Liberal Democrats chairman visits Worthing

Paul Burstow MP, chairman of the Liberal Democrats, far right, with councillor Bob Smytherman, Jemima Bland (parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham) and Suzanne Millard (Guild Care chief executive)

Paul Burstow MP, chairman of the Liberal Democrats, far right, with councillor Bob Smytherman, Jemima Bland (parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham) and Suzanne Millard (Guild Care chief executive)

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THE former minister of state for care services visited the headquarters of older people’s charity Guild Care last week.

Paul Burstow MP, the chairman of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party, was at the Guild Care day centre in North Street, Worthing, on Wednesday, May 1.

As well as touring the charity centre, he was also shown around Worthing by Hazel Thorpe, the Lib Dem spokeswoman for Worthing West.

Mr Burstow said: “It was great to have a chance to visit the Guild Care Centre and see for myself some of its innovative work with older people.

“Helping to keep people active and connected clearly does make a big difference.”

Mr Burstow stood as a Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam in 1992 achieving the biggest swing to the Liberal Democrats in Greater London. He fought the seat again in 1997 defeating the incumbent Conservative MP and won again in 2001, 2005 and 2010.

In 2010, he was elected for the fourth time with 25,156 of the votes – a majority of 1,608.

After the formation of the Coalition Government, he was appointed Minister of State for Care Services which he served until September, 2012. His areas of responsibility were care for the elderly, adult social care, mental health services, and learning disability programmes.

He was also responsible for reforming social care law and funding, and for promoting parity of esteem for mental health, in particular pioneering the development of new talking therapy services for children and young people.

Mr Burstow is currently chairman of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party. He has just finished chairing the Joint Committee on the Draft Care and Support Bill and is now chairing a year-long, independent commission on mental health, with the think-tank CentreForum.

Bob Smytherman, the local Lib Dem media co-ordinator, said: “I was absolutely delighted to welcome Paul Burstow to Worthing with his experience of working in the Coalition Government with specific responsibilities for care services, and I was thrilled that Guild Care was so accommodating at very short notice to provide Paul with an opportunity to meet staff and customers, and enjoy a lovely lunch.”