I’m ready for a fight says Labour candidate hopeful of Horncastle and Louth seat

Matthew Brown
Matthew Brown

In football terms, it’s the equivalent of Hull City winning the Premier League - or Louth Town and Horncastle Town playing Chelsea in the FA Cup.

Some would say councillor Matthew Brown faces an impossible task.

Strong favourite - Conservative Party candidate Victoria Atkins

Strong favourite - Conservative Party candidate Victoria Atkins

Not the man himself.

Coun Brown has been chosen as the Labour candidate to fight next year’s General Election in the Louth and Horncastle constituency.

It’s one of the safest Tory seats in the country.

Sir Peter Tapsell has held the seat for the Tories since England last won the World Cup.

Already, Mr Brown has banned the word ‘unwinnable’ among his campaign team.

He said: “I’m local. I know what is important to the people of Horncastle and Louth.

“Winning the seat is a massive challenge but one I’m ready for.

“In fact, give me a challenge and it’s like a red rag to a bull.

“I’ll take it on. I’m not here for the photo-shoots - or a quick pay-day.

“I’m here to win. If I didn’t think I could, I wouldn’t have bothered putting my name forward.”

Coun Brown knows all about winning battles.

Born and brought up in NE Lincolnshire, he spent three years of his early life in a wheelchair.

Asthma almost killed him three times.

He was in and out of hospital, fought back, went to University. The rest, as they say, is history - or very nearly.

Today, he’s a full-time carer for his parents who are disabled.

He doesn’t need reminding that one of the most important battlegrounds in the election will be the NHS.

Coun Brown also plans to focus on other local issues including housing, flooding and poor transport links.

He added: “For years, this constituency has been let down badly by a succession of Governments.

“It’s become isolated. As a result, there’s a brain drain to other areas. That is not good for the economy. We’ve got to look to reverse that.

“If I get elected, I will be pressing for better transport links.

“We also need more grants to support existing businesses - and attract new ones. That will lead to more jobs.”

On housing, Coun Brown is keen to see Louth and Horncastle retain what he termed their ‘unique character’.

He added; “I know how worried people about large scale developments.

“The trouble is every time the local council rejects a planning application, the developers appeal and the Secretary of State reserves the decision.

“What’s wrong with building on brown field sites?

“I want to see more power handed out at local level. Let people really have their say.”

Coun Brown won’t ight shy of controversy. He supports the European Union but would back a referendum on membership - contrary to Labour policy.

He said he respected Sir Peter’s longevity but queried what the veteran had really achieved for this area.

He also threw down the challenge to Sir Peter’s successor - Victoria Atkins, challenging her to a public debate.

And, if he does succeed in ousting the Tories, Coun Brown would realise a long-held dream.

He revealed. “I was 11 when I met Shona McIsaac, the then MP for Cleethorpes.

“She asked me what I wanted to do when I was older. I told her I wanted her job as an MP and that’s what I will be.”

Louth Town for the cup anyone?