Name: Graham Cockarill

Age: 43

Education: Degree from University of Essex in history and politics. I have A Levels from sixth form and school in Yateley.

Profession before running for MP: I’m an insurance broker, I’ve been doing that a little bit on and off, but for nearly 20 years. I’ve stood for MP in North East Hampshire in 2015 and 2017 and this will be my third general election.

Family life: There’s not much to say really, I’m single, don’t have any kids. The rest of my family is locally-based as well. I’ve lived in Yateley all my life, bar the years at University in Essex.

What car do you drive? I’ve got a Renault Laguna. I’ve had it a few years now, it’s done my alright, it’s a good little car.

Where did you last go on holiday? I don’t really do holidays. A couple of years ago, I went up to the Lake District with a friend to do some walking.

What was the last thing you ate? Just had a cup of tea and a pasty.

Have you ever taken illegal drugs? No.

When was the last time you cried? I don’t cry easily, it would have been a few years ago, thinking about it. We had some issues in the family.

What is your favourite book of all time? That’s quite difficult, there are a number that spring to mind, it’s one of those that depends what mood I’m in and what I’m thinking about. I probably don’t have an absolute favourite, but one of the ones I’ve read several times Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth. It’s one of the ones I do tend to go back to. It’s just good, the films were very good as well to be fair. I generally, certainly when it comes to fiction, I tend to read spy thrillers and political thrillers and things like that. Anything of that nature is what I would read. I’m kind of a bookworm, I tend to acquire books for Christmas and birthday presents. I don’t read as much as I would like to, partly because I just don't get as much time these days.

What are you ties to the area you hope to represent? The main one obviously is living here. I’ve been living in the area for all of my life. I’m a councillor in Yateley for the District and Town council so I’ve got those connections and I’ve still got family and friends here. It’s a very personal connection really.

What’s your favourite restaurant in North East Hampshire? There’s a couple I go to, we do a cycle really. There’s El Castello in Odiham, the Italian restaurant, opposite the Red Lion which is also very good. I like my Italian food.

Where do you do your food shopping? I have to say most of my food shopping tends to be done at Tesco. I do go to Co-op locally as well for midweek shops.

Describe your perfect Friday night: It’s probably sitting with a couple of friends having a couple of beers, having a chat and watching a film too. Generally sort of quiet evenings, I’ve got past the going out and raving stage. I’ve always been one of those people that when I’m going out to see friends, I like to be able to sit at a table and talk to friends.

What’s your favourite drink? When it comes to non-alcoholic, a nice mug of tea is nice. In terms of alcoholic the Hogs Back Tea, traditional English ale, a nice ale is good.

Best place in Hampshire in your opinion? I’m going to be obvious and biased and going to say Yateley. We’ve got a good community here, and it’s big enough that it’s got variety and still small enough to feel community-like. It’s probably not one of the hotspots for nights out, but it’s certainly my favourite place.

Do you think MPs should be allowed to hire their family members? I think provided it is done properly, and that they’re being hired because they’ve got a skillset that would be of use, I’m not overly sure that it’s a problem. There’s a lot of people that set up businesses and employ spouses and sons and daughters. Being an MP is in that respect like being a self-employed person really. If you can justify it and it’s an obvious reason, if one of your family members happens to be a trained accountant really, or if you’ve got someone that’s a trained legal adviser. If somebody can do it, then maybe. I’d say it would be difficult to ban it, but it must be above board.

In a sentence, why do you deserve the gig? I deserve to be the MP because, apart from being a local person that understands the issues and concerns, my track records as a local councillor and campaigner is one of hard work for constituents.

What do you think the biggest issue facing residents of North East Hampshire is? I think there are three that are coming up on the doorstep. There’s obviously the Brexit issue. Hart which is the largest part of the constituency actually voted to remain in the referendum. There’s a lot of people dismayed with the way we’re going. The second issue is climate change, the populous is quite well-educated on it. They want to see action at a local and national level. The third main issue is development. Part of my responsibility is looking at a garden village somewhere in Hart. That’s generating a degree of concern amongst residents. We’ve had a problem over the last 40 years where we’ve had lots of homes built pretty much everywhere. All we’ve had is the houses, and we haven’t had the infrastructure that comes with that. The road network hasn’t really been improved, the public transport has got worse really. We’ve suffered from all of the problems of new housing without getting the benefits. The garden village is about building something long-term and being able to put the infrastructure in first. What we want to do is build a new community, the villages in Basingstoke and Deane have an individual feel about them, and that’s what we’re trying to do in Hart. Something that will add to the vibrant dynamic of Hart.

In a sentence, what do you want to change if you are elected? To first of all help to stop Brexit, and also to promote action on tackling the global climate emergency.

The manifesto

Releasing the Liberal Democrat's manifesto, leader Jo Swinson has vowed to stop Brexit and tackle climate change. Some of the key promises include:

  • Revoking Article 50 to stop Brexit
  • Putting the £50 billion 'Remain bonus' they say that will generate to fund public priorities
  • Accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, hoping to generate 80 per cent of electricity via green means by 2030.
  • Reduce VAT on insulation for homes
  • Legalise cannabis
  • Fund a £7 billion boost to the NHS by adding a penny to income tax
  • 35 hours of free childcare for children aged two to four, or from nine months for working parents
  • You can read more about the Lib Dem's manifesto here.

You can read more from all of the general election candidates in the Gazette's Election special, out Thursday!