STAMPING out loan sharks who prey on vulnerable people and promoting entrepreneurs are two of the priorities of Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate.
As the battle heats up to become Havant’s new MP, Dr Graham Giles has joined the race in the red corner.
It comes as Conservative MP David Willetts is standing down. Dr Giles founded the Hampshire-based charity ‘Europe to Europe’, working to sustain long-term health and education projects for deprived neighbourhoods.
An international development adviser, his achievements include setting up the probation service in Romania.
Dr Giles believes his three decades of work experience can help Havant, where he says he wants to promote regeneration from the grassroots.
He told The News: ‘I am excited to be the candidate in Havant.
‘This is a neighbourhood that requires leadership at this time, whether in terms of entrepreneurship, social justice or the environment.
‘These are issues you are going to hear me say a lot.
‘We are not apathetic about these issues – we are passionate about them. This going to be a five-way election and I am going to be the candidate that comes up the middle and wins.’
Dr Giles, who lives in Lee-on-the-Solent, believes he can win, despite Havant traditionally being a Tory stronghold.
His rivals currently are Alan Mak for the Conservatives and John Perry for Ukip.
He said: ‘Labour does hold a strong position in Havant, but it’s getting that support on election day that is going to be the hard work.’
Dr Giles, a keen sailor, said he believes passionately in high-quality apprenticeships.
He was awarded the MBE in 2004 for services to disadvantaged children.
He added: ‘Local people are finding it very difficult to mobilise themselves and get involved in education and jobs because of long-standing problems, such as predators selling loans at 5,000 per cent and turning people into drug dealers and drug users.
‘I am not looking to be involved in Havant for the short-term – I am in this for the long-term.’