A CORK woman is the bookies’ favourite to win a seat for the Conservatives in the Bolton West constituency which is being vacated by Labour’s Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly.
Susan Williams, who is in her early 40s, was born in Blackrock.
Her parents – Mary, nee Kelly from Templemore, Co Tipperary, and Jack McElroy from Keady, Co Armagh – met while studying medicine at UCC.
Mary later became a radiologist and Jack a pathologist.
Although Susan has lived in England for several years she returns to Ireland on a regular basis, with her accountant husband, Alex, and their three children, Jessica, Edward and Elizabeth. “I came back most years. I’m just mad about Kinsale, the whole place is lovely. I also like Schull and of course the Ring of Kerry,” Susan said.
She has a degree in Applied Nutrition and before entering politics worked for 10 years as a nutritionist for a charity specialising in help and support for sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis.
Susan became involved in politics in 1997, when legislation was introduced to allow parents to petition for a ballot to end Grammar School education. She led a successful campaign in Trafford, near Bolton, to raise awareness of the implications of this legislation.
Elected to Trafford Council in 1998, she became the first female leader of the Trafford Conservative Group in August 2002 and the youngest Trafford Council leader two years later. She stood down from the council last May to devote her time to winning a seat in the Houses of Parliament in the Bolton West constituency.
“It is a three-way marginal seat which has oscillated between Labour and Conservative for the last 20 years. Hopefully this time out the pendulum will swing back to the Conservatives,” Susan said.
“It is one of the marginal seats which could make the difference to the Conservatives getting back into Government.”
Her husband isn’t helping her too much on the campaign trail, which is understandable. Alex has got his own battle to fight.
“He’s also standing for election with the Conservatives Stretford and Nurmston constituency,” she said.
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