From Marks to May – how a political outsider became the Tory candidate in Hove

Posted On 01 May 2017 at 5:51 pm

When Jeremy Corbyn first stood for the Labour leadership, he told one interviewer that we could learn a great deal from Marx.

It was more surprising to hear something similar from the Tories’ newly selected general election candidate for Hove.

Except Kristy Adams meant Marks. She used to work at Marks and Spencer in Western Road, Brighton, and her first “proper job” was as a trainee manager for one of Middle England’s favourite shops.

On Friday evening (28 April) she set out her stall to the local party and was picked to run for Parliament against Peter Kyle, the sitting MP who won the seat for Labour in 2015.

Mrs Adams, 46, lives in Hove and works as a creative and business consultant. As well as the family loft conversion design business, Adams Attics, she has been a volunteer at a homeless night shelter and campaigned on social issues such as modern slavery.

Although something of an outsider on the local political scene, she grew up in the area and said that her family had lived in Hove for four generations. Her father was a business consultant and her mother an A&E nurse.

And she does come with some political experience, having served as a councillor in Bedford and chaired the local Conservative association.

Kristy Adams

Here, she answers 10 questions about herself and her politics …

How did you get into politics?
Because of a crisis in education, I went to a public meeting to speak of my own concerns and found myself echoing the thoughts of people in the room. Later the Conservative Party invited people from outside politics and women to join. I thought “maybe I could do it”. I like getting things done. At 18 years old my ambition was to lead a charity. My Dad was a business consultant and he had advised to go into business first to learn how to make things work effectively and then take those skills back into the charity sector. So my first proper job was as a trainee manager for Marks and Spencer. I think he’s a bit surprised my journey has led me to politics.

What experience do you have that makes you worth voting for?

I have run a company. My experience is from “outside politics” – in business, the creative arts and social justice. In voluntary roles I have worked to improve educational standards and raised awareness of the crime of modern slavery. So my experience is broad. I have a dislike of organisations being wasteful with resources and want taxes to stay low.

And what personal qualities?
Courage, compassion and connection are my core leadership values. If you want the truth, ask a teenager. I asked my son what he thought my qualities were. He said: “Friendly, compassionate, tolerant and considerate – and quite fun except when you are telling me to unload the dishwasher.”

What can you do for Hove?
Political priorities …
A27 investment – I will work with (local MPs) Tim Loughton, Maria Caulfield and Simon Kirby to finally see the A27 congestion solved, with a new Ikea coming to Lancing and increasing development in our area and neighbouring areas we must solve this issue and build the road quickly. The benefit of having a Conservative team working together on transport issues shouldn’t be underestimated and we have the ear of ministers.
Promote investment in transport to have a BML2 from Falmer to London – This a solution to the pressure on the Brighton to London line. Investing in another line means that at a time when one line has technical issues, the other line can take the strain.
Housing and development
I will initiate housing forums and partnership working between developers, builders, planners and charities to explore solutions to lack of housing and high prices.
Brighton and Hove City Council has a poor reputation for service with local builders and developers. Labour hasn’t tackled the issue and it frustrates economic growth. There is a new head of planning. I will give her time to turn things around and enable her team to improve their customer service but if she is unable to do this I will be holding the Labour administration to account.
People are worried about losing green spaces when developments are suggested. I would campaign for potential housing developments to be designed in keeping with the local area and provide green spaces and new facilities, including doctors’ surgeries.
Business and arts
Creative arts and creative industry – I would promote Brighton and Hove as a silicon valley for the UK. As we enter a new season I believe we will have many opportunities to grasp with both hands. I will create partnerships to provide more apprenticeships.
I will challenge the council on their high parking charges that adversely affect business.
If elected, I will meet with ministers and advocate for investing in quality standards of care for elderly and mental health services. I am particularly concerned about mental health services for children in schools. I believe it makes sense to invest in children’s health and wellbeing.
I will continue to advocate for vulnerable people through issues like homelessness and modern slavery. A 2014 Home Office report estimates there are 13,000 victims hidden and suffering in the UK.

