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'Maverick' Lib Dem fighter pilot quits RAF because of 'national crisis'

PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:21 14 November 2019

Liberal Democrat Broadland candidate Ben Goodwin has retired form the Royal Air Force to fight the general election 
Pic: Submitted

Liberal Democrat Broadland candidate Ben Goodwin has retired form the Royal Air Force to fight the general election Pic: Submitted

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A Liberal Democrat election hopeful has swapped fighter jets for the doorsteps of Broadland because he believes "things are coming to a head - this moment is so important".

Ben Goodwin has retired from the Royal Air Force to stand as a Lib Dem in Norfolk constituency Broadland  
Pic: SubmittedBen Goodwin has retired from the Royal Air Force to stand as a Lib Dem in Norfolk constituency Broadland Pic: Submitted

Ben Goodwin quit the Royal Air Force to stand in the December 12 election after 17 years service.

"The military acknowledges that standing for election is something in the national interest so I was able to leave very quickly. To be honest I did not want to leave the air force, I loved my career, but this is a consequential national crisis - I could not stand back and watch.

"I got to do some great things in my career. I was a frontline Tornado pilot based at Marham for six years and I always had it in my mind that I would come back to Norfolk.

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"I also worked at the very highest levels in the Ministry of Defence working as an assistant to the chief of defence. It was great to work at the tactical end and also the strategic end."

But now Mr Goodwin faces one of the biggest challenges of his life - overturning a 15,816 Conservatives majority in a Leave seat.

"The reasons people voted for Brexit were the things that were impacting their everyday lives - the underfunding of the NHS, schools, transport and our border force," he said.

"People were responding to genuine problems. But the way Brexit was packaged up was like 'here is the answer'. Of course, it's not. This Tory quip 'get Brexit done' ... well the current deal does nothing of the sort.

"The most passionate Brexit supporters don't agree this 'gets Brexit done' - this will be another broken promise. Revoking Article 50 is not us turning back the clock. Something profound happened.

"People will continue to be angry about Brexit and this deal. The reason it has got stuck in parliament is because the people who want to get this done have realised this is not Brexit.

"If we have a second referendum it has to be on the content of the deal. Now we know what Leave actually means according to what is realistically negotiable. This is not have your cake and eat it. It is not an extra £350m a week for the NHS. Now people can vote for what Brexit actually is.

The other candidates standing in Broadland are Jessica Barnard (Lab), Andrew Boswell (Green), Alex Hayes (Brexit), Jerome Mayhew (Con).

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