A search and rescue volunteer with a mission to “rock the political boat” has been selected by Mebyon Kernow to contest the St Ives constituency at the next general election.
Rob Simmons, who lives in Penzance with his wife Kristin and their two daughters, has pledged to “take the fight for a better deal for Cornwall to the corridors of power” when campaigning begins in earnest next year.
Accepting his party’s selection, he said: “The Coalition parties, which have traditionally been the strongest political parties in Cornwall, are at a low ebb. This follows a succession of unpopular government policies, from austerity and the pasty tax to Devonwall.
“This is a great opportunity for Mebyon Kernow to get our policies on the agenda and take the fight for a better deal for Cornwall to the corridors of power. I relish the challenge of this election campaign and I look forward to rocking the boat and giving the establishment parties a good run for their money.”
Born and raised in West Cornwall, Mr Simmons attended university in Aberystwyth where he gained a degree in International Politics. He was elected to Penzance Town Council in May 2013 and is currently vice-chairman of the authority’s general purposes committee. A member of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall – for three years, he quickly rose to the position of social media officer and also sits on MK’s ruling national executive.
An active blogger, writing on a range of subjects affecting Cornwall, he is also a volunteer with Cornwall Search and Rescue Team.
“Cornwall is a great place and in the St Ives constituency, in particular, we have some of the most remarkable landscapes in the world,” he said. “We have a great tradition of innovation and industry and we have hard-working fisherman and farmers who daily fight the elements to bring some of the finest and freshest produce to market.
“We have a great deal to be proud of and a great history to draw inspiration from. But despite all of this, the current set-up does not work for us.
“There is an affordable housing crisis, compounded by the rise in second homes and the problems of a low wage economy. Yet politicians in Westminster are utterly complacent on such issues.
“We need a political system that works for us, we need a Cornish Assembly so we can make the decisions to help ourselves, and we need to develop new ways of providing affordable housing and to force politicians to help those people struggling to put a roof over their heads.
“The Cornish economy also needs support. We need to protect existing businesses and find ways to encourage new enterprise. Elsewhere in the UK, we see large infrastructure projects creating jobs. And yet, work on the railway line serving Cornwall was only prioritised when part of the track-bed was destroyed by violent storms.
“Cornwall needs investment to create the decent jobs that people of my generation are crying out for.”