John Smeaton vows to 'bring a storm down on Westminster'

AIRPORT terror attack hero John Smeaton today vowed to "create waves" in Westminster if he wins the parliamentary seat vacated by former Commons Speaker Michael Martin.

The 33-year-old ex-baggage handler, who tackled a suicide bomber during the 2007 Glasgow Airport terrorist attack, said he will represent the people if he wins the Glasgow North East by-election.

Mr Smeaton said a clampdown on crime is needed because gang crime is "running unchecked", while unemployment is "rampant".

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He was grilled by journalists on his policies in his first press conference, at a hotel in Glasgow, at which he confirmed his intention to stand in the by-election.

"My message to Glasgow North East is: vote for change or stop complaining.

"Let us all get out on the streets and make sure everyone votes for someone who cares and who will fight for them.

"I know Glasgow North East, my mother worked in Possil and I spent a lot of time there, and I know the problems because I've been speaking to people about them.

"The Labour Party have had 30 years to bring investment and jobs into Glasgow North East. I haven't noticed much difference and I know from strolling round the constituency that folk living there haven't noticed many changes either.

He went on: "Well I can. And, if I'm elected, you'd better believe it: I will. I'll bring a storm down on Westminster, knock down doors and badger them until they listen. No messing."

"We must have someone in Parliament who knows how the public feels. I know I can do that."

Mr Smeaton, who will stand as an independent candidate, said he will fight "every minute of every day" for his constituents.

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His attempt to win the seat is backed by political movement Jury Team, which was founded earlier this year by the former director-general of the Conservative Party, Sir Paul Judge.

Speaking about his decision to stand, he admitted that he had thought he would never enter politics.

But he said he changed his mind after he was approached by the Jury Team.

Explaining why he decided to stand, he said: "I'm angry and I'm fed up by the way politicians have been behaving. Like everybody I was shocked by the fiddling by the MPs.

"I reckon most of you shared the same disbelief as we watched them try to excuse their greed over expenses. It really made my blood boil."

Mr Smeaton is the first candidate selected by the movement to stand for a seat in the House of Commons.

In the European Parliamentary elections, Jury Team selected 52 candidates and won around 80,000 votes.

The by-election, which will take place later this year, was triggered when Mr Martin stood down in June in the wake of the row over MPs' expenses.

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Mr Smeaton said: "The Jury Team wants independent people into Parliament. They have made it possible for me to stand.

"The ordinary man and woman wants change, a breath of fresh air.

"We need a tougher, fairer stance on immigration, we need a clampdown on crime and we certainly need to bring a better health service into the area.

"Okay, some of these things are handled by Holyrood these days, that's not a problem. I'll create waves on any subject I think needs to be raised."

"Let the people of Glasgow start a wave around the country. We can do this."

Asked whether he had ever taken class A drugs, Mr Smeaton said: "I've never taken class A drugs but I've smoked cannabis."

And asked whether he was standing as an independent candidate, Mr Smeaton said: "I'm standing as an independent, supported by the Jury Team.

"They are there to support people who want to stand as an independent. They are not there as a political party or an entity."

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Mr Smeaton said the money for his campaign will come from donations but that the Jury Team is paying for his election deposit and leaflets.

He struggled to answer questions about the Jury Team proposals listed on its website.

Mr Smeaton was asked how a referendum would be triggered by 5% of the electorate. He said that "we'd put it out to the constituents" and let the "constituents decide".

He was also asked about a Jury Team proposal that MPs' pay should be linked to the civil service pay scale.

When asked which civil service pay grade it should be linked to, Mr Smeaton said: "I think they should be paid what they are due."

On supporting a proposal for elected select committees in the House of Commons, he said: "It's something that I've not looked into but I'll look into it and I'll get back to you on that."

When asked about immigration, he said that "it needs to be looked at" and added that immigrants have done a "fantastic job in this country" but the system "needs to be fairer".

When pressed on what's unfair about it, he said: "I just think it needs to be fairer across the board."

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And when asked if he had any criminal convictions, Mr Smeaton replied: "I have no convictions."