Charlie has been elected as the Liberal Democrat’s candidate to be the next MP for the Witney constituency. He is a district councillor for the Standlake, Aston and Stanton Harcourt ward and in November 2023 became the Executive Member for Planning & Sustainable Development. For three years prior to that, he was the Chair of the Witney Oxford Transport Group, leading the project to rebuild the railway line linking Carterton, Witney, Eynsham and Oxford. He lives with his family between Witney and Stanton Harcourt.
Charlie likes ideas and likes getting useful things done. He's always loved adventures and is happiest when he is outdoors, whether it's swimming in the Windrush or going around West Oxfordshire by car, bicycle or on foot to scope out a possible route for a railway. The natural environment has not only always been important to him, but the place where he most wants to be.
Charlie is 52, went to school 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 the Conservatives are doing huge damage to our society, our economy, our environment and our standing in the world. He believes we can generate strong, clean economic growth and make our society fairer. 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 housing, flooding and transport issues.
As Chair of WOT Group he is leading the drive to rebuild the Carterton-Witney-Eynsham-Oxford rail line. He has worked to define a route, survey more than 900 West Oxfordshire residents, commission three technical studies and persuade the county council to fund a feasibility study.
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 or building a global business. He believes in hard work, in trusting people and working as a team to solve problems. He 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.