Four-cornered fight in Gainsborough at the General Election

There will be four candidates contesting the Gainsborough seat at the General Election on Thursday, December 12.
There will be four candidates contesting the Gainsborough seat at the General Election on Thursday, December 12.

It will be a four-cornered fight for the Gainsborough constituency at the General Election on Thursday, December 12.

As the closing date for nominations passed, Sir Edward Leigh, who has held the seat for the Conservatives since 1983, discovered that he will face three opponents.

They will be Perry Smith, representing Labour, Lesley Rollings, who will contest her third consecutive General Election for the Liberal Democrats, and Mary Cavill, who is standing as an Independent.

Let‘s take a closer look at the four candidates:


One of the longest-standing MPs in the country, Sir Edward Leigh is a London barrister who broke into politics in the 1970s as a fervent supporter of Margaret Thatcher. Between 2001 and 2010, he was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the main Parliamentary body that oversees public expenditure. He was knighted in 2013 for “public and political service”, and last month, he made a bid to succeed John Bercow as Speaker of the House Of Commons. He is married to Mary, and they have six children.


A well-known Labour activist and campaigner, Perry Smith has lived in Gainsborough for more than 20 years and stood for election to West Lindsey District Council three times. Now retired, he worked in the building and steelworks trade until becoming a special-needs teacher. Later, he was a senior lecturer and finished his career as a leading adviser on autism. A beer-lover and football fan, he is secretary of Gainsborough Trinity’s walking football club and a member of Gainsborough CAMRA.


As Mayor of Gainsborough between 2012 and 2014, Lesley Rollings is credited with rescuing the ailing town council from bankruptcy. She has also served on Lincolnshire County Council and is currently a key member of West Lindsey District Council. She lives in Pilham with husband John, and they have three children. A former teacher at Gainsborough Academy, she is now a regional co-ordinator the national STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) educational project.


Self-employed Mary Cavill said she was prompted to throw her hat into the ring by the “terrible injustices that people are suffering with regard to our pensions”. She also wants to pursue a new way of managing the National Insurance Fund, which she claims has been affected by mismanagement. Mary, who lives in Hemswell Cliff, has worked with children and young adults for the past 50 years.