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West Suffolk General Election 2024: Independent Luke O’Brien and Social Democratic Party’s Ivan Kinsman announce their candidacies

More candidates have been announced who will be fighting for the West Suffolk constituency in the General Election.

Disability campaigner Luke O’Brien will stand as an independent candidate in the July 4 poll, while Ivan Kinsman is a Social Democratic Party candidate.

The seat is held by Conservative MP Matt Hancock, who is stepping down.

Luke O’Brien, Independent candidate for West Suffolk. Picture: Keith Mindham
Luke O’Brien, Independent candidate for West Suffolk. Picture: Keith Mindham

Luke O’Brien

Mr O’Brien is a disabled campaigner who wants to champion the rights of young people with disabilities in his bid for parliamentary election.

He is determined to tackle rising mental health issues in schools and other educational institutions which can be traced to exam pressures, bullying and social media.

The 39-year-old software engineer, of Barrow, has struggled since the age of five when he was diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia, which affects co-ordination and fine motor control.

He also has dyscalculia (a learning disability in math) and dyslexia.

‘‘When I was at primary school I wore a helmet and fell over often, said Mr O’Brien.

“I was not expected to achieve in life and at high school I continued to struggle.

“When I was at school I suffered from anxiety and my parents feared that I would live the rest of my life in sheltered accommodation.

“So I believe that I could bring hope to children and prove that they can still achieve because at the end of the day I have succeeded in life, and I am an example of why you must not judge anybody.

‘‘If I became MP I would visit schools and assemblies to talk about my experiences and help young people. I would also be greatly interested to improve the new GCSE Computer Science course content.

‘‘I feel very passionate about incorporating software engineering into the GCSE national curriculum because computer programming has enabled me to have a good life and it can also enable others who are like me.’’

Mr O’Brien, who has recently become a parish councillor at Barrow cum Denham, has a mild form of cerebellar ataxia and can still do a lot of activities but tends to wobble on his feet.

He sponsors international charities helping young people and as a child he benefited from the support of the Riding for the Disabled charity and wants to help others be all they can be too.

Ivan Kinsman, Social Democratic Party candidate for West Suffolk
Ivan Kinsman, Social Democratic Party candidate for West Suffolk

Ivan Kinsman

Ivan lives in the centre of Newmarket.

He is married to Magda and has two teenage children, a son and a daughter.

Owning his own translation agency, he is campaigning to promote independent and franchise-owned businesses (SMEs) in the town as well as across West Suffolk.

He is not a professional politician and said he has only entered politics ‘to help put an end to the failed Tory-Labour duopoly and create a better and more prosperous future for West Suffolk residents and businesses’.

He said he is convinced the SDP is the party that can do that.

The SDP’s list of solutions include supporting ‘traditional family life’, backing British industry, ending mass immigration, nationalise railways and utilities, build a ‘National Care Service’ and building new homes.

Others due to fight for West Suffolk are Rebecca Denness (Labour), Nick Timothy (Conservative), Henry Batchelor (Liberal Democrat), Mark Ereira-Guyer (Green) and Katie Parker (Independent).