Bob – real name Robert – was educated at Harrow. His family has lived on the Isle of Wight for 6 generations and a number of his cousins are still here. He moved to the Island 9 years ago and currently lives in Mottistone.
Bob was an army reservist who was then given a full time role for 10 years. He has been on no less than 4 tours of Afghanistan and spent 8 months in Iraq combatting the insurgency in 2008-9.
He also spent 3 months in the campaign against ISIS, the so-called Islamic State.
Before becoming a full time soldier, Bob worked for the MTV music channel. He has an MA from Birbeck College, London, and has written a book on the Russo-Chechen conflict.
Politics can be hard and stressful, What do you do to relax?
“I relax by playing the guitar. It helps me to unwind. I took it up two years ago, when I bought a gold painted Fender from Willy’s Guitar Shop in Cowes. I try to write my own songs, but unfortunately I can’t sing. I also love going for walks, particularly on Brook beach and Mottistone Down. I’m a keen swimmer, and I once swam the Solent for the West Wight Sport Centre.
How did you get involved in politics?
“I first became a Conservative councillor six years ago in 2013 (Central Wight ward). I thought: ‘Why not get involved?’ I knocked on every door on my patch. In 2017, I was reelected with 75% of the vote. In 2017, I was selected as Conservative candidate for the Isle of Wight.”
Do you enjoy being Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight?
The job is an all consuming labour of love. However, it’s been wonderful to have been given this opportunity,
What have you achieved in your two years as MP?
“I’ve worked hard with the IW Council and local communities to deliver. I said I would get the Government to listen to us more, and I have achieved this. We’ve found an extra £48 million to invest in the Island NHS, £20 million to improve Ryde Pier and an extra £150,000 to improve Maths education. We have improved Island schools so that the number rated ‘good’ has now risen from 50 percent to 75 percent. We have convinced the Council to buy the Columbine Yard in East Cowes to preserve shipbuilding on the Island, thus saving 700 jobs and a further 700 in service industries, I’ve helped persuade PM Boris Jonson to say ‘yes’ to the Island deal. A lot has been done, but there is still more yet to be done.”
How has the 2019 General Election campaign gone so far?
“Campaigning has gone well with many traditional Labour voters, who simply can’t bring themselves to vote for a party led by Jeremy Corbyn. Ordinary people on the doorstep are asking: ‘Why hasn’t Brexit happened and when will it happen?’ Our message is clear: to get Brexit done. I’m the only candidate in a position to actually deliver Brexit.”
What would you say to the pro-Brexit independent, Daryll Pitcher, and his supporters, who claim Boris’ Withdrawal agreement is BRINO (Brexit in Name Only)?
“Absolute nonsense, Let’s get serious. If Boris’ deal is good enough for staunch Conservatives Brexiters such as Bill Cash and Dan Hannan (the so-called Spartans) then it’s good enough for me.
“Boris’ deal brings back control of our borders, gives us the ability to strike new trade deals with other countries and enables us to regain our democracy and sovereignty. It’s a good deal, and the people of this country know it.”
What is your reaction to the claims of the pro-fixed link independent, Carl Feeney, that you are doing all you can to block a fixed link as a solution to the Island’s infrastructure problems?
“We’d never get the 2 to 3 billion pounds required to build a fixed link from the Government. Realistically, a tunnel couldn’t be built for the next 10, 20 or 30 years. It’s a hypothetical question. There is no groundswell of support for it on the Island. We need policies and ideas that bring tangible results rather than blaming all problems on the lack of a fixed link.”
How do you respond to claims by Vix Lowthion and the Greens that insufficient is being done to combat the ‘climate emergency’?
“I would respond by saying that if you are interested in Green issues, then vote Conservative. From next March, the Isle of Wight Council will be the greenest Council in the UK. Compare this with the chaos and incompetence of the Green Council in Brighton. If you do not have the competence to deliver, then you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Furthermore, the UN believe there is no pathway towards going carbon free without nuclear power, yet the Greens in Europe want to outlaw nuclear before coal.”
What is your response to Labour claims of ‘damaging’ Tory austerity cutting public services?
“The Conservatives are getting the balance right between championing the importance of public services and the rights of taxpayers. Labour’s answer to everything is to demand more public
expenditure. But where will this money come from? It’s all proper doolally stuff. We have to respect folk’s money. If we want to expand public services then we have to ensure that we have a buoyant economy that can pay for the extra expenditure.”
How would you improve education outcomes for Island children?
“By allowing parents to make an informed choice. Labour and the Greens would abolish OFSTED, which most parents support. They would also abolish league tables, which enable parents to compare schools, and free schools.”
Finally, why should Island Echo readers vote for you on Thursday 12th December?
“Because I shall do the best I can to get the best for the Island. I can’t guarantee I will always succeed, but I shall always do my best. Do your readers want someone who waves a placard or someone who is in a position to actually deliver results?”
Will Islanders back Bob to help Boris deliver Brexit? The Island’s leading source of breaking news, Island Echo, will be reporting from the count on Thursday night and Friday morning to ensure readers will be the first to hear the all important result.