On Your Side

On 13 November 2014 I launched my campaign to become the MP for Taunton Deane. You can read my first campaign leaflet here and you can listen to a wide-ranging interview with me here

You can read my recently-adopted health policy here

Why am I standing? Because we need an MP free to speak up for our area without party interference. That’s why I’m standing as an Independent.

The long established model is broken, with the old stranglehold of the two party system fading before our eyes and If you thought voting Lib Dem was a good idea in 2010, what are you thinking now? It’s silly to claim that everything done by the three main Westminster parties has been wrong, but what is wrong with their policies, is that Party interests come first and the interests of local people – us – come a poor second.

I’ve lived in and around Taunton for over 20 years and feel a strong affinity with the Taunton area and have been dismayed at the relative decline in the town’s commercial fortunes. Taunton is the County town of Somerset and needs fresh leadership for a vibrant 21st century future that ensures prosperity, jobs and trade. That is why I became a founder member of Taunton Forward, a collection of businesspeople looking to put Taunton at the heart of our region for business, shopping, tourism, the arts and entertainment.

I intend to put Taunton Deane first, free from party orders. Did you know that along with Jeremy Browne, not one Somerset MP, Conservative or Liberal Democrat, voted to bring Government funding for Somerset up to the same as that given to urban areas? Again, party orders prevented them. That’s no good. We need a fresh approach, a Member of Parliament elected solely to put the interests of the people of Taunton Deane first rather than someone who will be whipped into voting along party lines.

Martin Bell and Dr Richard Taylor are both shining examples of what motivated, Independent MPs can achieve for their constituencies, for their counties and for this Country. They were free from the corrupting influence of lobbyists and the sleaze that has dogged party politics for too many years.

As an independent County Councillor I was surprised that the Conservative administration at County Hall wanted to close the library in my village, slash funding for our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, sell off the West Somerset Railway and close a local Children’s Centre. Being independent meant that I was able to campaign, successfully, against all of these. I also pressed successfully for the early installation of superfast broadband for my County Council constituency.

Taunton Deane needs a Champion.

Keep checking back here for details of what I’m up to or follow the links above to my Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The Way I See It

February 16th, 2015

Thanks to the Somerset County Gazette for publishing my opinion piece in the current edition (12/2/15). Here is the full, unedited text:

THE WAY I SEE IT by Mike Rigby, Independent Parliamentary Candidate for Taunton Deane

Independent – Free to Speak, Free to Act

First off, remember, if you’re not on the electoral register, you will not be able to vote in the General Election. The rules have changed recently and many people have fallen off the register. To make sure that you’re on it, visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or write to Taunton Deane Borough Council.

I am standing to be the next MP for Taunton Deane because we need a fresh voice, untainted by the failures of the three main parties and capable of delivering the change that we desperately need. To listen to their candidates, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were nothing to do with their own parties that have done so much damage, locally and nationally, over the last decade. In that time our County Town, Taunton, has diminished commercially. Huge areas of potential regeneration land have been left undeveloped, while our rivals in neighbouring towns and cities have forged ahead. Fibre broadband has largely passed Taunton town centre by.

Too often, we see our party-backed MPs meekly obeying orders from above rather than acting in the best interest of the people they are supposed to represent. Last year the LibDem/Tory government again decided to offer significantly less money per head for spending on public services in Somerset than most of the rest of the UK. MPs had the chance to vote this down but because of party instructions, NOT ONE SOMERSET MP voted against the plan that disadvantages us here in Taunton Deane. What is the point of having MPs like this? It’s why I’m independent. As an independent County Councillor, I have been free to speak and free to act. As leader of a small group, I have been able to provide effective opposition at County Hall at a time when the Liberal Democrats have been quiet. I have fought for the people I represent, forcing the Conservative administration to drop many plans that would have adversely affected my area, including the sale of the West Somerset Railway, the closure of both the library and children’s centre in Bishops Lydeard. I have also highlighted concerns about the multiple problems occurring in Children’s Services, which now appear to be spreading to Adult Social Care. I have successfully lobbied for fibre broadband in my County Division; much of it now covered by superfast speeds. I am now working to fix the lack of fibre broadband in Taunton town centre itself. Continue reading “The Way I See It” »