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Could Bromsgrove MP Julie Kirkbride be reconsidering her decision to stand down after being embroiled in the expenses scandal? David Nicholl receives some strange intelligence.

I always knew the question would be asked but was surprised, nonetheless, at when it came, and who was asking.

On my way home from work one day last week, I was door-stepped, at home, by a former local councillor and campaigner for Julie Kirkbride, “Would I stand as a parliamentary candidate for Bromsgrove?”

I knew the answer - “No”- because I had spent the summer pondering on it. I had dismissed the idea outright after seeking the advice of Dr Richard Taylor, MP for Kidderminster who had made it clear that to be a good MP, I would have to make a decision between medicine and politics - there just isn’t time to do both.

However, the ex-councillor had come to see me as he was alarmed to hear that Ms Kirkbride would definitely be standing at the next election. I put it to him that this was just a rumour being spread by supporters within the local Bromsgrove Conservative Association, aggrieved at the whole ‘Julie Must Go campaign’.

“Absolutely not” he insisted. “She is desperate to stand and will stand at the next election and wants the support of people in Hagley, she told me herself”.

Certainly I have heard from other Conservative sources how keen Ms Kirkbride is to stand again.

Further the local Bromsgrove paper this week carried an anonymous letter expressing support at Ms Kirkbride’s decision “to restand as our MP”. Is this all spin to see if Ms Kirkbride has enough local support to mount a campaign? Certainly she is making herself very visible, as all candidates will have to do.

When I pitched the Best4Bromsgrove hustings idea to Ms Kirkbride herself in July, her comment was “Dr Nicholl I think your skills are best kept with the NHS”.

On that I agree, but politics in Bromsgrove certainly promise to be anything but dull in the next year. So far in Bromsgrove we have 2 independents who have announced that they will be standing, a left wing independent, Mark France and a right wing independent Stan Francis

Who will the best candidate for Bromsgrove be? It does not necessarily have to be an independent - John Smeaton, the airport worker who tackled one of the Glasgow airport bombers recently announced that he was standing as an independent whilst shooting himself in the foot with one of the most cringeworthy embarrassing TV interviews ever.

So maybe the best candidate will be from one of the major parties like Ms Kirkbride - that should make for some interesting hustings as well as one of the biggest political turnarounds!



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