Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Election Special: Interview with Portsmouth South Conservative Candidate Flick Drummond

by Mark Docherty and Tom Matthews

On Tuesday 9th May, the school upped the ante on its general election build up by inviting the
Conservative candidate for Portsmouth South, Flick Drummond, in to give a talk at lunch time.
Among the audience were many interested pupils from various years, as well as a significant
number of year thirteens who will be first time voters on 8th June. After the talk, Flick agreed to
speak to Mark Docherty and Thomas Matthews from year twelve for a short interview.
Flick has been the Conservative MP for Portsmouth South for the past two years and is known
for campaigning strongly for the remain side in the EU referendum. When asked about the
upcoming general election, Drummond expressed her concerns about the turnout in this
election. She said “apathy could be a real problem in this election so it is very important that
people don't see it as a foregone conclusion. We have seen something similar happen with the
EU referendum and the US Presidential election, so it is very important that voters don't take the
result for granted and get out and vote.”

Unsurprisingly, when asked whether it was important that remain voters accepted the result of
the EU referendum by voting for the Conservatives rather than the Lib Dems, she, said
“definitely. The Lib Dems have no voice in Parliament; they have very little influence so it is vital
to vote Conservative to ensure a strong government. The UK can't loiter between being in the
EU and out by holding numerous referendums so we need to press on and ensure the UK gets
as good a Brexit as possible rather than voting for the Lib Dems for a second EU referendum.”
Flick told us she was not in favour of lowering the voting age as she feels that there has to be
an age where people are considered responsible enough to vote and 18 seems reasonable
because it is the point when most people are finishing their education. However, there was a
more positive response when we asked Flick whether she agreed with Theresa May’s decision
to call a snap general election. She replied “I think she had to. The strong remain contingent in
Parliament would have made her life hell and tried to obstruct the Brexit process as much as
possible so she needed to get a secure mandate by calling a general election. And it's worth
noting that it would have worked the same if we had voted the other way and remained in the
EU: Nigel Farage said there would have been ‘blood on the floor’ if the UK had voted to stay in
the EU so both sides would have tried to obstruct the government if they had lost.”
Finally, on a more personal note, we asked Flick how her campaign to get free wifi for the
armed forces was going after she mentioned it to us when we visited her at the House of
Commons earlier this school year. She told us “it's going very well! I've taken it to the Prime
Minister and she was horrified when she found out about the current situation. I think the cause
will succeed soon, and this would prove to be a perfect example of how MPs can bring local
issues all the way to the Prime Minister.

With that, Flick had to leave to continue her campaign by meeting with, and delivering leaflets
to, constituents. However, there is far more in store for the school before it is time to vote in the
election, and we are set to welcome Gerald Vernon-Jackson of the Liberal Democrats and
Stephen Morgan of Labour to the school in the next couple of weeks. The visit of Flick
Drummond will have been very educational for any year thirteens who had not yet made up their
minds on who they will vote for, as will the visits of the Lib Dem and Labour candidates. A point
made during Flick’s talk, and emphasised afterwards by Mr Lemieux, was that there is no
substitute ahead of a general election for hearing a candidate speaking live rather than getting
information through a media site.

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