A COUNTY councillor has been selected by the Liberal Democrats as the party’s parliamentary candidate for Henley.

Freddie Van Mierlo was chosen to stand as the Lib Dems candidate in the next general election, in a bid to win the seat from the Conservatives.

Henley’s current MP John Howell has been representing the constituency since 2008.

Cllr Van Mierlo, 33, who represents Chalgrove and Watlington on Oxfordshire County Council, said: “My main reason to stand is that I love being a county councillor and I love serving the community.

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“Being community-oriented is important and fighting for an outcome with the community is something I love about my work as a councillor – I would love to do that constituency-wide.

“Henley is a beautiful place but we know that there’s issues and we want to solve them. What the Tories are doing to the county and to the country is outrageous, they are unfit to govern.

“The party as a whole is at its end and we can see that in terms of their ability to govern, and the only party who can beat them in Henley is the Lib Dems, and I think that’s extremely promising.

“I’m extremely hopeful and I know we will have to work really hard to win the trust of people who would normally vote Conservative.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do but I’m confident that we will put ourselves in a position to win it."

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The date of the next general election has not yet been announced. The current Parliament first met on December 17 2019 and will automatically dissolve on December 17 2024, unless it has been dissolved sooner by the King. Polling Day would be expected to take place 25 days later.

All parties currently represented in Parliament follow similar procedures to choose their candidates ahead of time for a general election.

Candidates have to be party members for a certain period of time, which varies from three months to a year. Then there are application forms and assessments, with questions about life and political experiences and career.

The parties then draw up centrally approved lists of candidates, which are then put to the local party members for a final decision.

Cllr Van Mierlo said: “The state of the NHS is one of my priorities, my whole family works for the NHS and what is happening to it is not acceptable and I really want to change that.

“This is what I want to focus on, as well as the climate emergency, which the Tories are not seeing as a priority.

“My generation is going to be around in 2050 and we need our voices heard on these issues in Parliament.”

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

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