Olympian James Cracknell tells the Gazette of his European election plans during Chipping Sodbury visit

Thornbury and Yate Conservative parliamentary candidate Luke Hall with MEP hopeful and Olympic rower James Cracknell in Chipping Sodbury

Thornbury and Yate Conservative parliamentary candidate Luke Hall with MEP hopeful and Olympic rower James Cracknell in Chipping Sodbury

First published in News by

DOUBLE Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell surprised shoppers in Chipping Sodbury while out canvassing for the European elections.

The rower, who won the coxless fours in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004, was in the town as part of his campaign to become Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar.

He met with local Tory councillors and supporters at the Conservative club at Tudor House, on Hatters Lane, before walking the length of the medieval High Street to talk to shoppers about their views on the upcoming European election.

James, who suffered a contrecoup brain injury when he was hit by a petrol tanker whilst on a cycling challenge in America in 2010, told the Gazette first and foremost he wanted to encourage people to vote.

“UKip have raised the profile of the European elections so I suppose for that we should be grateful,” he said. “But the first thing is to get people to vote. Turnout at the Europeans in normally under 30 per cent and now is the time change is needed.”

He added: “I am trying to keep the campaign simple, it is about getting the best situation for Britain. And a vote for UKip is wasted as they cannot do anything and Labour and the Liberal Democrats will side with Europe too much.

“I believe Europe is better off with Britain in but we need to make sure Britain is better off in Europe. We need to stick our hands up and renegotiate otherwise we may as well walk away, which is not something I believe in.”

The 42-year-old sportsman, who has trekked across the globe for charity, said he hoped his background would help him in the world of politics.

“I think it is going to be frustrating,” said James. “I am used to being in control and if you train well and race well you will do well. Whereas with politics there are so many things out of your control - Maria Miller for instance or if Cyril Smith was a Conservative – which makes it difficult.

“All I can do is get to May 22 and do the best I can.”

He said his notoriety did help get a foot in the door with voters.

“It gets me a question for free,” said the would-be Brussels politician who has family in the South West and said it was the only region he wanted to represent.

“But after that you only have two or three minutes and I don’t think the European election is the same as a General Election, it is about the party you stand for.

“The most important thing is to get across what the party stands for but I am trying to understand all the issues in all the different areas of the South West.

“Nothing is going to happen overnight. But I am in this for the long-term and it is not something I had to do but something I wanted to.”

The European Elections take place on Thursday, May 22. Visit www.southglos.gov.uk to find out how to register.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:49pm Wed 7 May 14

UKIP-TAY says...

UKIP has been raising concern over the EU for over 20 years, the people of Great Britain have been deceived into thinking the EU was a Common Market and in the best interests of the British people but now we know different. It was not long ago when the 3 main political parties would not dare mention the EU, let alone have a debate about it on national TV. UKIP is growing from strength to strength gaining membership from across the political spectrum and from people who have never bothered to vote before, they want to live in a democracy, with fair-play and where common sense is applied. There is little chance of any significant negotiation with the EU to reform it from with-in and don't forget there is neither a cast iron guarantee of an in-out referendum from any of the main parties, we've heard it all before! Another point to remember is Mr Clegg's Freudian slip during the TV debates when he said 'it's in the small print' he is right of course, and we should always bear that in mind. We must divorce ourselves from the EU and it's culture of cover up and deceiving the people so we can Govern ourselves in the best interests of us all. Let the people decide by holding an in-out referendum on the EU before the next General Election and have an honest and open debate with all parties involved, the British people deserve that at least. The tremors are being felt throughout the establishment as we move closer to a political earthquake on 22nd May when the choice will be yours! Please vote.
UKIP has been raising concern over the EU for over 20 years, the people of Great Britain have been deceived into thinking the EU was a Common Market and in the best interests of the British people but now we know different. It was not long ago when the 3 main political parties would not dare mention the EU, let alone have a debate about it on national TV. UKIP is growing from strength to strength gaining membership from across the political spectrum and from people who have never bothered to vote before, they want to live in a democracy, with fair-play and where common sense is applied. There is little chance of any significant negotiation with the EU to reform it from with-in and don't forget there is neither a cast iron guarantee of an in-out referendum from any of the main parties, we've heard it all before! Another point to remember is Mr Clegg's Freudian slip during the TV debates when he said 'it's in the small print' he is right of course, and we should always bear that in mind. We must divorce ourselves from the EU and it's culture of cover up and deceiving the people so we can Govern ourselves in the best interests of us all. Let the people decide by holding an in-out referendum on the EU before the next General Election and have an honest and open debate with all parties involved, the British people deserve that at least. The tremors are being felt throughout the establishment as we move closer to a political earthquake on 22nd May when the choice will be yours! Please vote. UKIP-TAY
  • Score: 1

10:43pm Thu 8 May 14

burtthebike says...

Not sure I'd want someone who lied about being sponsored by a cycle helmet manufacturer representing me, so sorry James, I don't care how many medals you've won, I'd prefer someone honest.
Not sure I'd want someone who lied about being sponsored by a cycle helmet manufacturer representing me, so sorry James, I don't care how many medals you've won, I'd prefer someone honest. burtthebike
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree