Charlie has been elected as the Liberal Democrats' candidate to be the next MP for the Witney constituency. He is also a district councillor for the Standlake, Aston and Stanton Harcourt ward and the chair of the Witney Oxford Transport Group, leading the project to rebuild the railway line linking Oxford, Eynsham, Witney and Carterton. Charlie lives with his family between Witney and Stanton Harcourt.
Charlie is 52. As a child, Charlie loved adventure and the outdoors. Whether it was the hours spent helping his father in the vegetable garden, the years spent playing sport, or travelling around the world trekking up mountains, discovering new places, the natural environment has always been important to him.
Charlie was schooled in Oxfordshire and graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Geography. Aged 25, he co-founded BDA Partners, an Asia-focused advisory firm. He spent 24 years working with colleagues to build the business, which now employs more than 120 people across nine global offices. He decided to step back from the business in January 2021.
That decision was grounded in his desire to do more to help people, protect our environment and do his part to get our country headed in a better direction. He believes that we can generate strong, clean economic growth and we can challenge the inequalities in our society. This led him to work first as a volunteer and now serve as a trustee at Citizens Advice West Oxfordshire. Over the last few years, Charlie and his family have hosted several Syrian and Ukrainian refugees, helping them find jobs, go to university, establish their own businesses and reunite them with family.
In May 2022, Charlie was elected as councillor for the Standlake, Aston and Stanton Harcourt ward. He strongly believes that his first job as a councillor is to help people who most need help. He has been working with colleagues on district-wide issues, including getting to grips with Thames Water on sewage. He is working hard with colleagues to dig into the data on sewage treatment capacity so maximum pressure can be applied on the company to upgrade both its network and treatment works. He is also active on flooding, housing and transport issues.
As Chair of WOT Group he worked full time on the rail project for all of 2021 on a voluntary basis. He led WOT Group's work to define a route, to survey more than 900 West Oxfordshire residents and to lobby councillors for support and funding. He contributed the majority of the funds towards three technical studies exploring route and funding options. The results of these technical studies led to the county council becoming sufficiently comfortable with the project to decide to fund a feasibility study, the results of which are due to be published in April 2023.
Charlie has a strong interest in renewable energy. He commissioned a study from Renewables First on the hydropower potential of the weirs on the Upper Thames with a view to establishing a community hydro project, www.upperthameshydro.com, similar to what has already been achieved by communities at Sandford, Osney and Reading.
Charlie has overcome challenges, whether it's recovering from breaking his neck aged 18, building a business or building a railway. He believes in trusting people and working as a team to solve problems. He believes in hard work and knows how important it is to keep going. He is much more focused on what unites us than what divides us.
He hopes that you will decide to be part of the team that works to win this constituency and deliver a fairer, more competent West Oxfordshire. Please do get in touch, we need your help and we will greatly appreciate it.