Richard's story

A dedication to his community. Find out more about the person standing to be the next MP for Manchester Withington

Richard in Fletcher Moss Park

Richard was born and raised in Middlesbrough in the North-East of England. The 32-year-old communications professional now lives in Didsbury, Manchester with his partner Martha and cat Manny. Elected to the council first in 2018 as one of Manchester's only non-Labour politicians and elected again in 2023, Richard has carved out a reputation as a dedicated community champion and advocate for the residents he represents. 

We asked Richard a few questions to help you get to know him, find out what inspires his work in the community, and find out what a vote for Richard will mean in the General Election.

You were a Councillor at 26 years old. Have you always been passionate about politics?

"I think I have always been passionate about issues rather than politics. As a young lad growing up in Middlesbrough, I think I was always very aware of the issues in the community I grew up in. My parents were not very politically active. They both worked for the local council in social services so indirectly I was very aware of the impact of poverty and inequality.

My first experience of politics was a local issue. It was about some housing in the centre of town that was going to be demolished. After families had been forced out the council abandoned the regeneration and sold the houses off to a big landlord. They had holes in the roof, black mould, and major damp issues. I wrote to every politician I could because I thought it was not right that people had to live in those conditions. I was 15 at the time!"

Who was your political inspiration?

"I was always inspired by Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy, but I would have to say that John Leech and his record in our area is unmatched. I think he showed what a good local MP can do. But my biggest political inspirations, although not politicians, were my parents. I lost both of my parents in the last couple of years. My mum had dementia and my dad had heart disease. Looking back I am so grateful for everything they did for me. There was never much money and they struggled to make mortgage payments, but they had a profound impact and I know it makes me a better person."

What brought you to Manchester?

"Like thousands of people, I came over to Manchester to work. That was over 10 years ago now. Manchester is such an incredibly diverse city in so many different ways. I got involved in my community straight away working with John Leech who was the MP at the time. I knew as soon as I got to South Manchester that it would be my home."

You are already elected in South Manchester, what do you like about being a Councillor?

"It is such an enormous privilege being a local Councillor. I am so grateful that I can help people and get things done in my community. I live in Didsbury and I feel that it is only right that I give back to an area that I call home. I take the job very seriously and make sure I set a very high bar. I think politicians are rightfully criticised for only being interested at election time. I want to change that.

Don't get me wrong, it can be frustrating too. Getting the council to do things can seem to take a very long time. But I think being there for people, standing up for people and being a good advocate for people when they need you is the most important part of the job."

Why are you standing in the General Election and what will a vote for you mean?

"I am standing to give people the opportunity to vote for an MP that will put the people of South Manchester first. We are all waiting for an opportunity to get rid of this horrendous Conservative Government, but here in Manchester Withington they just won't win. Only the Liberal Democrats have beaten Labour in this area. 

I am proud to be standing on issues that are so important to our community. I have seen first-hand, how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting our city. The Liberal Democrats were the first party to raise the issue of sewage dumping in the river Mersey. It simply has to stop and the water companies need holding to account. We need to desperately fix our public services like our NHS. We need to seriously prioritise the climate emergency with meaningful actions, not well-meant words. And we need to save our local independent businesses that have been hit by price increases, COVID, Brexit and tax increases."

Finally, are you a blue or a red?

"I love football. I have a season ticket. But I am a Middlesbrough FC fan. So technically a red, but not the Manchester kind. Up the Boro!"

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