This will be Mr Jones’s fifth time in a row putting his record before the electorate. In 2010 he wrested the seat from the Liberal Democrats in a close-run contest securing one of the biggest swings from the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom.
The winning streak continued in the 2015 and 2017 elections, and in 2019 secured a majority of nearly 10,000 votes – almost ten times his 2010 majority.
At a meeting of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Conservative Association’s executive committee last night, Mr Jones spoke to party activists and took questions before a secret ballot.
So far only two other candidates have been named. The Liberal Democrats have selected Tom Gordon, a councillor in Wakefield who works for the Member of Parliament for Shropshire North, and the Green Party have selected local resident Paul Ko-Ferrigno.
Following the meeting he said:
It is a real privilege to represent the area where I have lived since the 1990s. I have never wanted to represent anywhere else and have never stood for any other Parliamentary seat. My approach has always been to speak up for our area first, to be active for the community in which I live and to be positive in my campaigns.
I’m really not interested in US-style attack politics where people drag one another down all the time. Where we have differences we should challenge one another respectfully and constructively. It saddens me that too often in local and national politics this doesn’t happen.
I will keep campaigning for the things people here tell me our area needs building on the successes of the past 13 years. We have more trains to and from London, more services to Leeds and York, the pacers have gone, we have a largely electric bus fleet, our public buildings are being de-carbonised, we have new leisure facilities being built, more electric vehicle charging points are on the way, there is sustained low unemployment and over 10,000 new trees have been planted in the constituency.
This is only a flavour of our progress locally. There is more to do and none of these things happen because of any one person. They happen because residents, community groups, councillors and the Member of Parliament work together to make them happen. Residents can be assured that my ongoing commitment to those community partnerships is genuine because this is my community too.
It is an honour to be given the chance to serve our community again.