The Conservative Party’s candidate has been selected for the next general election.
Nigel Gardner, who could become the new MP of Harpenden and Berkhamsted, has spoken of his connection to the area, his varied career, and his company’s work for the Russian government.
Berkhamsted will no longer fall under the South West Hertfordshire constituency following changes from the Boundary Commission for England, and will instead join Harpenden and Tring in the new constituency from the next general election.
Nigel told BERKHAMSTEDnews that growing up right in the middle of this constituency, in Flamstead, means that he knows this patch very well.
He said: “My family have lived in this area for generations. I used to hang out in Berkhamsted with my friends – my first kiss was even in Berkhamsted!
“One of the big challenges in this new constituency will be gluing it together and giving it a sense of identity – something I feel I can do as I have a relationship with both areas.”
After his schooling in Harpenden, Nigel went to Oxford and was tutorial partners with former Prime Minister David Cameron.
After Oxford, he worked as a journalist for Channel 4 and the BBC before moving to Brussels, where he became a spokesperson for the British vice president of the European Commission.
Nigel founded public affairs agency GPlus in the early 2000s, before selling a majority stake to Omnicom in 2006. He left the firm in late 2009.
In 2006, under the Omnicom banner, GPlus and sister agency Ketchum landed a contract to operate media relations for the Russian government. While Nigel now describes himself as “hawkish” when it comes to Russia, he says that attitudes towards Russia in the 2000s were vastly different.
He explained: “Everyone thought Russia was on a path to becoming a respected member of the international community. The question we have to ask ourselves is, why did it not turn out how we hoped?”
So, after such a long and varied career, why is Nigel now standing to be an MP?
He said: “This is an area that I really love and care about. I’m not the only one to be returning here after time away; many of the friends I used to spend time with in Berkhamsted are moving back.”
If Nigel could pick one thing to prioritise in the area, he says it would be the environment: “Looking after the green belt should be a cross-party goal. We have an obligation to future generations to protect what makes the area beautiful.”