Shepherd hopes to round up flock of voters for Labour at general election

A SOMERSET shepherd is hoping to round up a flock of voters on July 4 having been selected to stand for the Labour Party.

Former RAF Squadron Leader Joe Joseph will hope to be the MP for the new Wells and Mendip Hills constituency after the general election.

Hailing from Glastonbury, Joe tends a flock of rare breed Portland sheep, as well as teaching countryside and environmental management.

He is also a councillor in St Cuthbert Out, near Wells, and said his background represents a “fresh and sensible alternative” for the area.

“As a Labour and Co-operative candidate, I may not be the obvious challenger here, but we are certainly offering a fresh and sensible alternative,” he said.

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“I stand for sovereignty over our food and farming, fair trade, and a right to healthy affordable food. I will safeguard standards in public life, restoring honesty and integrity. I want to achieve a co-operative green economy, in which wealth and power are shared fairly.

“Let’s build on the pride we have in our communities, end rural poverty, and get the countryside working again.”

As the general election campaign gets into full swing, Joe said he is pursuing a “different” style of campaigning.

“It’s very much ‘boots on the ground’,” he added. “Getting out and about on the Mendip hills, at the coast, and on the moors. Meeting people where they are. Listening rather than leafleting. Less graphs and more graft. Shorter speeches and longer conversations. Replacing political sniping with problem solving.”

The new constituency replaces the former Wells seat, held by Conservative James Heappey. Mr Heappey is standing down at this election, with the Conservatives yet to select a replacement.

Former Wells MP Tessa Munt is hoping to secure the seat for the Lib Dems, while Helen Hims is standing for Reform UK, with Peter Welsh standing for the Green Party and Abi McGuire standing as an independent.

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