 20 years and as a county councillor for 18.
He also runs several businesses in the area employing 14 full and part-time staff.
Coun Blackie said: “My experience of dealing with the Civil Service and politicians in London is they very often lack any comprehension of the issues of a rural area like our constituency.
“No wonder then so many of our essential services are under threat, they simply do not understand their huge importance to all of us here.”
He added: “An MP who has demonstrated a passion for delivering for local communities and can tell it like it is from local knowledge and experience can make a huge difference, that is when he is working with you, for you.”