Health charity manager is Tory choice for Wigan

A manager at an international healthcare charity is the Conservative choice to fight for Wigan’s House of Commons seat in the general election.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 1:39 pm
Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams will wear the blue rosette for the constituency where the incumbent MP is Labour’s Lisa Nandy.

Mr Williams is bidding to take a seat in the House of Commons following a decade in the charity and business sectors.

He currently works in a senior role on fund-raising and development for St Mark Universal Care, a UK-based charity providing healthcare to disadvantaged communities around the world and a community and youth centre in Greater Manchester.

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In words which echo the Conservative Party’s national campaigning motto Mr Williams said the most important issue was finding a way forward over Brexit.

Mr Williams, who lives in Salford, said the strength of support for Leave in Wigan was a major factor behind him choosing to stand in the constituency.

He said: “I am passionate about getting Brexit done so that our country can move forward and invest in our future, giving businesses the confidence to grow and getting more people into stable, well-paid employment.

“I wanted to stand somewhere that was needing a person to see Brexit through and where my views on that would be helpful and supportive.

“Wigan voted Leave and that hasn’t been truly reflected by the current MP.

“I feel I can do a really good job representing the town, putting a lot of effort in to getting Brexit done and then pushing for real development, in particular bringing more investment and decision-making up to the north of England so we have more of a say here on what is going on.

“I think having a Conservative member of parliament and a Conservative government would allow for a better voice for the residents of Wigan.

“I’m particuarly interested in the development of education because my mum was a head teacher, and the Conservative promise for all the new police officers meant a lot to me as my dad was a policeman.

“I’m not one of those privately-schooled people who people sometimes have a vision of for a Conservative. I’ve worked hard to get where I’ve got to and I want to help other people have the opportunity to do well.”

In the last decade Mr Williams has managed his own small business and worked with charities, particularly ones which provide services in healthcare and education both in the UK and overseas.

This is Mr Williams’ first attempt at landing a seat in the House of Commons but he has been elected to a town council in Lincolshire and also stood in county council elections.

That was where he also developed his support for Britain leaving the European Union as he chaired the local party of Sir Edward Leigh, one of the Tory party’s key Eurosceptic figures.

At the last general election in 2017 Alex Williams stood in Wigan for the Conservatives, coming second behind Ms Nandy with 13,548 votes.

That result, which saw Mr Williams secure 28.5 per cent of the vote, was an improvement of 7.8 per cent over the 20.7 per cent share which Caroline Kerswell achieved when she wore the blue rosette in the constituency in the 2015 vote for parliament.

The Conservative Party has completed its slate of candidates standing in the borough by revealing who will wear the blue rosette in Makerfield in the general election.

Nick King has been chosen to challenge incumbent Labour MP Yvonne Fovargue in the constituency when the country goes to the ballot box on December 12.

Mr King’s Twitter biography describes him as a former worker in the sport industry who then moved into politics, including spending some time working for Sajid Javid, who is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

In his opening pitch to Makerfield’s voters Mr King, like the other candidates who will be wearing blue in this election, prominently referred to the Conservative Party’s national slogan about securing Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU).

Mr King said: “It’s a huge privilege to be the Conservative candidate for Makerfield and to offer local residents a chance to vote for a candidate who wants to get Brexit done once and for all.

“We need to get Brexit done so we can start investing in things local people care about, like our NHS, the police, our schools and local transport.

“But for too long we’ve been stuck with a zombie Parliament which has refused to listen to the people. Brexit has created far too much uncertainty and gone on too long. A vote for Labour will just continue the dither and delay.

“We need a Conservative Government which will get Brexit done, invest in people’s priorities and unleash this country’s potential.”

At the last general election in 2017 the Conservatives, with Adam Carney as the candidate, came second to Ms Fovargue with 14,703 votes, a 31.3 share.

That represented an 11.8 per cent improvement on the party’s performance in the 2015 vote when it was beaten to the runner-up spot by Ukip.

The full list of candidates who will be contesting the borough’s seats in the upcoming election was released last night by Wigan Council shortly after the 4pm deadline for nominations passed.

In Wigan the candidates are: Peter Jacobs (Green), William Malloy (Brexit Party), Lisa Nandy (Labour), Stuart Thomas (Liberal Democrats), Ashley Williams (Conservatives).

In Makerfield the candidates are: Yvonne Fovargue (Labour), Nick King (Conservatives), Sheila Shaw (Green), John Skipworth (Liberal Democrats) and Ross Wright (Brexit Party).

And in Leigh the candidates are: Richard Clayton (Liberal Democrats), James Grundy (Conservatives), James Melly (Brexit Party), Ann O’Bern (Independent), Leon Peters (Ukip) and Jo Platt (Labour).