Campaign begins for Lib Dem parliamentary candidate
Meet Ashley Cartmen – the parliamentary candidate selected by the Liberal Democrats to contest for the North Somerset seat in the next general election.
The Long Ashton resident and parish councillor was elected by his party on November 1 to challenge current Conservative MP, Dr Liam Fox.
Dr Fox, who is also the Secretary of State for International Trade, has held the seat since 1992.
Mr Cartman, who has been a North Somerset resident for 10 years and lives with his wife and four children, said that he was “really pleased”, but also “stunned”, to have been selected as the party’s parliamentary candidate.
With there being no time like the present, Mr Cartman has already started campaigning in the local area and recognises that Portishead railway and improving the town’s infrastructure are key priorities for residents.
Rebuilding people’s trust and the image of the Lib Dems are also highly important for Mr Cartman. He said: “The Lib Dems had a very good reputation before the coalition government, so I think it’s very important to rebuild this trust again with local people.”
Mr Cartman - an accountant by day, specialising in supporting scaleup companies - joined the party in 2010, but it wasn’t until the 2016 European Union referendum that Mr Cartman became fully active in the party, campaigning against Brexit.
He says that he had a growing sense of things “getting worse” and wanted to campaign for a future that was fair for his children and the next generation.
“My parents were baby boomers – they lived in a time where they were able to afford houses, receive good pensions, have job security and live comfortable lifestyles.
“I realise that it’s very different for my kids’ generation and it’s just not fair.”
Speaking about how he ended up standing for the parliamentary candidate for North Somerset, Mr Cartman said: “I was spending a lot of time shouting at the TV, so when this opportunity came up, I thought, why not? It’s time to get off the side lines and onto the pitch.”
He says that he wants to make the Lib Dems a strong opposition party in North Somerset.
He added: “I’m a local man – I’m not hard left or hard right. All I want to do is represent local people.
“I believe that we deserve better than our current MP, so my campaign starts now to give the people of North Somerset a real choice at the next election.”
The next election is scheduled for May 2022, but Mr Cartman says that he is on standby should an election be called before then.