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Conservative Tunbridge Wells Hopeful Iain Dale Said He ‘Never Liked the Place’ and ‘Would Happily Live Somewhere Else’

The LBC presenter has announced he is quitting the station in a bid to stand for the Conservative party in the general election

Iain Dale. Photo: Rich Dyson / Alamy

Departing LBC Presenter Iain Dale, who announced this week that he is quitting the station in an attempt to stand as the Conservative party’s candidate for Tunbridge Wells, previously told listeners to his podcast that he “never liked the place” and “would happily live somewhere else”.

Dale, who announced this week that he hopes to succeed Conservative MP Greg Clark as the MP for the area, said on his podcast ‘For the Many’ in 2022 that he had only remained in the area “slightly against my will”.

“I have lived in Tunbridge Wells since 1997, slightly against my will”, he told his co-host, the former Labour MP Jacqui Smith.

“I’ve never liked the place. Still don’t, and would happily live somewhere else”.

Dale’s surprise departure from LBC comes after he also reportedly suggested recently on his show that he was unsure whether he would vote for the Conservative party in the upcoming general election.


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Asked by Smith about his apparently wavering commitment to the party, on Tuesday, he replied that “I’m fundamentally a Conservative and always have been, I fundamentally believe in Conservative values, however you define them nowadays”.

Dale’s surprise announcement was met with praise by figures from across the political spectrum this week as well as former colleagues at the station. A long-time Conservative, he has previously tried and failed to become an MP for the party.


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If successful in being selected for the party in Tunbridge Well, Dale looks likely to face a tough battle to hold onto the previously safe Conservative seat, however.

Despite the seat being held by Rishi Sunak’s party since its creation in the 1970s, current polls suggest the party could narrowly lose it, according to a prediction by the independent forecasters Electoral Calculus.

Asked about Dale’s potential candidacy, Labour’s Tunbridge Wells candidate Hugo Pound told this paper that, “Tunbridge Wells wants a change of government more now than ever before and, from everything I’ve heard, Iain Dale doesn’t get it. To admit, as recently as 2022 that “I’ve never liked the place, still don’t and would happily live somewhere else” will not sit well with any resident here.

“Tunbridge Wells residents deserve an answer from Mr Dale – how can someone who clearly dislikes living in our town be qualified to represent us in Parliament?”

Listen to Iain Dale talking about Tunbridge Wells

The prosperous Kent constituency became the centre of political controversy in 2022 when a recording emerged of Rishi Sunak telling voters in the area that he was proud of having diverted Government funding from “deprived urban areas” towards “areas like this”.

LBC has hinted at a possible return to the station for their former presenter, should he fail to become an MP, with the station’s senior managing editor, Tom Cheal, saying in a statement that, “I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Iain on LBC. We understand his decision and thank him for his massive contribution to the station.”

The Conservative party’s selection for their Tunbridge Wells candidate is expected to be announced this Friday.

Dale has been contacted for comment.

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