Bedford and Kempston Liberal Democrats have selected Henry Vann as their parliamentary candidate to fight the next general election, expected by 2010. Henry was selected at a packed hustings meeting open to all Lib Dem members in Bedford and Kempston on Wednesday night.
Henry is now looking forward to challenging Patrick Hall to become the next MP for Bedford.
"Bedford is my home town and I have lived here for most of my life. I have seen the people of Bedford let down by both the Conservatives and Labour. It is a privilege to be selected as parliamentary spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats.
"Our policies are the best for Bedford: keeping the Post Offices open, our Hospital services locally accountable and our police fully funded. And I will fight to protect all of these for the people of Bedford.
"I will scrutinise Patrick Hall's shameful voting record for the people of Bedford, and will stand up for their civil liberties, and protect our vital services.
"I believe I have the energy, the experience and the drive to win the Bedford and Kempston seat for the Liberal Democrats," Vann said.
Henry has pledged to personally knock on 4,000 doors between now and the general election so that he can hear first-hand from local people about their interests and concerns.
There were two other candidates in the close-run contest: Putnoe Councillor Michael Headley and Luton Borough Councillor Andrew Strange.
"We had three very strong candidates and an excellent debate. All the candidates ran very strong and positive campaigns," said Cllr Paul Whitehead, who chaired the selection panel.
"As Liberal Democrat members we all get a say on who our parliamentary candidate will be, and it was inspiring to see so many members turning up on the night to vote in the election. There was standing room only at the hall at St Andrew's Church and other members who couldn't be there voted by post. It goes to show how vibrant and engaged the local Lib Dems are," Whitehead said.
"Henry has the experience of national politics and the local knowledge to challenge both Labour and the Conservatives, and I know he will work hard with our strong team of local councillors and campaigners to get the best for Bedford," said Bedford Borough Lib Dem Council group leader, Dave Hodgson.
About Henry Vann
Henry Vann was born at North Wing hospital in Bedford in 1986 and educated at Bedford School and Cambridge University, where he read Philosophy. He currently works for a political communications service in Westminster and has also worked as a volunteer with young people in Brixton, discussing gang violence and drug crime, on immigration cases with Simon Hughes MP and for a Department of Health helpline, helping vulnerable people struggling with the health service. In his spare time, Henry is a keen musician, playing the clarinet, and has performed with Bedford Sinfonia, as well as Bedfordshire Youth Opera and County Youth Orchestra, and regularly at the music festival.