SO who exactly is Gordon Henderson MP?
We know he is our MP, but where did he come from? What work did he do before becoming an MP? What does he believe in? What are his likes and dislikes? We caught up with him in his Sittingbourne office and interviewed him on your behalf…
Q. Where were you born?
A. Brompton Military Hospital in Medway, which I suppose is why I am such a big Gillingham FC fan.
Q. And now you live on Sheppey?
A. Yes. I moved here thirty-four years ago and I love it. Although I wasn’t born on the Island I think I’ve been adopted as an honorary swampy!
Q. What do you say to those who accuse you of favouring the Island and ignoring Sittingbourne?
A. That is absolute rubbish! I am proud to be an Islander and I believe I have done a lot for Sheppey over the past thirty years, but I am MP also for Sittingbourne and the villages that surround it and I can assure you that I devote just as much of my time on the mainland as I do the Island.
Q. You have been an MP for the past nine years, what did you do before you were elected?
A. I did lots of things. I left school at 16
and went to work in the stockroom of my local Woolworth’s store in Chatham. I went on to become a senior manager, following which I was a restaurateur, a contracts officer at GEC Marconi Avionics, a director of the Unwins wine group and eventually operations manager for a company that produces gifts for the retail sector.
MPs are often accused of not ever having had a real job; I think I am an exception to that rule!
Q. So you look upon yourself as being a man of the people?
A. That is not for me to say, all I know is that I get increasingly frustrated with the way in which all the Tory MPs are portrayed as being posh toffs. That is simply not the case. I come from a working class background and became a Conservative because it is the party of opportunity. I can tell you that at least 50 of the current batch of Tory MPs came from a similar humble background to mine.
Q. Is there anything else that frustrates you about Parliament?
A. Yes. I hate the party dog fight that takes place in Westminster.
Many of my colleagues of all political parties are more interested in party political points scoring than in representing those who elected them.
I prefer to put people before party politics and principle before policy.
Q. What does it actually mean?
A. It means exactly what I say. I leave all the party political in-fighting and manoeuvring to other politicians. Instead, I prefer to set aside party politics and get on with representing to the best of my ability the people who live in Sittingbourne and Sheppey. As I say; people before politics!
Q. And what about the second part of the quote? About putting principle before policy?
A. Again I mean exactly what I say. There is a big difference between a political party’s principles, which are at the heart of its philosophy, and policies, which change depending on circumstance, expediency and whoever happens to be leader of a party at any given time.
I would never vote against the Conservative principles in which I believe, but I would vote against any Conservative policy that did not reflect my principles. That is why I have rebelled so often in the past!
Q So, what are these Conservative principles in which you believe?
A. One of them is to defend our Monarchy and the national institutions that have held us in such great stead for hundreds of years. But there are many more.
For instance to provide security against external aggression; uphold law and order; and ensure impartial justice, administered by Courts free from interference or pressure on the part of the executive.
To have sound finances and strict supervision of national income and expenditure.
To promote all measures to improve the health and social conditions of the people.
To support as a general rule free enterprise and initiative against State trading and nationalisation of industries.
To oppose the establishment of a Socialist State, controlling the means of production, distribution and exchange. Conservatives believe in a property-owning democracy, both independent and interdependent.
I suppose in essence Conservatism is about putting the rights of individuals before those of the State. It is about Freedom of Choice and Freedom of Speech.
Being a Tory is also about caring for those who are unable to help themselves; the very young, the very old, the weak, the disabled, the sick and the vulnerable.
Promoted by Jess McMahon on behalf of Gordon Henderson both at
Top Floor, Unit 10 Periwinkle Court, Church Street, Milton Regis, Sittingbourne, Kent, ME10 2JZ.