Local Liberal Democrats are backing Geoff Cooper in the St Helier Ward by-election on 20 July.
The by-election was called after the resignation of a Labour councillor who is under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority due to "suspicion of dishonesty".
Geoff Cooper - profile:
Geoff lives locally with his girlfriend Kasia and has lived in Merton for the past 11 years. He moved to London after University where he trained as an actor and dancer. Geoff moved out of acting in 2005 and is now a successful commercial manager in the private sector and the director of the property management company that runs the building he lives in. Geoff still enjoys the occasional acting role and often appears at the Wimbledon Studio Theatre with local theatre company, Carlton Theatre Group.
Having been a long time supporter of the Lib Dems, Geoff officially joined the Party after the 2015 General Election.
On being chosen by the Lib Dems to fight the by-election in St Helier, Geoff said:
"I was unhappy with the direction the country was taking. First the Tories winning a majority in 2015, then the vote to Leave the EU in 2016. I looked at myself in the mirror and asked: 'What did you do to make a difference?' and the honest answer was: 'Not enough, not all I could'.
"After that, I promised that I would do all I could to fight for the fair, honest and tolerant society that I believe in. I want my country back ... the country that believes in community and togetherness, the country that believes everyone has the right to a fair chance in life, the support they need and to be treated with respect. The country I had the chance to grow up in, outward-looking, internationally respected, open and tolerant. The country I want all our children to have the chance to grow up in. That is why I'm a Liberal Democrat.
"If elected as a councillor for St Helier, I would be a strong voice for:
- Protecting our NHS. My mum was a doctor, my sister-in-law is a doctor and my nan and aunt were both nurses. I've seen first-hand the pressures that our health workers are under. It's getting worse.
- Building communities - at home and internationally. People should get help they need to live their lives as they choose, and their decisions should be treated with respect. Our public services should be properly resourced. Britain's values of openness and tolerance must be projected positively across the world and at home. The current Conservative Government is putting the rights of EU nationals who live and work here at risk - they should be protected (and that's also the best way to protect the rights of Brits abroad).
- Protecting our environment. The greatest imminent threat to our future is climate change. It is our Government's responsibility to ensure that as a country, we are both carbon neutral and producing 100% of our electricity through renewables as soon as possible."