Local Conservatives yesterday (Tuesday) announced they will back Member of Parliament Stephen Phillips’ bid to run for a second term in Sleaford and North Hykeham’s seat at the General Election on May 7.
Sleaford and North Hykeham Conservative Association chairman George Clark said: “Stephen has proved particularly popular in the constituency since winning his seat in 2010 - in particular, local people value his quick and helpful response to their requests for help.
“Such a large rural constituency has its own particular issues and challenges so we’ve been pleased to see Stephen head up a group of Lincolnshire MPs to push the county in Westminster. It’s a testament to his hard work that we had no other candidates vying for the Conservative mandate.”
The constituency association says Mr Phillips receives about 100 emails and letters a day – 300 to 400 on Monday alone - and he aims to respond to all emails by the next working day and to letters on the day they come in.
Mr Phillips said: “My role representing local people is the most important part of my job and is my favourite part of being an MP. Requests for help cover a vast area including benefits, child support, tax, policy queries, consular support overseas, schools, business issues, animal welfare, foreign policy, defence... pretty much anything. Even if I can’t help (legal, planning, housing, neighbour disputes, etc, fall under local government), I will always try to point people in the right direction.”
He says he holds regular surgeries in Sleaford most Fridays where he meets constituents by appointment to see how he can help them as well as visiting as many organisations as possible - schools, businesses and charities.
In addition to his constituency work, Mr Phillips says he uses two decades of experience as a barrister, Queen’s Counsel and judge working in the UK and internationally for the nation’s benefit with his roles on the Public Accounts Committee and European Scrutiny Committee. And, an ex-soldier himself, Stephen produced a report, presented and published by the Secretary of State for Justice, into former service personnel in the criminal justice system to increase support for those incarcerated.
○ On Monday Mr Phillips was among members of the Public Accounts Committee, putting HSBC executives on the spot about whether they were aware of staff’s actiities regarding alleged tax evasion in the company’s Swiss private bank.
In particular Mr Phillips quizzed chief executive Stuart Gulliver on his personal financial arrangements forcing him to admit that they had damaged the bank’s reputation. He said: “Wouldn’t the sensible thing to do would be for the board to ask you to stand aside and place someone in your position who is above reproach?”
However, Mr Gulliver said that was for the board and regulators to decide but he would like the chance to finish what he had started in improving and reforming standards in money laundering controls and tax compliance at the bank over the last five years, insisting his personal financial and tax arrangements were in order.
Commenting after the hearing, Mr Phillips told The Standard: “I feel very strongly about tax evasion; I also think someone at HSBC needs to take responsibility for what went on in Switzerland.”