We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

The Pressures of being a Parliamentary Candidate

July 15, 2014 2:00 PM
By Phil Ling @pkfling in Lib Dem Voice http://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-the-pressures-of-being-a-parliamentary-candidate-41560.html

Philip LingIt is with a sad, and heavy, heart that yesterday I heard of Sarah Yong's decision to stand down as PPC for Somerton and Frome for personal reasons. What is even sadder is that people are demanding to know the personal reasons, either because the privacy of an individual is less important than what this means to the party or to show it's not because of the party prospects. If an employee (even CEO) of an organisation stepped down for personal reasons it is normally respected and the organisation moves on.

As a parliamentary candidate in 2010, the pressures of running, even for a non-target seat, were huge. It impacts everything. Relationships, work, energy levels, what you do and how things are perceived. No one goes into these things lightly and they are normally aware of the pressures, but the reality is very different. For me:

  • Being a candidate in a constituency that was 100 miles from where I was living full time and working contributed to my marriage failing.
  • You ask (even demand) a lot of family, friends, even volunteers - their time, their patience, their money and their support.
  • Focusing on work was difficult, but I needed an income and knew I was not getting elected, so couldn't just give up work. I have known many candidates come out with heavy debts as a result of being full time candidates.
  • Social events were sacrificed due to campaigning or media commitments. At one social event that I was able to attend (a football match for a stag do) I was so tired, I fell asleep.

There are countless other things which impact being a PPC, and I don't know the reason for Sarah standing down, but she won't have taken the decision lightly. All I know is that HQ have been in touch. They, and groups like the Chinese Lib Dems, have offered as much support as possible. The political ramifications are obvious, but we should respect the privacy of Sarah like we would with any employee of an organisation.