Waite considers standing for Parliament

FORMER hostage Terry Waite has admitted he is considering standing as an independent candidate in Suffolk at the next general election.

Dave Gooderham

FORMER hostage Terry Waite has admitted he is considering standing as an independent candidate in Suffolk at the next general election.

In a stinging attack on the current political system, Mr Waite described the two main parties as “moribund” and said independent candidates had a vital role to play in helping to reform Parliament in the wake of the expenses scandal.

And he admitted he could be part of the “revolution” by joining the likes of Martin Bell and Esther Rantzen as potential independent candidates.

While declining to comment on where he would like to stand, living close to Bury St Edmunds would make it a potential location.

He told the EADT: “I am considering standing for Parliament and it would probably be in the Suffolk area. But nothing has been decided and of course there is no election date so everything is up in the air.

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“I am not doing this for any personal ambition and in some ways it is burden. It is something I would do if I thought it was in the best welfare of the country.”

Mr Waite, who last week claimed the MPs' expenses row was the last straw for fed-up voters, said he felt that living in the Suffolk countryside had made him well aware of the problems facing rural Britain.

He also spoke of his international experience as a former special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury before he was held captive for 1,763 days in Beirut - the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement.

But he admitted he might be swayed against standing by a repeat of the intense media scrutiny that had been placed on his family life while he was held hostage.

“I think I have considerable experience on both national and international matters and I am still deeply involved in social issues, homelessness and penal questions,” Mr Waite told the EADT.

“I am in constant contact with ordinary people living in the countryside and of the issues affecting them. The way we have run our farming down has been just appalling while there is also a lack of coordination in the transport system in this country.

“But the negative side is that I have had my family exposed to intense media scrutiny in the past. They are very private individuals who might not want that scrutiny.”

Mr Waite said he completely disagreed with comments last week from former Labour deputy leader, Roy Hattersley, who said independent MPs were a “waste of space”- arguing that a sprinkling of non-affiliated members would liven up Parliament.

He added: “We need to take a close look at the party system as it is pretty moribund at the moment and there is virtually no difference between the main parties.

“We need a radical re-examination of the party system and while independents might not have all the answers, they could encourage the reform process and show critical thinking not bound by party dogma or the whip.”