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Would-be MP's anti-knife pledge

PUBLISHED: 11:48 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:02 25 August 2010

THE replacement MP candidate for disgraced MP Derek Conway has put knife crime and hospital services at the top of his agenda.

THE replacement MP candidate for disgraced MP Derek Conway has put knife crime and hospital services at the top of his agenda.

James Brokenshire, currently MP for Hornchurch, East London, has replaced Mr Conway as Conservative candidate for Old Bexley and Sidcup.

Conservative leader David Cameron ejected Mr Conway from the party in January after it emerged he paid his son Freddie almost £40,000 for unrecorded work whilst at university.

Cambridge educated Mr Brokenshire, 40, is the Shadow Home Affairs Minister and intends to move to Bexley with his wife, one-year-old son, and daughters aged three and five.

In the last year crimes of violence against the person in Sidcup rose by 23 per cent, which worries the prospective MP.

He said: "What brought it home for me was when I overheard my eldest daughter say to her sister 'you have to be careful when you grow up into a teenager because you might get stabbed'.

"You like to think that your children are still very innocent at that age and that really brought it home for me very quickly."

The former legal advisor and Conservative Party press officer also said he would fight to keep A&E services at Queen Mary's Hospital "tooth and nail".

He said: "My immediate priority is the threat to services at Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup.

"The clear message from the 'Picture of Health' consultation was that local people do not want to see Queen Mary's cut back to some glorified polyclinic."

Mr Brokenshire successfully fought a health campaign to stop bed numbers being cut at St George's Hospital, Hornchurch.

Derek Conway, the current Old Bexley and Sidcup MP, is resigning from office after holding the seat since 2001.

The 55-year-old described his replacement as "a sharp lad who knows how to embarrass the government," however Mr Conway said he is unsure what job he will take next.

He added: "I'm not sure. There is one job I have considered - I might apply for group editor of the Kentish Times."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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