Abta policy head to stand for Parliament at next election

Abta policy head to stand for Parliament at next election

Abta head of public affairs Luke Pollard has been selected as a Labour candidate for Parliament at the next general election.

Pollard will bid to become a Labour MP in the Conservative-held constituency of Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, where he lives.

The seat is among Labour’s top 20 target seats nationally and is the party’s number-one target in the southwest.

Sitting MP Oliver Colvile took the seat from Labour in 2010 with a swing of 7% and a majority of just over 1,000.

Pollard stood as a Labour candidate in a neighbouring seat at the last election. He told Travel Weekly: “I’m really pleased. It is what I’ve been working towards for years.

“It does not require much of a swing to win, but shifting those votes won’t be easy. I don’t underestimate how much work will be involved. It will be a challenge.”

Pollard will remain in his role at Abta in the meantime, maintaining his focus on policy work in Brussels.

He said: “We have a good cross-party team representing the industry and that will not change. It is business as usual.”

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Luke has done a great job for us and I’m very pleased for him.

“Good public-affairs people are generally people who want to be in politics. It has been clear from day one this was what Luke wanted. We have always supported his political aspirations.”

Tanzer insisted: “We won’t lose any pace on our policy work.

“Obviously, it is going to take an increasing amount of Luke’s time as we get closer to an election. We are going to see less of him, but not immediately. I expect it to be a gradual process.

“But the reality is Luke spends a lot of time on our Brussels agenda and it gives us a chance to develop other people. You will see the Westminster side picked up by other members of the team and by me.”

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