Plymouth born and bred 42 year old Rebecca Smith is hoping to be elected as the new Conservative MP for South West Devon. I met her at The Watermark in Ivybridge and she told me this was her first interview since being selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC).
Rebecca is single, a commited Christian, a Formula 1 superfan and is serving her second term as a councillor for the Plymstock Radford ward on Plymouth City Council.
This is Rebecca’s second attempt at becoming an MP, she lost out to Labour’s Luke Pollard in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport in 2019.
She told me: ‘‘I’m the eldest of four children. My parents set up a company which rode the recessions of the 80’s and 90’s and which is now being run by my brothers.
‘‘The government helped us with Family Credit so I can understand what people are going through with the cost-of-living crisis.
‘‘The family was solid but we didn’t have much spare money and I know what its like not to be able to go on foreign holidays or take part in certain clubs and activities.
‘‘I think my parents gave me the values of working hard, self-reliance, raising a family and personal responsibility which are also Conservative core values.
Rebecca went to Plymouth High School for Girls and had a part-time job working for the library service.
At 18 she did a week’s work experience with Sir Gary Streeter (the current MP).
After school she did a degree in modern history and politics at Southampton University. She then did an internship at the European Parliament in Brussels for around a year.
On Brexit she said: ‘‘I did actually vote remain but later supported Boris’s campaign to get Brexit done.
‘‘I now think it’s not worth the huge upheaval of rejoining and we wouldn’t get the sort of deal we had.
‘‘We would almost certainly have to join the Euro and wouldn’t get the opt-outs.’’
Rebecca’s potential constituency includes parts of the South Hams, parts of Plymouth and, with the boundary changes, well into Dartmooor as far as Horrabridge, Meavy and Walkampton. She says if elected: ‘‘I will get to speak up in Westminster on a range of issues on behalf of businesses and constituents including the farming community and the maritime world.’’
Rebecca may have to wait until January 2025 to find out if she’s successful, but it may be much sooner...