James is always keen to answer your questions, so please do get in touch. Below are a selection from a recent interview:
James, congratulations again on being selected as the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon. Selected in August, you’ve now been in the role for 4 months. How are you finding it?
I’m loving it! Being selected as a candidate is a privilege, particularly for a constituency like ours. You’re given the opportunity to meet so many different people, communities and businesses and get a real insight into what really matters to them.
Why did you want to be the candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon?
My background is in telecommunications (James works for Abingdon based digital infrastructure company Gigaclear) – and the Thames Valley is a hot bed for digital innovation, so the prospect of representing an area that is home to so many developing innovations in digital infrastructure, healthcare and software development was too exciting to pass up! I chose to have a career in this sector because this industry has enormous potential to improve people’s lives in the years ahead. I’d love to have the opportunity to be a part of championing this and creating the right legislative environment to enable these innovations to be successful and empower people.
What’s your favourite part of being a candidate so far?
One of my favourite moments so far was meeting the team at TapSocial. They’re a local brewing company in Botley that provides training and employment opportunities for people coming to the end of their prison term. Their business is a success story of how you can reintegrate people serving prison sentences into the working environment. I want more businesses to have the confidence to do what they are doing, so I brought the Home Secretary to come and meet them and see their success for himself. On the visit, we talked about how the ‘Release on Temporary Leave’ programme was really useful for employers wanting to do what TapSocial was doing, but that there needed to be more structure around how to engage prison governors.
We are now talking to the Prisons Minister about doing just that. Hopefully TapSocial can be a trend setter for helping employers have the confidence to follow in their footsteps and play a role in reintegrating the prison community.
What’s your political ‘world view’?
That’s a big question! My world view is very much grounded in my upbringing. Both my parents worked for the NHS, my mother as an assistant radiographer and my dad as an ambulance coordinator. Growing up, it was clear to see their passion for their work – and often their frustration from always wanting to do more for the patients they met and cared for. That was a big part of how I brought up – that if people were unlucky in life for whatever reason, it was vital that support was there to empower them and enable them to live a life meaningful to them.
I have always then felt that a basic tenant of any understanding of ‘justice’ requires that – and it is the state’s responsibly to do that. In my view, empowering the worst off in our society should be the critical driver of Government activity.
If you could implement one law, what would it be?
I’d take anyone on minimum wage out of paying National Insurance Contributions. The primary aim of Government should be to empower the worst off in our society. Taxing the individuals we want to help most is then counter-intuitive. Of course, the more difficult part of that proposal is finding the funding to support it!