Ben Chapelard to be Liberal Democrat candidate for 2022 General Election
The Liberal Democrat candidate for the next General Election will be Cllr Ben Chapelard, the Opposition Leader of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
The St James’ ward representative is the first to announce a challenge to incumbent Conservative MP Greg Clark for the constituency in the 2022 vote.
Cllr Chapelard said he would campaign on Tunbridge Wells issues, such as empty shops, potholes and flooding, as well as backing a referendum on a final Brexit deal.
The married father-of-two, who is a French and Spanish teacher at Gravesend Grammar School, was announced as the candidate at a function on Monday [July 23].
“I am excited to be standing because I believe I can get things done as an MP,” he told the Times. “I am not a career politician and I am only interested in serving Tunbridge Wells.
“As a town we voted Remain but we have an MP who has voted to take us out of the single market. I will campaign for a people’s vote on a final Brexit deal.”
Tunbridge Wells has been a Conservative safe seat since the constituency was established in 1974.
In the 2015 and 2017 elections Labour finished behind the Tories in the constituency, with the Lib Dems picking up around 8.4 per cent and 9.9 per cent in both votes respectively.
But despite latest polls suggesting the party would only win 10 per cent of the national vote, Cllr Chapelard insists ‘the Liberal Democrats can win in Tunbridge Wells’.
The councillor, who has served St James’ since being elected in 2010, added: “The people of Tunbridge Wells deserve better and it will be a privilege to put forward a positive agenda for our community.”