Steve was selected in a secret ballot of local UKIP members on 2nd October 2014, held at the Parkend Working Men’s Club in the forest. The hustings contest was organised by the local branch and only local branch members voted. The decision to choose Steve, who originally comes from London, was made exclusively by local branch members alone in a secret ballot.
Steve Stanbury said:
It is an honour and a responsibility to be chosen by local members for such an important seat for our party nationally. My job is to work tirelessly with our outstanding team of elected councillors to build upon their great success and effective representation of local voters real concerns.
At the hustings Steve pledged to move into the Forest within a month. He has stuck to his word and he and his wife Linda moved into the village of Blakeney, at the end of October.
When not representing UKIP and working for local people in the Forest of Dean, Steve works part time for a HR services company, providing counselling and psychological services to employers nationwide.
Target Seat Status
The Forest of Dean has been formally confirmed as a key UKIP target seat for the General Election in May 2015. UKIP has for some time been open about its target seat strategy, deliberately following a path effectively deployed by the Lib Dems where the party concentrated resources on key clusters where there is a strong local team, elected councillors and consistently strong showings in the polls.
The UKIP head office target seat team started with the 2013 local government results and overlaid these with the 2014 European Election results on a constituency-by-constituency basis. This has recently been augmented by private polling to produce a target list of approximately 15 seats. Many of these seats were “notional wins” for UKIP, meaning that if those results were replicated at a General Election, UKIP would win the parliamentary seat.
The Forest of Dean falls firmly in this category, ranging between no. 5 and no. 10 on the list (which fluctuates slightly as new polls come in and seats are added (i.e. Clacton added in September 2014).
Target seat status means that the seat will benefit from a rolling head office campaign being rolled out between now and May 2015. Activities will include constituency-wide mailings, telephone canvassing and poster and bill-board campaigns nearer to May.
Steve was born in 1964, and recently celebrated his 50th birthday. His father’s side of the family come from a mining background in South Wales. Steve grew up in rural Sussex and was the eldest of 5 children. His father served in the RAF and then became an passenger aircraft engineer. His mother was a nurse. Steve was the eldest of 5 children. He says:
In common with most families, my parents worked hard and brought up a family the best they could on a tight budget. We never wanted for anything, but luxuries were treats for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. From an early age I learnt the meaning of hard work and had dozens of Saturday and holidays jobs to pay for things I wanted as a teenager that my parents could not afford
So although today I run my own small family business, I know what its like to start with nothing, and will never forget what its like to raise a family on a tight budget.
Steve attended a normal comprehensive school, went to technical college and then to university.
He and Linda, his wife of 22 years, I have 3 children, aged 21, 20 and 15.
Before joining UKIP, Steve was Conservative. He fought a parliamentary seat for the Tories in 1997, and was member of their National Executive Committee when he chaired the National Association of Conservative Graduates in the late 80’s. He says:
I left the Tories because they no longer shared my values and beliefs about Britain and the kind of society I want us to be. Specifically, I wanted to live in a country that:
- Is fair to its own citizens, where democracy matters and where our own elected parliament is sovereign:
- Where our generosity as a society is focused on needy people in our country, and not squandered on corrupt foreign governments;
- Where we control our own borders and fund our schools and hospitals for our own citizens;
- Where we respect and properly fund our armed forces and military families and veterans.
The Tories lost sight of these core, ordinary, British values and aspirations.
Steve firmly believes that UKIP is now the only truly one-nation party, that cherishes individual freedom and enterprise, but that also stands up for common sense fairness and the decent values of working people. He adds:
Labour has long ceased to represent British working people. Labour is obsessed by politically correct ideology, and is ashamed of our history and British culture. Their mocking contempt of the guy in Kent proudly flying his England flags says it all. They are hopelessly out of touch with hard working families.
Steve passionately believes that local people, and local issues must always come first.
If UKIP stands for anything, its that localism must be real, that we are servants of communities who elect us to represent them and their families. We see politicians from the old parties who completely ignore local issues and concerns, who get caught up in the Westminster club and who are consumed by career and seeking high office. Mark Harper, the Tory MP for the Forest, who is serving out his final few months, is a classic example of this old-style out of touch politician.
Photo by moz278