Name: Julian Knight
Political Party: Conservative
In 50 words why should the people of Solihull vote for you?
At this election we have a simple choice: do we want Theresa May to negotiate for our country in Brussels, or Jeremy Corbyn? As an exporting town with a global reach, Solihull needs a champion who’ll be able to speak up for it at the heart of Government.
In 50 words what do you believe is the key issue in the borough you will fight for?
Residents are constantly raising concerns with me about our local broadband connection. This is a 21st-Century essential, especially for local employers and exporters. BT already have the funds to modernise Britain’s internet infrastructure – I’ll fight to put Solihull at the front of the queue.
How would you do that and how would you find the money?
My very last meeting before Parliament dissolved was with representatives from BT, where I put residents’ concerns to them directly and set out why it was so important for our local economy to have an up-do-date connection. If re-elected they won’t hear the end of me.
Brexit negotiations are a key issue for many voters – in 100 words, give us your views on it:
Our exit from the European Union is the biggest issue faced by any British Government since the Suez Crisis. As a democrat I believe that Westminster has a duty to deliver the Brexit voters expect, which means taking back control of our laws, money, and borders.
A strong UK-EU trading relationship is in everyone’s interests, and we must ensure that our exporting businesses have the best possible ongoing access to the European market. But we should also make sure they have the support they need to seize the opportunity Brexit offers to build new trading relationships with the wider world.
What are your views on the state of the healthcare in the borough and what would you do to change it if you believe it needs changing?
In my first two years in Parliament my priority has been making sure that Heart of England NHS Trust delivered the new Urgent Care Centre and continued to serve residents’ needs during their takeover by University Hospitals Birmingham trust.
As a Dementia Friend I’m acutely aware that mental health provision in Solihull is not currently meeting the needs of the community. But capacity is improving, and if I’m re-elected as your MP my top priority is going to be making sure that mental illness is taken just as seriously as physical sickness by our NHS.
What is your favourite hobby/interest?
I’m a keen cyclist.
What would be your ideal way to spend a day?
Cycling in the Warwickshire countryside with my wife, stopping for a pub lunch on the way.
Favourite holiday destination?
Camping in the south of France.
Favourite memory in life?
Getting married to my wife, Philippa, at a lovely church ceremony in 2014.
The Shawshank Redemption.
Favourite television show?
Line of Duty.
Schindler’s Ark – although I think they’ve started renaming the book after the film now!
What is your greatest strength or weakness?
I think my strength lies in my ability to compromise, and understand that you don’t get the most done in politics by trying to have everything your way all the time.
As for a weakness, I confess that as a former financial journalist I do sometimes need a deadline to produce my best work!
Top five dinner guests – alive or dead – and not including the leader of your political party!?
Winston Churchill, Derek Radnall, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Palin, and Malala Yousafzai.
Who is the person/s you mist admire in life – not including the leader of your political party!?
My mother. She raised me as a single parent and worked two jobs to give me the best possible start in life. She’s an inspiration.
What is the most embarrassing moment in your life?
When I was interviewing for a place at university I was asked the name of the author who wrote a particular book I was talking about. I drew a blank, glanced at the shelf… and then said the name of the publisher. I didn’t get in!
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who did things the right way, worked hard for his home town, and did his bit to build a better society.
For a million pounds would you join one of your rival political parties?
No, I don’t think Labour would let me keep much of it.
How about for ten million?
Send me the form – and the cheque – and let’s talk. No promises!
What was the last lie you told?
It was only a little time ago it was my Nan’s 90th I rang her in the morning and pretended that I was somewhere else busy campaigning just so I could surprise her at the birthday lunch in Chester.