The Brexit Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye said he would make ‘taking back control of our fishing grounds’ his priority if he won a seat at the next General Election.
Tom Bewick, a former Labour councillor in Brighton and Hove, said he loves Europe but believes the UK’s best days lie ahead as an ‘independent self-governing nation’.
He said: “By voting for me as the Brexit Party candidate, voters will know they stand a better chance that we do actually leave the European Union in a way that ensures we take back control of our fishing grounds.”
Citing Hastings and Rye’s support for Brexit – 55 per cent backed leave during the referendum in 2016 – Mr Bewick, who is hoping to stand as Hastings and Rye’s Brexit Party candidate at the next General Election, said helping to deliver on that result would be an important role for the constituency’s next MP.
He added: “Unlike some other parties, I trust in the decision that local voters made in the 2016 EU referendum to leave: I love Europe, but I believe passionately that our best days lie ahead as an independent self-governing nation, released from the shackles of bungling bureaucrats in Brussels.
“By taking back control of our laws, money, trade and fishing policies — I will work with local residents and in Westminster, to ensure Hastings and Rye gets a fairer share of the additional investment that will come. The Brexit Party only exists because we want to change politics for good.”
In a veiled attack at current Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd, Mr Bewick said the constituency has been ‘let down by career politicians’ who have been ‘largely absent’ from the community.
Currently living in Lindfield, West Sussex, Mr Bewick said he would move to Hastings if he was elected.
He added: “If I am elected as the local MP, I promise to spend all of my efforts on being a hard working constituency MP; focussing all of my time working to bring about greater investment and improvements in education, health, transport and job opportunities in the area.
“For too long, Hastings and Rye has been let down by career politicians. These people have been largely absent from the community as they’ve pursued ministerial and high office elsewhere.
“The Brexit Party won’t win the next election so there’s no risk of me pursuing ministerial or high office elsewhere. By voting for me as the Brexit Party candidate, voters will know they stand a better chance that we do actually leave the European Union in a way that ensures we take back control of our fishing grounds.”
Beyond Brexit, Mr Bewick said his priorities lie in education – a field he has worked in for more than 25 years.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he advised ministers on post-16 education reforms, including the creation of sector skills councils, before spending years campaigning for changes to the apprenticeship system.
The current chief executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) – the trade association for technical education, qualifications and assessment organisations – Mr Bewick left school with one O Level but, after attending night school, he obtained the grades to complete a bachelor’s degree and a European public policy masters from the University of Bath and the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
But as for the goal of being the MP for Hastings and Rye, he said: “I think that my track record of getting things done speaks for itself.
“I was behind the first creative apprenticeship programme, I’ve worked as a skills policy expert in Saudia Arabia, Afghanistan, Lebanon. When people ask me ‘how can we trust you’re not just another Amber Rudd’ I can show that I have demonstrated, throughout my career, that I am someone who you can trust.”