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Dursley GP on why he wants to stand as Stroud’s next Labour Party parliamentary contender

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A GP from Dursley is on the shortlist for Labour’s next parliamentary candidate in the Stroud constituency. 

Dr Simon Opher is one of two candidates on the final shortlist, with the other being former MEP Clare Moody. 

Statement from Simon Opher

“I am a strong believer in democracy and that means giving local members the power to decide who represents them. This is why I put myself forward for the nomination – to give people a choice.

“As a Stroud resident of 27 years and as a local GP, I am rooted in the constituency and have a depth of local knowledge and understanding of the issues that face constituents. I understand the local shades and nuances of opinion that make our area what it is. We need a PPC who can listen to and represent our communities in a way that an occasional visitor could never hope to do. Against Siobhan Baillie, who still does not begin to appreciate the diversity of the Stroud area (which we know and love because it is simply in our bones), this local knowledge is essential.

“My passion is the NHS. In Dursley, under my leadership, we led the way nationally on covid vaccinations.

I know the NHS intimately – it’s faults and failures, as well as it’s strengths and triumphs. I am a hands on GP who has worked on the frontline. I also – obviously – know the care system almost as well. Both are in crisis, but I have the experience, understanding and vision to make a difference locally and more widely in Parliament.

“I have never sought payment from a private healthcare company for my expertise and opinions.

“The crisis in our NHS and care systems are caused by social inequality. Poor housing, food poverty, lack of self esteem and low income are, overwhelmingly, what make people sick. Without effectively addressing the causes of structural inequality we cannot begin to address the breakdown in our services – and our society.

“As a GP I see people at their lowest – and at their best. I know that I can successfully bring people together with a shared vision of what we can do to improve the lives of people in Stroud. Ours is a fantastic community, but we are poorly served by our current MP. I can turn that around.

“I believe that members need to have the broadest choice of candidates to represent them, and confidence in the selection process, and I was surprised and disappointed that Doina, as leader of the District Council, has been left off the list for selection to be our PPC.

“She has led the council through a period of unprecedented challenges, and done so in an inclusive way, working across parties and opinions to build consensus. Under her leadership Stroud District Council was recently described by the Local Government Association as being good, and well on the way to being a great council. She is self-evidently very well equipped to represent the constituency in Parliament. I would rather be in a selection process that included her and call for her reinstatement on the long list.

“However, we are where we are. I look forward to engaging with everyone across the constituency and making a real difference.”

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