tom gordon harrogate and knaresborough general election
Tom Gordon, Liberal Democrat PPC for Harrogate & Knaresborough at a recent hustings

5 questions to the Liberal Democrat election candidate for Harrogate & Knaresborough

30 June 2024

Tom Gordon is standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough in the General Election.

The county goes to the polls on 4 July 2024.

What has driven you to want to stand for the Libdem Party for Harrogate & Knaresborough ?

I am originally from Knottingley, 30 minutes down the A1M, and Harrogate & Knaresborough is a place I’ve visited and loved since I was a child – whether it was going round Knaresborough market with my Gran or the annual trip to the Great Yorkshire Show with school.

Like so many people here, I’ve chosen to make this place my home. From badminton on Monday, to Parkrun on Saturday and to the charity pub quiz on Sunday, I’ve embedded myself in so many aspects of our community life. I’m extremely proud of our towns and villages – each unique and vibrant in a truly special way. But our communities are struggling. Our health services are underfunded, our rivers polluted and our high streets are not what they once were.

The sad reality is that the Conservatives have let us down every step of the way. Boris Johnson partied in the pandemic while I was a covid vaccinator. Liz Truss crashed the economy, sending mortgages and bills spiralling. Rishi Sunak angered veterans after leaving D Day commemorations early. For the best part of two years, I’ve been out speaking with residents on their doorsteps about what matters to them and attending business and community meetings.

I’m only involved in politics because of my experience in life. My background is in public health, currently work in a policy role for a health charity. When I was at university, I was a carer for my mum who had cancer. I’ve used my background to be a champion for our NHS, fighting for funding to fix our hospital and campaigning for local NHS dentistry.

We’ve had an excellent Lib Dem MP here before in Phil Willis. To follow in his footsteps would be an honour. He’s backing me because he knows that I’ll be our community’s voice in Westminster, not Westminster’s voice in our community. As the only person to beat the Conservatives here, he knows that only I, as the Lib Dem candidate, can beat them once again.

Many view the last election as a second Brexit vote, how would you, if it is possible to, define this election ?

This election is a ‘change’ election. People are giving their verdict on the last 14 years of Conservative Government and if the polls are to be believed it looks like the country will indeed be getting change.

Locally in Harrogate & Knaresborough it looks set to be a neck and neck contest between myself and my Conservative opponent.

Do you think you will win, and if so what will people be voting for party or personality, what would get you over the line?

We’re not taking anything for granted. A majority of the polling has just a few percentage points in it and we are trying to overturn a Conservative majority of over 9k votes.

We are cautiously optimistic, we have been working really hard over the last 18 months and doing everything we can to win. We are winning over life long Conservative voters, and also people who are tactically voting for us to get rid of the Conservatives.

I’ve personally spoken to thousands of people over the last 18 months. People know me from playing badminton locally, from the weekly pub quiz, from Park Run, and also from the campaigns I’ve run – including leading the campaign to get funding to repair the crumbling concrete at the local district hospital.



What do you see as the biggest local issue ?

It’s local health services that keep coming up on the doorstep time and time again. Whether it’s pressures on A&E, lengthy waiting lists, or issues trying to access NHS dentistry, our NHS is really struggling.

We’re fortunate to have a great local hospital, but we should never have had to campaign and bid to get funding to fix crumbling concrete. I’ve been leading the campaign to get the funding, running our petition, and got Ed Davey MP to raise the issue at PMQ’s and health spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP to raise it with the Secretary of State for Health.

On dentistry I ran my dental survey last summer and highlighted that at that time the incumbent Conservative MP had not mentioned the issue once in the House of Commons. We know it’s become almost impossible to access an NHS dentist and we’ve heard horror stories of people resorting to DIY dentistry or turning to A&E in pain.

With my background as a scientist, experience working as a health services researcher, and my current role working as a policy advisor for a national health charity, I am well suited and placed to be able to get the health services that our communities deserve.

What do you see as the biggest national issue ?

It has to be the economy. Across our country people are struggling with the cost of living, and our local communities are feeling the pinch too. I’ve spoken with people who have had to choose between heating and eating, and this is a disgrace when we are meant to be one of the richest countries in the world.

Meanwhile oil & gas giants have been raking in record profits and the richest saw their wealth grow through the pandemic. Something has gone wrong – most people have seen their wages stagnate whilst living costs and mortgages have spiralled, in part thanks to the disastrous mini-budget by Liz Truss.

The Lib Dems have said that we won’t increase taxes on working people and we will instead focus on reversing the Conservatives’ tax cuts for big banks and imposing a proper, one-off windfall tax on the super-profits of oil and gas producers and traders.


Candidates standing:

Andrew Jones – Conservative Party
Conrad Whitcroft – Labour
Tom Gordon – Libdem
John SwalesReform UK
Shan Oakes – Green Party
Paul Haslam – Independent
Stephen Metcalf – no description of candidate given on nomination




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