Uttlesford councillor wins Conservative parliamentary candidacy in Stoke-on-Trent

Campagining in Stoke-On-Trent, Jonathan Rich stumbles across a familiar namesake

Campagining in Stoke-On-Trent, Jonathan Rich stumbles across a familiar namesake - Credit: Archant

A Stansted councillor who learned to count on the campaign trail has been selected as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for the popular Stoke-On-Trent South seat.

Councillor Jonathan Rich, 48, deputy member for finance at Uttlesford District Council (UDC), was elected for the position last night alongside two other conservative candidates for the three seats available in Stoke-On-Trent.

“I am still smiling, but I’ve stopped shaking,” Cllr Rich, speaking to the Reporter the morning after the vote.

“It was a tremendous evening, and very, very inspiring. I am thrilled to have gone through and I am still delighted this morning.

“My family are very excited - they were waiting up for me when I got home,” he said, of his wife Louise and three young children, who currently go to school in Saffron Walden.

Staffordshire County Councillor Ben Adams and County Councillor Liam Ascough, who led his borough to be the first Conservative authority to adopt the living wage, were also elected as the conservative parliamentary candidates for Stoke-on-Trent North and Central respectively.

Cllr Joe Rich grew up on Newport Road, Saffron Walden, before moving to Rickling Green. Since 2006 he has lived in Stansted, where he has been a councillor since 2007.

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“I learned to count with my mother when she was standing as a councillor in the late 1960s,” said the councillor, who has practised as a barrister for the last 25 years.

“I was chairman of Saffron Walden Young Conservatives 30 years ago, and chaired the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA) as well.

“In my time as deputy member for finance, I’ve seen Uttlesford transform from 2007 when it was a financial basket case to what it is now – the second best in the country.” [according to a poll in the Daily Telegraph]

“I would like to bring that exceptional finance administration to Stoke-In-Trent where the county council is subject to a great deal of concern.”

Cllr Rich said he would be spending a lot more time in Stoke-In-Trent in the run-up to May – and hopefully beyond.

“Obviously I desperately wanted to get this particular seat, but the competition was very strong and I am really looking forward to working with the others.

“We are talking about exceptionally gifted and articulate people, and we have worked incredibly hard together.”

Fellow Stoke-on-Trent Conservative candidate Liam Ascough will be standing against Labour’s Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, in the May General Election next year.