Journalist wants to give local residents a voice at County Hall
A national newspaper journalist has been selected as the Labour Party's candidate for the Bamburgh ward in May's Northumberland County Council elections.
David Paul, a former northern editor of the Sunday Express who now runs a media company creating television dramas with his wife Clare Grant, says he is delighted to take on the challenge.
“What matters for people in Belford, Seahouses, Beadnell, Bamburgh and all the surrounding villages is that they get a councillor who can stand up for our community at County Hall,” said Mr Paul, of Warenford. “I believe I have the maturity and life experience to do that.
“As a journalist, I have reported on some extraordinary moments in politics. I was in Downing Street the night Margaret Thatcher was toppled by the Tory Party, in Warsaw the night Poland was admitted to the European Union and in Kabul when Afghanistan held its first democratic elections in living memory.
“But the importance of local politics in our part of the world and the achievements a good councillor can deliver for the people he or she serves are all too often forgotten.
“I hope to persuade many people in the Bamburgh ward to vote Labour, perhaps for the first time in their lives.”
Mr Paul, 55, is a governor at the Duchess’s High School in Alnwick and St Mary’s Middle School in Belford.
He is also the Northumberland community ambassador for the Children’s Society.
He has three children: Ella, aged 17, Harry, 14, and Bonnie, 13, attend. He was previously a governor at Seahouses First School when he lived in the village.
Mr Paul added: “As a parent I’m all too aware of the uncertainty and worry families are currently enduring as the area adapts to a two-tier education system.
“With the on-going budget cuts being forced on schools by central government it has never been more important to have a strong voice speaking up for children in this corner of Northumberland so they get the best possible education.
“There are of course other concerns. The area is attracting ever more tourists which is great for many local businesses, but someone has also got to speak up for everyone who lives and works here, whether they are aged eight or 80.
“We need to protect all that is so good about this beautiful place with sensible planning decisions while making more new homes affordable to locals to buy or rent.
“It’s always worth taking a fresh look and seeing if we can do things better with the resources available. Can something be done to revitalise the High Street in Belford? Perhaps car parking regulations might be tweaked to help shops in Seahouses boost their trade? Can we do more to finally get super fast broadband available right across north Northumberland?
“While those who have worked hard all their lives deserve to be cared for properly in their old age, I want to fight to ensure the elderly in particular have easy access to good social and health care.”
Mr Paul wants anyone with local issues or concerns they would like to highlight to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
He added: “Obviously I hope to win at the polls on May 4, but whatever the result it would be great to play some part in getting record numbers to vote this time around because I firmly believe local politics matters.”