How will you make a difference?
I will use my business skills to add strength to Theresa May’s team. My skills are in creating partnership working and putting people together to solve a problem. I won’t always have the answer but I can draw together the people who have. I think the MP role would give me the ability to do more of this and provide successful outcomes for all of us who live in Hove and Portslade.
For the last 17 years I have been involved with charities serving homeless people. Minister for Homelessness Marcus Jones suggested I work with him to tackle this serious issue and help people get back on their feet. I look forward to working with Mr Jones.
Modern slavery – I want to hold companies with turnover of over £36 million to account for their supply chains. Currently all they have to make is a statement. I don’t think that has enough accountability. I want all retailers to be able to look the people who make their goods in the eye and for consumers to know they are buying goods made free from someone else’s suffering.

Do you support the revival of grammar schools and converting existing schools into academies?

For me the priority is parental choice and having enough school places for our children. With the university starting a new school, we will have enough school places across the city. If secondary schools use sets from the age of 11, children have the opportunity to excel and have the flexibility to move groups as they improve – and sets enable children to work in a group of children at a similar level. Grammar schools have a place in areas like Kent where they already exist. I would have to ask parents if they wanted a grammar school. Two of my aunts went to Hove County Grammar School for Girls so we have had grammar schools before in Hove. Really it is about parental choice and I would support governors and parents in their decision to become an academy or not.

Why should people trust you and your party with the NHS?

The NHS is the fifth biggest organisation in the world. It spends £117 billion per year and employees 1.7 million people. My Mum worked as an A&E sister for over 30 years in a Sussex hospital so the NHS is in my blood. As a daughter of a nurse I understand the importance of respecting our fantastic nurses and doctors. You can trust me to fight for the NHS. The organisation faces many challenges and with quality leadership and management it has the opportunity to raise standards of patient care and efficiency. Simon Kirby MP helped secure a commitment of £485 million for our Royal Sussex County Hospital so the Conservatives are investing in the NHS.

What should be done about the situation with Southern? Would you like to see Southern lose its franchise?

Hasn’t it been terrible, the shocking disruptions to people’s lives? I was annoyed when it took me nearly four hours to get back from London but what really got to me was listening on the radio to a single mother crying and saying she had to work to support them but just wanted to get home to her child.
It has been a long drawn out situation, with us as customers paying the price. I understand there is not an appetite among ASLEF drivers to continue to strike, and let’s face it, a train isn’t going anywhere without a driver. And Southern now has enough flexibility in staffing to continue to offer most of the timetable. I believe the worst is over. I support any decision that means the hard-pressed commuters can get to and from work.
And I would campaign to have a Brighton Main Line 2 (BML2) from Falmer to London. It would ease the pressure and provide an alternative if trains are not running on the mainline. I will be discussing this with the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP and working with other Sussex Conservative MPs to resource investment into infrastructure.

How should we handle Brexit?

If people choose to vote Adams on Thursday 8 June, they are voting for Theresa May, who is our most capable leader nationally. We must do everything we can to strengthen her hand in the negotiations. That means voting Conservative. Since the Brexit announcement my business is busier than ever. Surveyors and builders I know say the same. Language schools in Hove that are normally quiet at this time of year are fully booked. We are a trading nation and it’s time to welcome the opportunities new trade agreements will bring.
I think of Brexit as an opportunity to develop a greater export market – and it will allow us to decide our own laws again.

Why should voters choose you over Peter Kyle?

Because by choosing me, voters are choosing the strong and stable leadership of Theresa May. By voting for Mr Kyle they are choosing Jeremy Corbyn and that would be a disaster both economically and a risk in terms of defence. We have specific challenges these days with Putin and terrorist attacks. Corbyn’s ideals may work for him but they are unsound for governing a country in a time of change.
Vote Adams = Theresa May
Vote Kyle = Jeremy Corbyn
Kristy Adams: Theresa May’s woman
Peter Kyle: Corbyn’s man
Is it really about us as candidates? I am not so sure. Obviously voters will want a local person who will represent them well but I think this election is about who will safely steer us through the choppy waters of change. The best captain for that task is Theresa May.
If I am privileged to represent my local community after Thursday 8 June, I will be a full-time MP.
Hove and Portslade deserves 100 per cent commitment.

  1. AngryVoter Reply

    A few problems with this candidate. 1) She has a lengthy political history as a local councillor, Conservative association chairman and politial operator, yet she claims not to be a political insider.
    2) With Brexit we’ll need people in Westminster with serious international commercial experience. A local loft conversion director won’t cut it.
    3) Her charity work is commendable, but the best type of charity is when you have some class and give anonymously, not as a political gimmick.

