"Bobby Barnes has been a friend since the first time I started canvassing in Tonbridge. It was October 2013 and I was being put through my paces as part of the selection process. I take it as a good sign that we are still friends but Bobby hasn’t let up. I am still, rightly, being tested!
"This time it was over morning coffee with many people from across Hadlow in Bobby and Sue’s home. Very kindly they had brought together Jill Anderson, Howard Rogers and Janet Sergison; excellent, hard-working councillors and candidates for the election in May, for a Tea with Tom. More than fifty people came.
"The questions were wide ranging and I was rightly asked where my loyalties lay – to the party or the community. For me the answer is easy. As a former Army officer I know that while the team matters, it is looking after your community that counts. I was selected in an open primary too so that makes things even more clear – the people chose me as Conservative candidate, not the party.
"That also made some of the questions easier.I was delighted to be questioned about some national and some local issues.I was very grateful for the response I received and will take on board some of the points that people made. It is vital for me to have the chance to hear people’s views so that I can represent their interests. Politics is about people, not ideology."