What inspired you to get involved in politics?
A real desire to help people, as well as to promote the philosophy and policies of my party. I was attracted to the casework and championing side of being a councillor and portfolio holder, and then an MP, as much as following my particular interests in education.
As a disabled person did you experience particular barriers or challenges and if so, how did you overcome them?
The first thing to say is that my disability developed after I was selected to fight a top target seat for my party. I hid my disability as much as possible, because I felt it would be used against me by difficult opponents in a hotly contested seat. This meant that I did too much.
If I was doing it again, I would find someone to be my disability mentor, and help me respond to the specific challenges I face.
Who or what was most helpful to you in overcoming these challenges?
My campaign manager was there for me 100%. This included advice and support, but more importantly, re-scheduling what I was doing when my mobility was limited.
What top tips would you give to other disabled people thinking of standing in elections?
Find an adviser who really understands both your disability and the electoral process. You are likely to have to overcome subtle as well as obvious challenges: identify them up front, and tackle them! My campaign manager was there for me 100%. This including advice and support, but more importantly, rescheduling what I was doing when my mobility was limited.