    • Valerie Paynter Reply

      Her precisely curated every utterance betrays her on your first point. Greasy poles come to mind. She might do well as a political PR or speechwriter churning out the propaganda.

  2. Trudy Reply

    It’s funny to say Mrs May represents strong and stable leadership. She’s U-turned on National insurance contributions, Foreign national registries, Hinkley Point, Heathrow, the Dubs amendment on refugee children, and not holding a general election before 2020, …. Leadership means you make a decision and make it happen.
    This election is a bad idea and a waste of public money. What an awful choice we have. Mrs U-Turn or Mr Useless.

  3. Cllr Warren Morgan Reply

    As an incomer from Bedford, she needs to be a little more up to date with her criticisms of the council’s planning team. We have turned it around in a very short space of time, a fact recognised by her own Government just recently.

    And it is a shame she seeks to ditch the cross party approach pursued by Peter Kyle and me on the rail issue.

    • Valerie Paynter Reply

      Linda Freedman tweets @saveHOVE that Kristy A has lived in Hove longer than the last two years which begs the question of how sincere a cllr she could have been in Bedford up til 2015 while living down here!

      Cllrs should live in the ward they serve or at LEAST the same town!

  4. Valerie Paynter Reply

    My eyebrows rose…just a tad…reading her planning & development comments. Just so wrongheaded and profit-driven.

    She might benefit from reading Donut Economics frankly.

    Does she take aim at developers in hopes of attracting generous party donations? Or because she is one of them?

    Her ideas on housing are stale. Only by curtailing house price & rental inflation along with the naked gambling chip ‘investment’ for a return mindset can sanity and humanity be brought to the unaffordable BASIC need for shelter and a home.

    Peter Kyle is no better on this, fulsomely supporting massively damaging overdevelopment for the Sackville Trading Estate (600 flats plus retail & offices) & Ellen St close by (190 flats plus retail & offices on the site of a small shed) and the collosus planned down the road from these two sites at King Alfred. Its not on.

    It is all very depressing.

    And blaming the planning dept really gets me. I see the games developers play to avoid complying with planning law & policies which slow the process to standstill. Go play Miss Whiplash somewhere else Kristy! You don’t understand the issues or the planning area.

  5. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Where does she stand on the Carnegie Library?

  6. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    It is becoming clear that this Election is a bit of a sideshow. There was never any need for it as the European negotiations will not take any cognisance of it.

    The real factor is the Boundary changes.

    As things stand, come the next time Hove looks to be far more winnable for the Green Party than what was Pavilion (interesting today to see that Labour is targeting Hove Park, which will become part of a new-fangled Brighton). As such, it – er- behoves Phelim MacCafferty to up the Greens’ Hove vote in 2017 ready to provide an additional basis for an Election in a Constituency which will include a crucial chunk of what was Pavilion.

    The date of the next Election is, of course, moot. Recent events have shown that the Lustrum is bogus. There will always be some reason or other for all Parties to overturn it.

  7. Karen Young Reply

    I have never heard of her but look forward to meeting her soon when she comes round door to door?

    My understanding of the planning office is that it has been ‘asking’ for time extensions on decisions which makes it look like they are doing things ‘on-time’….lets hope that has been sorted then, although my personal experience with the planing dept has been ….let us say ‘not good’.

    As for the rail issue…..sorry but I don’t think the worst is over, as there is now a pending pay round and a dispute based on ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ re Three Bridges workers being paid loads more, but fingers crossed!

    The housing crisis could be eased by a policy that instead of whacking the small buy to let landlords with a stick….just give them the carrot and don’t discriminate against them when they buy properties, so long as 50% of their properties are rented out to people on benefits. On this point also make it easier for people on benefits and who have a spare room, to rent that spare room out without having their benefits cut. It would also help if the council didn’t have a policy of forcing landlords to go to the expense of having to evict tenants before they will re-house them or classify them as homeless.

    Hope she is fully behind BREXIT!

  8. Fishwife, 49 Reply

    She claims she cured a man of his deafness by laying on her hands and praying, which is nice.

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