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Lib Dems pick Faversham Cllr Ben J Martin to stand as Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP

Swale Liberal Democrats have selected Cllr Ben J Martin to stand as MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey for the next general election.

Despite being just 32, Cllr Martin who is from Faversham and represents Watling ward, is already a seasoned campaigner.

Faversham Lib Dem Cllr Ben Martin is to stand as MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (18017992)
Faversham Lib Dem Cllr Ben Martin is to stand as MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (18017992)

He is already Lib Dem group leader and Cabinet member for Housing at Swale council in the coalition administration.

He said: “I'm delighted to have been selected. I am committed to working cross-party to demand better for Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

"We need a voice in Westminster standing up for local people, pushing for the improvements to our road network, healthcare and changes in legislation to ensure development is led by the needs of people and not the development companies.

"If elected, I will be that voice."

He added: "In many ways, the next general election will be a Brexit referendum in all but name with the Conservatives and Labour divided nationally and offering no clear way forward.

Faversham Lib Dem Cllr Ben Martin is to stand as MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (18017989)
Faversham Lib Dem Cllr Ben Martin is to stand as MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (18017989)

"People are being presented with a clear choice; continue with the current chaotic uncertainty or demand better with the Liberal Democrats. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit and to demand better for our communities.”

Lib Dem activist Keith Nevols said: “Ben is an excellent candidate and offers a real alternative for residents.

"The constituency contains some of the highest levels of poverty and child poverty in the country with thousands struggling to make ends meet.

"They could not wish for a better champion than Ben in aiming to bring jobs and investment to the area.

"Ben has developed excellent working relationships across the political spectrum and will make a great MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey.”

Cllr Martin announced his selection by Twitter on Saturday. He is also a Faversham town councillor.

He has been a Swale borough councillor and Cabinet member for Housing since being elected in May 2019.

'Ben has developed excellent working relationships across the political spectrum and will make a great MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey' - Keith Nevols

He began campaigning while a student at the Abbey School in Faversham, setting the case for the replacement of the school’s at the time dilapidated, canteen.

He has since campaigned against the 2003 Iraq war, the abolition of the Labour government’s beer duty escalator,housing, roads, education, pedestrian safety, citizen’s rights, environmental issues, local pubs and air quality. He is drafting a question put before the European Commission.

He said: "I believe Britain is better off in the EU working to reform the institutions, collaborating and cooperating with our neighbours in Europe to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency we face and maintaining a significant position on the world stage."

He has worked in retail and hospitality management since graduating with a Diploma in Business and Sustainability.

He has is a vocal proponent for increasing equality and diversity in politics.

Cllr Martin is dyslexic and has long campaigned for schools to be given adequate resources to diagnose and give support to those with learning difficulties.

He is a member of the LGBT+ community.

In 2018 he took part in the Three Peaks Challenge as part of a team which raised more than £5,000 for the Costa Foundation to build a school in Ethiopia.

Read more about Kent politics here.

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