Martin was born and brought up in Cheltenham. Both his parents worked for GCHQ. Unlike Conservative MP Alex Chalk, Martin lived and worked here before standing for Parliament - as has Max Wilkinson, the new Liberal Democrat candidate for Cheltenham
Martin's wife Shona is a public health doctor and they live with their two kids who are now at secondary school here.
ACADEMIC AND CAREER HISTORY
Martin left Cheltenham to go to Oxford University and spent most of his career before becoming an MP working for charities like Oxfam and the Alzheimer’s Society, where he was Director of Fundraising.
Just before being elected MP in 2005, he worked for a marketing business based here in Cheltenham but working mainly with national charity clients like the British Heart Foundation. After leaving Parliament in 2015, he worked for an international development organisation in Bristol.
MARTIN’S RECORD AS OUR LOCAL MP, 2005-2015
Campaigning successfully for better health services
Martin successfully led the campaigns that prevented the planned closure of our maternity unit in 2006 and defended A&E in Cheltenham which is still open today.
He worked hard for better mental health services. More cycles of IVF were restored for childless couples after pressure from Martin. And in Parliament he highlighted cases like Tom Wakefield’s tragic death while in NHS care, focussing national attention on the needs of people with learning disabilities.
Supporting local schools
Twice a school governor locally, Martin repeatedly took up issues for local schools and for National Star College, arguing successfully for more open secondary admissions criteria and for better funding - he lobbied coalition ministers successfully to start the process of correcting the historic underfunding of Gloucestershire’s schools.
Backing local sustainable transport
Martin led the campaign that prevented services to Cheltenham Spa station being diverted to a Parkway station near Gloucester, lobbied successfully for the vital redoubling of the Swindon/Kemble line to improve services and successfully backed bids for investment in local sustainable transport like electric car charging points and the upgrading of Cheltenham Spa station.
Protecting green spaces important to local people
As MP, Martin developed the policy now known as the Local Green Space designation which was implemented by government in 2012 and is now being used to protect green spaces in Hesters Way, Hatherley, Lynworth, Fairview, Springbank, Charlton Kings, Pilgrove Way, Warden Hill, Swindon Village and the Leckhampton Fields.
● Campaigning for the funds the NHS needs to restore local services like a full-time A&E at Cheltenham.
● Not just changing the government’s school funding formula that would have left 15 Cheltenham schools hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off but reversing all the cuts they've already made that are hurting Cheltenham schools right now.
● Holding the government to account over their hardline version of Brexit, leaving not just the EU but the single market that buys 44 per cent of our exports.