A teacher tired of the ‘desperate state’ of public service finances has launched a bid to become East Worthing and Shoreham’s first Independent MP.
Andy Lutwyche will need to overturn a titanic Tory majority to swap the classroom for the Commons – but the tough task is one he believes is possible.
“I wouldn’t be in it if I didn’t think there was a chance to win it,” he said.
“(Tim) Loughton has a massive majority from 2015 but that’s not to say that everyone is happy with his performance as their MP.”
Mr Lutwyche, 43, lives in Broadwater with his wife and daughter.
And it is his residence in the constituency which he said was a major difference between him and the current MP.
He said: “Had I not had so much support from family and friends then I probably would have pushed it to the backburner, but they seem as frustrated as I am that East Worthing and Shoreham is represented in Westminster by someone who doesn’t actually reside in the constituency, so therefore has nothing invested in it.”
The maths teacher of 17 years criticised years of underfunding of West Sussex schools – a topic subject to the WorthLess campaign supported by this newspaper.
He argued the Government’s ‘fairer funding formula’ plans would not go far enough in addressing the problem and he would fight for better funding for public services.
He said: “The desperate state of public service finances under the guise of austerity was a big driver for me; I find it so upsetting that our schools and hospitals are being brought to their knees by this current government.”
Standing up for ‘hard-working’ young people, tackling the area’s infrastructure issues – including the A27 and railway network – are among Mr Lutwyche’s priorities.
By electing him as an independent MP, he said he would not be restricted to toeing a party line.
“The job of a member of parliament is to look out for their constituents’ needs,” he said.
“Head teachers in the constituency are crying out for more money, as are hospital administrators and their over-worked staff, so MPs need to listen to them and badger the Treasury to fund vital public services properly.”
Mr Loughton was elected in 2015 by a majority of 14,949 votes ahead of Labour in second.
Victory for Mr Lutwyche, a keen sportsman who represented numerous sports teams across the area, would draw comparisons to the biggest sporting upsets.
He said: “The obvious analogy is with Leicester City’s triumph in the Premier League last season; they all thought it was impossible but Ranieri and his squad proved the doubters wrong!
“If I were to go a bit leftfield I’d say Sri Lanka winning the Cricket World Cup in 1996 or tiny Brawn winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2009.”
Find out more by visiting www.indieeastworthingandshorehamcandidate.blogspot.co.uk
Other confirmed candidates in the East Worthing and Shoreham constituency are:
Conservative: Tim Loughton
Labour: Sophie Cook
UKIP: Mike Glennon
Liberal Democrats: Oli Henman
Green: Leslie Groves Williams
National Health Action: Carl Walker