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Election 2010: Richard Drax tells of his hopes
RICHARD Drax spoke to the Dorset Echo of his hopes for the future after sweeping aside Labour’s Jim Knight with a majority of 7,443 in Thursday’s election.
Mr Drax told how he celebrated with his Norwegian wife Elsebet and met fellow Tories at the Conservative Club in Weymouth after the result in the early hours of Friday morning.
And he again threw the proposed new Portland schools academy into doubt.
Have you had the chance to celebrate?
“It’s been a busy, interesting and exciting time “We had a small do at the Conservative Club at 6am where I said thank you to all our team.
“We all met up for a bacon bap and a drink.
“My wife has been a great support like all wives are. And it’s been straight into the thick of it as we have to sign up in Westminster and get our passes and a laptop.
“We get shown a temporary office and guidance on how to behave and what to do. It’s a bit like school but all as you would expect with the administrative stuff.”
Were you surprised at the 9.3 percent swing from Jim Knight to you with 22,667 people voting Conservative in South Dorset?
“I was obviously pleased with the result. I’m also well aware of the people who did not vote for me and who are disappointed.
“I’m going to work for the benefit of all. I will do my utmost to represent everybody, whatever their political creed. To represent South Dorset is a huge privilege.”
What was the turning point?
“I’ve worked hard and met lots of people and got involved in lots of issues to help many people as a prospective MP after they came to me for help. I think that certainly helped.
“If a prospective MP turns up and hopes to win on a national swing, they are going to lose. It was very much a team effort to get out there. As I’ve said I think we played with a straight bat going around and having public meetings. I showed my face and spoke to people and I think people said ‘Well this guy is ‘what you see is what you get’.
Will you be speaking to Jim Knight as you start your role as MP?
“I will speak to Jim and thank him for what he’s done for South Dorset. I intend to ask him if there’s any causes he would like me to take on and more importantly what the constituents have asked him to take up.
“I’m not the sort of guy to say ‘Ya boo sucks’. I’ve won but now it’s time to move on. It’s a foolish man who thinks he has all the answers.”
I understand you don’t expect to be in a Conservative cabinet if David Cameron gets to form one?
“I think as someone on my pay grade I’m not expecting it but clearly it’s not my decision.
“My hope is that we get something created that the country needs as we are in dire economic circumstances – far worse than I believe Labour has let on. I suspect we will get a coalition government but between whom I don’t know. I hope it’s between us and someone.
“As for proportional representation I emphatically think it would be wrong for this country. It’s wrong for Gordon Brown to say the system is broken so let’s have PR. I say: ‘No Mr Brown you broke the system by your behaviour’. Our constitution is in very good nick.
What priorities have you got for South Dorset?
“The difficulty I have got as far as priorities are concerned is that until we know who the government is it’s hard to know who to report to.
“If we had a stonking majority I could say ‘we are an Olympic town we desperately need money.’ That does not mean I’m not going to try because I will. But I’ve a nasty feeling we are going to find out this country is literally on the point of collapse as our debt is so serious.”
Are you looking to press ahead with the Portland schools academy?
“My view is if we can get money for the island then that’s fantastic.
“There’s one side that wants a four to 19-year-old all-in-one academy. What the majority would accept is that they do need money for the secondary school but the autonomy of the primary schools must be respected. But where’s the money? Let’s wait and see if there is a government that says ‘here is £20million’.
“At the moment we have a promise which was so disingenuous. For Ed Balls and Mr Knight to promise the island this money when Mr Balls was nothing more than a Labour candidate at the time was very wrong. We now have to sit back and see what government we have got and find out what money – if any – we have.”
How do you see the area developing a legacy from the Olympics?
“We’ve got the sailing academy and that’s a huge legacy. And I know the academy is working to make it more available to everybody.
“We have the relief road and though that was always going to come many would argue it could be ‘too little too late’.
We are working to ensure we have a super-speed broadband link for all companies here.”
Do you see that helping to attract businesses here?
“I’m sure not having fast broadband puts people off.
“The county council has been working for us to attract businesses that are going to provide jobs. We’ve got to ensure the business playing field we create in this county is attractive for businesses to stay in the UK.
“Many are leaving for tax reasons.
“I’m a traditional Tory in the sense of having less state and less tax and to deregulate.
“We’ve got to allow business men and women to create the wealth and jobs and not the state.”