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Michael Fabricant raring to go ahead of election battle

Michael Fabricant says he is fit and raring to go for another election battle in Lichfield and Burntwood.

The Conservative candidate, 64, was recently diagnosed with skin cancer – but he revealed that doctors at Queen’s Hospital Burton have now given him good news.

The former Tory vice-chairman has described the experience as “humbling” and Mr Fabricant has thanked the many people who have wished him well.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant

He said: “I hadn’t seen a doctor in 40 years. The NHS was fantastic – they referred me for an appointment straight away. My consultant believes they have caught it early. I can’t fault them and I would encourage people to get checked out.

“To be told you have ‘the big c’ is a humbling experience, but I’ve really appreciated the messages from people who had skin cancer 20 years ago and who are now fine.”

Mr Fabricant was first elected as an MP back in 1992 when he was chosen to represent the now defunct-Mid Staffordshire constituency.

In 1997 he became the MP for the new seat of Lichfield and Burntwood with a majority of just 238.

But Mr Fabricant built up his majority in subsequent elections and at the May 2010 election he retained his seat with a majority of 17,683.

If re-elected on May 7, his Westminster career will be extended to 28 years by the time of the next election – and Mr Fabricant believes his work in those years speaks volumes.

He said: “I believe that I’m a friendly and approachable member of parliament. My private sector experience has enabled me to deliver a first-class constituency service.

“My message to voters is simply to judge me on my record.”

The Conservative politician revealed how he made his journey from Brighton to his current home in Lichfield.

He was chosen from a shortlist of 238 other people to contest the 1992 general election for the Conservatives. But Mr Fabricant admitted during his youth that politics was the furthest thing from his mind.

He revealed that his work in the private sector drew him into the political arena.

“I had no interest in politics when I was younger,” he said. “I worked in broadcasting and radio.

“While at university my friend and I set up our independent radio company in which I was a senior director. We sold radio equipment in 48 countries to clients including the BBC, Radio Moscow, the Netherlands Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Uganda, the Italian State Broadcasting Service, Icelandic State Broadcasting Service, and many independent radio stations both at home and abroad.

“In Uganda you could get business start up grants, but there was no support from the British High Commission. I wrote to my MP basically criticising the lack of support that was available. I received a response from my parliamentary representative and the standard civil servant reply. I again wrote back to put across that I was still unhappy. The MP wrote back again and asked if I would like to meet the minister. I met the minister and got into a bit of an argument with him.

“In my opinion the minister had no knowledge of the private sector. He told me the only reason he was a minister was because of his law degree and he asked me whether I would consider standing for parliament – I took that as a challenge.”

Mr Fabricant was also encouraged to put himself up for election by Conservative grandee Anthony Royle during an interview back in the 1970s.

But the former parliamentarian for Richmond, who was elevated to the House of Lords in 1983, thought Mr Fabricant was destined to represent another party.

The 64-year-old revealed: “Anthony told me that I was a very interesting person and that he thought I would make a great MP.

“He then leaned in close and asked me if I had tried the Liberal Party.”

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant

However, Mr Fabricant wasn’t deterred and he eventually rose up through the ranks of the Conservatives.

His combative style has drawn him into conflict with his party, and most noticeably with Commons Speaker John Bercow.

The Conservative candidate for Lichfield accused Mr Bercow of ‘bullying’ former Clerk of the House Sir Robert Rogers.

Mr Fabricant said he will always stand up for his beliefs and principles.

He added: “I’ve never liked bullies. I admire John for the work he has done in the House, but the Speaker does say some very unpleasant things in the chamber.

“Former Speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd, the former member for West Bromwich West, has said that Mr Bercow should remember that he is the servant of the House and not the other way around.

“The Labour Party set a trap for us in the 1990s over the minimum wage by saying they would raise it to an unimaginable level. But I said I would not oppose the bill at second reading. I believed then that if the USA had a minimum wage that Britain should have it too. I argued that we should make our revisions at committee stage.

“My party refused and I told them we would regret our decision and would eventually support the minimum wage. We’ve done that and a future Conservative government will ensure no one on minimum wage pays any income tax.

Michael Fabricant MP with Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You

Michael Fabricant MP with Ian Hislop on Have I Got News For You

“On HS2 I voted with quite a few other Conservative MP’s against the bill. HS2 will now run underneath the A38 and West Coast Main Line instead of soaring over the top of a massive viaduct. This will greatly reduce the impact on Lichfield – the district, county council and myself have worked together to try to mitigate the impact of what is effectively a botched job by the government.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair invited Mr Fabricant to defect to Labour. However, he rejected the switch.

He explained: “At the time, Tony believed that I should be a part of their new Labour project.

“But I told him that I am actually a new Conservative – Tony told me there is no such thing. But I told him I’d hang on with the Conservatives until there was a new Tory Party, and under the leadership of David Cameron I’ve been proven right.”

Mr Fabricant revealed that outside of Westminster he is active participant in life with a wide range of interests and hobbies.

He added that if he wasn’t so busy he would love to own a golden retriever or labrador.

Mr Fabricant said: “Outside of politics – I love Indian or Italian food and hill walking. I’ve a place in Wales with a friend where I can go walking.

“I would love to own a dog, but unfortunately most of my time is spent in Westminster, in my constituency and abroad, so I would be unable to look after an animal.”

The candidates standing in the Lichfield constituency in May are:

  • Andy Bennetts – Class War
  • Michael Fabricant – Conservatives
  • Robert Pass – Green Party
  • John Rackham – UKIP
  • Paul Ray – Lib Dem
  • Chris Worsey – Labour

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  1. Councillor Steve Norman

    3rd May, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Hard to see how a “first class constituency service” squares with closing his constituency office when his inbuilt majority increased when the boundaries changed or not having monthly advertised surgeries – one of a tiny number of MP’s who don’t wish to demean themselves in that way. He’s welcome to attend Burntwood’s Labour councillor’s surgeries and tell us how his “first class service” didn’t extend to writing even a single letter (post paid by taxpayers) in support of Burntwood’s promised Health Centre.

  2. CllrSGNorman

    3rd May, 2015 at 10:31 am

    How does he square the boast: “first-class constituency service” with the fact that he is one of a tiny number of MPs who don’t have regular advertised surgeries? He can always come to one of Burntwood’s Labour Councillors’ surgeries to explain why his “first-class constituency service” didn’t extend to writing a single letter to the NHS in support of Burntwood’s proposed new health centre – cancelled by the Tory led Coalition. You could go to his local constituency office – if he hadn’t closed it some years ago.