THE message from Maggie Throup is plain - if she wins the Solihull seat in the forthcoming General Election it will give borough residents a direct link to the levers of power should the Conservatives form the next government.
“Solihull has changed dramatically in the last 13 years and I will be someone who knows the constituency and can influence the legislators - I will be fighting for Solihull and making sure its needs are met,” she says.
We’re sitting in Cafe Rouge in the high street and the self-confessed fan of ‘the other Maggie T’ - Margaret Thatcher - is steadily counting down the days to the expected General Election date of May 6.
“I’m living off adrenaline at the moment, adrenaline and chips although I’m thinking of changing to spinach, fish and eggs which kept Mrs T going in the 1979 election.”
She’s lived in the borough for 23 years, a Yorkshire lass who arrived as the production manager of a Norwegian pharmaceutical company based in Sheldon, before being made redundant in 1995 when she launched her own marketing business.
She’s been a familiar figure to readers of the Solihull News, cutting her teeth campaigning first against the proposed motorway service station on the M42 by Catherine de Barnes and then the proposed second runway at Birmingham International Airport. Together with councillor Jim Ryan, she has also been at the forefront of opposition to plans to downgrade maternity services at Solihull Hospital.
Since the downturn she’s also launched a Job Club which has successfully seen many newly jobless find help, sympathy, and in many cases, fresh employment or direction.
“You see, I know what it is like to be made redundant because it has happened to me.”
However it was the motorway services issue that turned her to politics.“Working on that campaign I realised that to have real influence you have to be part of politics.”
Maggie Throup is a youthful 53 year old, a single woman who likes skiing and cycling and cooking her own meals and was the first parliamentary candidate chosen of any party - way back in 2005. She is under no illusion of the importance of the Solihull seat, captured by Liberal Democrat Lorely Burt at the last General Election from sitting Tory John Taylor.
“This is obviously a key seat and I think the people of Solihull know how important it is, they know the country cannot afford a hung parliament because we are in this economic mess and they understand that the only way out of it is to return a Conservative majority.”