Arundel & South Downs Liberal Democrats have selected a local candidate, described by colleagues as a 'rising star' of the party, as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the next general election.
Many Arun lib dem members won't realise that whilst their local party is Arun (to be consistent with the District Council boundaries) the Westminster constituencies cross the local party boundaries.
Arundel and South Downs parliamentary seat is made up of members in Arun (mainly Arundel), but also parts of Chichester, Mid Sussex and Horsham & Crawley local lib dem parties.
Party members gave their overwhelming backing to Alison Bennett when they met at a hustings event in West Chiltington recently.
Alison, who has lived in the constituency since 2012, has been active in the local community since moving to Sussex, and has volunteered at the local children's football club, her local school, and the West Sussex County Council's Children & Family Service. She campaigned passionately for Remain in Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint and was integral to recent Lib Dem electoral success in both County and District elections.
Alison said that it had never been in her long-term plan to enter politics, but that changes in the world around her had compelled her to get involved. "The EU Referendum and the election of Donald Trump have seen grievance and fear drive people apart. When the world seems to be turning in the wrong direction, you have a choice to look away, or do what you can to make a difference where you live. This is what drives me."
On the electoral challenges that lie ahead she explained that: "On the doorstep, voters tell me that they no longer want to vote for the Conservative Party but that they are fearful of what a Corbyn Government would mean. Right now, we need to be the people to fill that gap. This is a huge opportunity but also a responsibility."
At a recent hustings, Alison raised great applause with a passionate rallying call: "Let's grow this campaign from the ground up. Let's work hard. Let's work together. And know that we created a Liberal movement for Arundel & South Downs that we can all be proud of."
Arundel and South Downs Constituency chairman David Perry said: "The feeling within the party is that Alison is a real "rising star' in the Lib Dems, and Arundel and South Downs is delighted to have her."
Away from politics and community activism Alison has been busy raising her young family after spending 10 years working for blue-chip companies in communications and insight. Originally from Gloucestershire, Alison graduated from Cambridge University and lived in Nottingham and Guildford before settling in Sussex.
The current Arundel & South Downs MP is the Conservative, former Remainer, Nick Herbert. The next general election has to take place by 2022 but could be called at any time due to the current instability within the Conservative party.