Catholic Life

MP inspires pupils at old school

George Ellison, Joseph Weir and James Boughen talk to Paul Maynard

Paul Maynard MP has returned to his old school, St Ambrose College in Altrincham, Cheshire, to tell the next generation of young politicians: “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”

Paul, who has a mild form of cerebral palsy and is a diagnosed epileptic, was elected as MP for Blackpool and Cleveleys in 2010.

He said: “Some people look at me and see a ‘spastic’. Others just see me. Either way, I’ve always felt I have had to try just that little bit harder to make the grade. If you want to get into politics, you have to get involved. You have to fight for the causes which are close to your heart.”

Paul, who went to a special needs school before going to St Ambrose, from where he went to Oxford to get a first-class degree, added: “The Government has to make some very tough decisions and no one is saying it is easy for any one out there. It is very tough for everyone, but I see no point in painting an Armageddon.”

The 35-year-old Oxford History graduate is one of three old Ambrosians now sitting in the House of Commons and often rubs shoulders with fellow Conservative Damien Hinds and Lib Dem Greg Mulholland.
Paul said: “St Ambrose taught me to speak up for myself. It brought me out of my shell and taught me to shout from the rooftops. I learned how to debate, how to frame an argument.”

He added: “The reason I got into politics was that back in the 1990s there was a chance that Labour might win Trafford and destroy schools like St Ambrose and what we need in this country, and what the Conservatives are now promoting is many different kinds of schools, with power handed back to headteachers who know what is best for local children.”

David Lindsay, St Ambrose College’s head of government and politics, said: “Paul is an inspiration to all pupils at St Ambrose for his complete commitment and enthusiasm for politics and his attitude of constant optimism and inability to shirk a challenge. He is brave and dynamic and should go far within
UK politics. He has already worked closely with Dr Liam Fox and William Hague and managed to win a seat from the Labour Party in the north of England, which is no mean feat.”