Independent MP candidate for Mid Beds says he's playing it low key as other candidates fight a by-election that "hasn't even started"

“I will be a present MP who cares absolutely deeply about what people need me to do”
Central Beds Council's Independent Flitwick councillor Gareth Mackey will be standing in the next general election. Image supplied by G. MackeyCentral Beds Council's Independent Flitwick councillor Gareth Mackey will be standing in the next general election. Image supplied by G. Mackey
Central Beds Council's Independent Flitwick councillor Gareth Mackey will be standing in the next general election. Image supplied by G. Mackey

The Independent candidate hoping to be Mid Bedfordshire’s next MP said people have more important things to worry about than an election that hasn’t been called yet.

Gareth Mackey announced last year that he would be standing as an Independent candidate in the next general election.

Since then, the current MP, Nadine Dorries announced in June that she is resigning with “immediate effect”, causing a by-election frenzy amongst the three major parties.

However, at the moment Mackey is playing it low key.

“I’m trying to be respectful of the people of Mid Bedfordshire,” he said. “They are being inundated, snowed in, however you want to describe it, by candidates fighting a by-election that really hasn’t even started yet. So, I haven’t formally started knocking doors or anything like that yet.

“I’m just talking to people and trying to make sure that I am doing the day job that I was elected to do, and also my other full-time job.

“I think it’s going to be a long, long, process and I’m trying to save a few rainforests by not putting millions of leaflets through people’s doors,” he said.

It has been said by one candidate that a Flitwick councillor wouldn’t know about the issues across Mid Beds.

“That’s absolutely wrong, I’ve been elected for 12 years, and I had plenty of time to go out when I was mayor and visit other areas,” he said.

“When there were issues with van break-ins in Flitwick I was getting phone calls from as far away as Woburn, Toddington, all over the area because they could see that I was a councillor getting things done.

“When we had Covid, the community support organisation that I set up with other councillors and organisations was helping people in Ampthill, the villages up to Houghton Conquest, all over that place.

“When we are talking about support grants, I was helping businesses in Barton, Biggleswade, all over Bedfordshire, almost. So I’m not just tied to Mid Beds and not just tied to Flitwick.

“I’ve lived here a long time and I know what’s going on everywhere, so it is absolutely ludicrous to suggest that I only know Flitwick,” he said.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked what an Independent MP would offer Mid Bedfordshire residents that a party member couldn’t.

“For a start, I’m not looking for a political stepping stone,” Mackey said. “At the end of the day I’m here to represent my residents, I’m not going to be in government, I don’t want to be in government.

“I can’t be in government as an independent unless something goes dreadfully wrong at the next election and there’s probably the weirdest coalition you could ever imagine.

“But I’d be here to look after the people’s day-to-day cares,” he said.

If Mackey was elected, what would the constituents notice?

“Well, they are going to see me here for a start. We haven’t seen our incumbent MP for our long long time,” he replied.

“I will be a present MP who cares absolutely deeply about what people need me to do, and about their problems and priorities,” he said.