Battersea’s Conservative candidate: ‘Miracle baby brought me into politics’

By Alex Jennings
December 7 2019, 11.29

Kim Caddy had never considered running for office. Then she went into labour.

The Conservative candidate for Battersea, 41, worked for an engineering firm before her daughter Anya was born at 27 weeks and spent three months recovering in hospital in 2008.

Ms Caddy confirmed the experience changed her perspective on life and set her on her political journey.

She said: “I presumed I would just go back to work after I had kids. It just totally shifted my outlook and changed my priorities.

“I got much more involved in the local community, set up a mother-baby group, became a governor at a local school and got to know some councillors from Wandsworth Council.

They talked to me about what they did and it sounded really inspiring and something I was very keen to get involved in. That’s how I got into politics.”

Ms Caddy herself was hospitalised for seven weeks before giving birth to Anya, who weighed approximately two pounds.

She claims it both furthered her appreciation of the NHS, and highlighted its weaknesses.

She said: “The NHS was absolutely incredible. I literally spent day after day in a NHS hospital and saw the amazing job that they do.

“They saved my daughter’s life and were incredible.

“But I also saw that there are problems with the NHS. When you spend every day somewhere you can see the issues and problems there. Being able to protect it and improve it is definitely one of my motivations.”

The Conservatives have pledged to increase the NHS budget by £33.9billion by 2023-24 and build 40 new hospitals across the country.

Labour argue the Tories have presided over severe NHS staff shortages and longer waiting lists since coming to power in 2010.

Battersea is considered a marginal election between the two major parties.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People Marsha de Cordova ousted the sitting Conservative MP Jane Ellison two years ago.

YouGov’s MRP poll recently projected another Labour win with a significantly increased share of the vote for the Liberal Democrats, who picked up eight per cent in 2017.

Ms de Cordova has a 2,416 majority but Ms Caddy is confident the deficit can be overturned next week.

“I think we’ve got a really good chance of winning it,” she said.

“It’s going to be incredibly close between us and Labour but we’ve had positive reactions on the doorstep and I think we’ve got a really strong local message.

“I believe I’ve got a good track record as a local councillor in Wandsworth as cabinet member for housing and a positive plan for what we want to do in Battersea.

“I think it’s just a matter now of reinforcing our positive message about the good things we can get done here in Battersea, talking to our voters and making sure they come out and support us.”

When asked what differentiates her from her opponent, Ms Caddy was critical of Labour’s wider policy proposals.

She said: “My view is that Labour’s economic plans would just be a disaster for this country and for Battersea.

“A Corbyn-led government or coalition would cost people money and discourage businesses from investing, growing and making their home here. I think that’s something that will damage Battersea.

“Labour’s plans will not offer a strong economy that gives people the opportunity to achieve their aspirations and have great jobs, good homes and a fantastic education underpinned by strong public services and a strong economy able to invest in them.”

Ms de Cordova has pledged to make life fairer for all Battersea residents.

She said: “My message to Battersea is let’s build a society that works for everyone.

“After a decade of austerity, the upcoming General Election really does matter.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to bring about real change.

“It’s only a Labour government that will actually rebuild our country, our society, for the many and not the few.”

Read more about what’s important to south west London constituencies in our 24-page General Election preview special.

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