Name: Vince Cable
Party: Liberal Democrats
Tell us about your education?
I was educated at Nunthorpe Grammar School in York and then went onto Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge where I studied natural science and economics and was President of the Union. I obtained a PhD from Glasgow University while lecturing there.
What are three jobs you have held?
After graduating I worked as Treasury Finance Officer for the Kenyan Government and then lectured in economics at Glasgow University. I then worked in a range of senior economic and foreign policy roles, including as a member of the Diplomatic Service before becoming Shell’s Chief Economist in 1995.
What are your links to the Twickenham community?
I first moved to Twickenham over 40 years ago and I live on Whitton Road, near to the rugby stadium. My children attended local schools. Since I became MP I have had the opportunity and privilege to work with local community groups, traders, schools and local councillors. As an MP I have given priority to visiting local hospitals, schools and businesses on a regular basis.
I am very proud to be a patron and active supporter of Homelink , Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Richmond MENCAP, Twickenham and Thames Valley Beekeepers’ Association, Hampton Village Project and Richmond Environment Trust
Why did/do you want to be an MP?
I wanted to become an MP to make a positive difference to people’s lives and to influence the national debate on key issues, especially economic. I have achieved both and will work to continue to do so.
What do you think are the top three issues for Twickenham and what do you should be done about them?
- Increasing school places locally and protecting school funding.
- Opposition to further Heathrow expansion. While Heathrow is important there is simply no case for a third runway.
- Ensuring that the local economy remains vibrant by backing local firms; ensuring commuters have improved train services with the introduction of longer trains and tackling the chronic shortage of affordable housing.
What do you think are the top three issues are for the country?
- Ensuring that the economy keeps growing. The UK suffered the equivalent of a heart attack in the banking financial crisis, of which I had forewarned. Recovery is now certainly taking place, but there is far more to still do. We need to ensure the UK is better skilled, that we support innovative, creative and science based companies to deliver higher paid jobs and that every part of the country shares in the benefits of economic recovery.
- Protecting our key public services. We need to continue to ensure our health service provides a better service, with mental health given the same priority as physical health. Improvements in care for people with cancer and dementia are also key priorities.
- Protecting the environment. Tackling climate change is vital, but so is addressing other environmental issues, including air and noise pollution.
Are there any big things you are looking to achieve or change as an MP?
If I return as Secretary of State in government there is much more still to be done to develop vocational skills, build our science and innovation base and reinforce the Britain’s ability to earn its living in a fiercely competitive world.
Locally I think the biggest challenge (related to the national) is to ensure that educational institutions – schools, tertiary and adult colleges and universities – and our creative and science based companies receive the maximum support to make Twickenham a centre for the emerging knowledge economy.
If elected, how will you keep in touch with your constituents?
Over the last 18 years I have held weekly surgeries and I pledge to continue to do this. Of course people can also contact me my post, email or phone as well. Unlike many MPs I have also produced an annual report which is distributed to every household, at no cost to the taxpayer. Finally, I appreciate the importance of social media. I have a website and I am increasingly followed by people on twitter.
What lasting impression would you like to leave for readers (500 words)
I have been the MP for Twickenham since May 1997 so people can judge me on my record, not just on what I promise to do.
Since 1997 I have sought to actively represent all my constituents, irrespective of how they voted and if re-elected this is what I will continue to do. Whatever the outcome of the General Election and whatever my future role I will prioritise my constituency responsibilities to the people of Twickenham.
I am proud of many of the things I have managed to achieve locally which in the St Margarets area include: the successful campaign to save and now expand the Twickenham Film Studios; modernisation of the St Margarets Post Office as part of a Post Office network renewal programme; working with residents to stop the TFL proposal to demolish the St Margarets footbridge on the A316; and preserving the Riverside from ill-considered proposals like the Gloriana.
I will also continue to fight to ensure that the RFU does not neglect local residents and I am totally opposed to the stadium being used by Premier League football clubs.
In relation to Heathrow expansion my views have been consistent over the years – I simply believe there is no case for a third Heathrow runway. We must strengthen protection against anti-social night noise.
I have, over the last five years, balanced my local responsibilities with a senior Cabinet role in the Coalition. In that role I helped to provide political stability at a time of acute economic crisis. I have managed to achieve much: a rapid growth in apprenticeships; introducing shared parental leave, restricting the use of zero hour contracts, setting up the British Business Bank and Green Investment Bank.
In the last few weeks one of my initiatives – to support people with mental health difficulties has born fruit through expanding adult education provision, for which Richmond Adult College has successfully bid.
What is your favourite musical group/band/album?
I prefer classical – Mozart operas.
What is your favourite book?
What is the last book you read?
What are three places you have lived?
I was brought up on York, lived in Glasgow and for forty years in Twickenham
What is your favourite meal?
A good authentic Goan curry (the speciality of my late wife Olympia)
What is your favourite place to take a holiday?
Remote Britain: mountains and coastlines