Henbury Travel owner Richard Slater is considering running as an independent parliamentary candidate because of ‘lack of support’ from his local MP.
The Macclesfield-based travel agent, who is north west regional chairman of Abta, said his frustration with MP David Rutley had reached a point where he felt he needed to take action himself.
Slater has written at least ‘two dozen’ letters to his MP during the Covid-19 pandemic to highlight the plight of agents, but said he either received no response or was sent a standard, generic reply.
He said: “I have asked him to discuss issues with me and show his support for the industry but he is not engaging with me. He just tows the party line.
“I am considering standing in the next election as an independent MP for Macclesfield in response to the lack of support Mr Rutley has shown to small local businesses and the travel industry. There is a lack of interaction and support.”
Following comments by shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry that summer holidays were “very unlikely” this summer, Slater has also written to Labour Party leader Keir Starmer to highlight the problems facing agents, inviting him to meet and talk to agents in order to understand the situation they face.
Slater warned that news the June 21 lifting of restrictions was likely to be delayed by four weeks would further threaten the survival of many agents.
He said: “I think you will see them falling like flies. I think many will call it a day. I already know of agents losing staff who are leaving their jobs because of the lack of job security. People can’t stand the uncertainty.”