There will be local elections to North Herts District Council across Hitchin on May the 2nd this year, and I will once again be standing as the Lib Dem candidate for Bearton ward. Although I’m a relative newcomer to active politics, I am standing because I strongly believe that, in this era of polar extremes and online echo chambers, there is a vital need for more moderate voices to stand up and make themselves heard. We simply can’t just carry on shouting at each other all the time. It’s time to demand better.

If I am fortunate enough to be elected to represent the ward that I have called home for more than eight years, my pledge is to listen carefully, work hard, and be a constructive, collaborative and pragmatic councillor. As a university lecturer and scientist, my aim is always to fully consider the evidence and continue to learn—and I will bring the same approach to council work.

I’m deeply invested in our education system, both from my university work and as the dad of two school-age children. But, just like the NHS, the UK’s many excellent universities employ people and teach students from across the world, and they are seriously threatened by the unfolding political disaster of Brexit. As the proud husband of a hardworking Spaniard, I am also very aware of Brexit’s effects on our communities. At over 68%, Hitchin Bearton had the highest Remain vote of any North Hertfordshire ward, and many of us are disillusioned by the government’s unwillingness to build any consensus since the 2016 referendum.

Brexit is also distracting us from the many important issues at home. The NHS needs to be put on a stable financial footing. Welfare needs to be fair, and treat people with dignity. And with the average selling price of a house in Hitchin now at more than £400,000, the need for affordable options is greater than ever.

I strongly support the Liberal Democrats’ core values of openness and tolerance, and I’m proud of the work that local Lib Dems already do in Hitchin, as well as forward-looking initiatives to make our town happier, healthier and greener: developing a proper town strategy, pushing for transparency from the council and supporting the sustainable transport of the future.

I will always be happy to hear from anyone, whatever their views on the issues that matter to us all. Please feel free to get in touch, either by email or on Twitter, and if you are a UK, EU or Commonwealth citizen, please vote on May the 2nd!