East Grinstead and Uckfield Constituency appoints its Liberal Democrat candidate

5 Jan 2024
ben headshot

The Liberal Democrats have selected an environmental policy expert to be the first MP for the constituency of East Grinstead and Uckfield.

Benedict Dempsey, a former District Councillor, has been nominated by the party to contest the new seat at the next general election.

Ben, 44, grew up in Haywards Heath. He went to Oxford University and lived in London for ten years before moving back to Sussex 14 years ago to raise his family. He has a masters degree in sustainable development and a PhD in nature conservation from the University of Sussex. He was a Mid Sussex District Councillor from 2019 to 2023.

Ben has worked for humanitarian and nature conservation charities for over 15 years, lobbying ministers in Westminster as well as working abroad in countries including Haiti, Myanmar, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

As a District Councillor, Ben worked particularly on planning and the environment, securing improvements to nature recovery policy in Mid Sussex. He also successfully proposed a Council motion calling for refugees and asylum seekers to be treated with dignity and respect.

Ben said:

“People in East Grinstead, Uckfield and local villages are desperate for our politics to be better.

“We are losing the ability to discuss complex issues in a rational and reasonable way. I offer residents the chance to have an MP who listens and is respectful of different shades of opinion, even if we don’t always agree.

“I believe the values of tolerance, honesty and decency are shared by the vast majority in this country. The Liberal Democrats offer the best hope of that in this new constituency.

“The new East Grinstead and Uckfield constituency is made up from parts of four others – Mid Sussex, Wealden, Lewes and Horsham. In all four of those, the Lib Dems came second to the Conservatives last time.

“Labour has already acknowledged it can’t win here, labelling it a ‘non-battleground’ seat.

“The Lib Dems are ready to take on the Conservatives. If I am elected, I will represent the people of East Grinstead and Uckfield with the outward-looking, tolerant, liberal-minded politics that has been so sorely lacking in recent years.

“We must repair the damage done by this government, tackle the cost of living crisis, stop sewage being poured into our rivers, and restore political standards and the rule of law. The government’s incompetent mishandling of the pandemic and Brexit has cost us billions.

“I have lived in Sussex for most of my life, and want to champion the issues that matter to local people.

“In particular, I will campaign to change the government’s planning system – putting more power in the hands of communities and taking it away from the big developers. That is the only way to tackle our housing crisis, by building the kind of green, affordable homes people actually need, not just the ones that make the most profit for large corporations.

“I look forward to listening and talking to people in East Grinstead and Uckfield, and asking them to put their trust in me as their next MP.”

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