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Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater

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I was born in Scotland on February 23rd 1959. My parents sent me to Millfield School in Somerset to knock some sense in! From there it was straight to work - first in farming (I eventually ran a 250-acre arable farm), then in building and property. I joined the Territorial Army, rising to the rank of Major and became a consultant to Army Land Command HQ in Salisbury and to the MOD in London. I'm still on the reserve list. The taste for politics began when I tried (and failed) to win a seat in the European Parliament in the North East of England. My chances of winning were slight, but I quickly realised that meeting people and trying to find answers to their problems was my real vocation. I first ran for the Westminster Parliament in Torridge and West Devon (and losing is good for the soul). The Conservative party picked me as their candidate for Bridgwater within just a few months of the 2001 general election. I was treading warily in the footsteps of Tom King (now Lord King) who represented Bridgwater for 31 years and served in Government - latterly as Secretary of State for Defence. A hard act to follow.

None of this could I have ever achieved without the help of my wife Jill and our three children - Peter, Sophie and May. None of us could have survived without the help of that invaluable gift - a sense of humour.

I know the area pretty well by now. I love it and I live in it (a few miles outside Williton, actually) These days you'll catch me at Westminster during the week ....( I'm just a backbencher but I am also a member of two important Select Committees: the Public Administration Committee (which investigates the way government and public bodies operate) and the Special Select Committee set up to investigate the huge London Crossrail Project. Why me ? Because I am not from London and therefore do not have any vested interest.

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