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22-12-2009

Dr David Nicholl

Now that all three party leaders have agreed to participate in Britain’s first televised hustings at next year’s general election, there’s no good reason why voters shouldn’t get to quiz candidates at local level either. And where better to start, asks Dr David Nicholl in this open letter to David Cameron, than scandal hit Bromsgrove?

Dear Mr Cameron

We met last year when BBC’s Panorama asked me to interview you about the NHS in September 2008.

My reason for writing to you is that I, like many people in Bromsgrove constituency and elsewhere, have been disturbed by the MPs expenses scandal.

Equally, as someone who is not a member of a political party, I am worried that people will become disenchanted with the electoral process, and that there is a very real risk to mainstream politics.

To try and address this, I set up the BEST campaign to try and set up a series of hustings to assist local voters in the selection of the best candidates.

I would emphasize I am interested in anything which encourages people to vote and feel a part of the selection process - as I feel this will improve accountability and lead to better MPs.

As such, I was encouraged to hear of reports that the Conservatives were planning a open postal primary in Bromsgrove to select the Tory candidate.

Essentially, I wanted to offer my help in any way to assist with such an open postal primary. I would be keen to try and organize a local hustings (I could readily do this in Hagley, but ideally one would need to be organized more centrally in Bromsgrove) so that voters could hear and challenge potential candidates.

I hope you feel that in the Panorama programme that I was able to give you a robust interview, and I think the potential Tory candidates for Bromsgrove should expect no less.

I have always (since that interview) refused to indicate who I would vote for - as I don’t really feel that is my role. However if I can help act as a local amateur ‘Jon Snow/Jeremy Paxman’ (perhaps the former rather than the latter!) essentially in a ‘chairing the hustings’ role then I hope that would be of use in an open postal ballot.

Finally I should make it absolutely clear I am not standing myself nor have any intention of standing in any Parliamentary election prior to retirement, but if I can help the people of Bromsgrove in the process of selection of their next MP, then I think that is something which is just too important to leave to political parties.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Dr David Nicholl FRCP PhD

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