WARRINGTON North Conservatives have chosen a jiu jitsu blackbelt to fight the next General Election in May.
Father-of-three Richard Short lives in Leigh – just 500 yards from the Warrington boundary – and has previously fought a number of local government elections in Leigh, increasing the Tory share of the vote from nine per cent to 35 per cent.
An environmental health officer working for a hotel chain he is married to Angela and has two daughters and a son.
He said: “I know Warrington well – my children were educated in the borough and when I was at college and university and took holiday jobs for several years on farms in the Glazebury area.”
Mr Short says he is a “science geek” with a keen interest in astronomy and science generally. He took up jiu jitsu through an interest in martial arts and as a means of keeping fit. His three children have followed in his footsteps.
“I told them the first rule of martial arts is not to get into fights at all. But it is a superb way of keeping fit which is particularly important in these days when there is so much concern about obesity among young people.”
Mr Short worked in local government for 12 years before going into private practice, working in Wigan, Bolton and West Lancashire.
He believes the present Government has done a good job in strengthening the economy.
“We always knew it was going to be a slow process so it is important that the good work continues. Unemployment in Warrington North is down 49 per cent since 2010 and I want to see it continue to improve.
“I want Warrington to become the centre for enterprise that it was back in the 1980s – and for the town to succeed we must have a strong economy.
“I believe people should be able to be in touch with politicians so I will be working hard, out on the doorstep and elsewhere, to make sure they get to know me. I shall be asking what issues are important to them.”
Mr Short opposes the HS2 high speed rail project as originally proposed – and is hopeful that it will be amended so that the spur line that would run through Culcheth, effectively slicing the local community in two and causing tremendous environmental damage, will be dropped.
“It would bring Warrington no benefits at all and cause devastation. But the signs are looking good and I am hoping the spur line will be dropped.”
He supports the upgrading of the existing West Coast Main Line and also the idea of an HS3 – and east-west line linking the cities of the North.
At the 2010 General Election, MP Helen Jones held the seat for Labour with 45.54 per cent of the poll – down 7.3 per cent on the previous election. Conservative Paul Campbell came second in a four-cornered with 30.23 per cent of the vote.
Cllr Campbell said: “We had quite a few people interested in contesting the seat but in the end, unanimously selected Richard. He has everything we need in a candidate for the constituency.”
Picture: Richard Short (centre) with members of Warrington North Conservative Association after his selection.