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General election

Name: Chris Foote Wood

Constituency: Bishop Auckland

Chris Foote Wood believes the British political scene would benefit from the presence of more engineers in public life.

Now ghting to overturn a 13,926 Labour majority in Bishop Auckland, he initially trained as a civil engineer in the area.

After leaving King's College Newcastle, then part of Durham University, in 1962, he worked in engineering departments at local authorities in the north east.

This led to a spell of bridge engineering until he left the profession in 1974, to fight his first election campaign.

Foote Wood says professional demands can make it difficult for engineers to carve out a political career.

'Civil engineering has never been a nine-to-five job. You can't walk away from the job because you have to go to a council meeting.

'If you are a teacher or a lecturer you have plenty of time off and you can get involved in the political scene.

'It tends to be people from a certain type of background that gets involved, but we need all kinds in my view.' He says his engineering background provides 'an understanding of the practicalities of the real world'.

He highlights the detailed planning, appreciation of cost and time schedules and working to strict standards as aspects of engineering that other politicians should experience.

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