Harrogate solicitor Andrew Gray announced today he will stand as an independent candidate in the forthcoming Selby and Ainsty by-election.
Today is the deadline for candidates to put their names forward for the by-election, which will take place on July 20 following the resignation of Conservative Nigel Adams.
He said he was standing due to his “dissatisfaction with the current state of British politics” and pledged to engage with local people using artificial intelligence to find out what they wanted.
Mr Gray said he will use Polis AI to do this, adding AI has been used abroad in politics but this will be the first time it has been adopted in a UK election.
Polis AI allows users to anonymously submit short text statements or comments, which are then sent out randomly to other participants who can click to agree, disagree or pass.
Mr Gray said:
“I want to find these consensus points and use them as my policies.
“My only policy is to take my policies from the people.
“That’s what a representative ought to do.”
Mr Gray has previously been involved as a Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat activist, as well running the non-profit Crowd Wisdom Project which has used Polis AI since 2021.
The system will be used in every town and village within the constituency to gauge a general consensus, as well as cross-constituency conversations to discuss national issues.
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Mr Gray said:
“If elected, I will vote in Parliament in accordance with the consensus of the constituency.
“On election, the conversations will continue, and I will vote in Parliament as per the changing desires of my electorate, which means that I can respond to change quickly.
“If mandated, I will vote for the government, or against, or abstain.
“Therefore, by electing me, my constituents are getting more democracy, more power in their hands. Selby and Ainsty will be the country’s bellwether constituency.”
“Although there is some history in my family in politics, I want to be seen as not so much a political candidate, but a candidate for positive change.
“There is so much that we agree upon: let’s start there. I’m optimistic. Our many problems are fixable.
“Things simply can’t stay as they are. Many of us are rolling our eyes at what is going on in Westminster. Traditional party politics need consigning to the dustbin of history.”