Richard was re-elected in 2017 and 2019 where he achieved the highest number of votes (30,024) and his highest majority of 17,153.
Richard firmly believes in representing his constituents without fear or favour.
He spent four years getting to know his future constituency, before winning the seat from Labour minister Jim Knight in 2010, with a majority of 7442.
His broad life experience as a soldier, journalist, television reporter and businessman and his evident independence of mind clearly appealed to the people of South Dorset, who subsequently nearly doubled his majority in 2015 and gave him increased majorities at every election since.
During Richard’s first term in Parliament, he was appointed a member of the EFRA select committee, holding the government to account on rural and conservation issues.
He also pursued his strong interest in defence, speaking out against the cuts to our armed forces which, he believed, threatened to weaken the UK’s ability to meet her many responsibilities, both at home and abroad.
At the start of the 2015 Parliament, Richard was appointed a member of the European Scrutiny Select Committee under the able chairmanship of Sir William Cash.
The committee assesses the political and legal importance of all draft European legislation. Richard has found the sheer volume of legislation truly sobering, affecting as it does, many aspects of our lives.
In addition, he and other members of the committee have been frustrated when attempts to scrutinise policies further are ignored by the Government.
This window into the machinations of the EU has only reinforced Richard’s view that the UK would be better off outside the EU.
He believes a successful and sovereign country must have control of its destiny, free to make and live by its own laws, decided upon by MPs elected by the British people, not bureaucrats in Brussels.
Since 2010, Richard has campaigned assiduously to improve life in South Dorset.
A notable success was his part in defeating plans for a massive wind farm off Swanage, which would have badly damaged Dorset’s tourism.
Along with many others, Richard campaigned to retain the Portland search and rescue helicopter and, while that failed, there are signs that the Osprey Quay facility may still host a thriving helicopter concern which will provide jobs and training locally.
Having backed the fight to save Swanage Community Hospital, he and many others were delighted when they heard the top-class facility would play an important part in Dorset’s future healthcare.
Currently, Richard is backing the campaign to save the Kingfisher Ward at Dorset County Hospital and is pushing for a new, faster rail service from London to Weymouth, via Salisbury and Yeovil.
He’s currently in talks with the two franchise bidders, the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership and other MPs with constituencies along the route.
On a more personal note, Richard is part of the team fighting for Alexander Blackman, the former Royal Marine sergeant imprisoned for shooting a wounded Taliban insurgent.
Along with many Royal Marines, author Frederick Forsyth, and a new legal team, Richard believes a grave injustice occurred during the original trial.
The case is now with the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which it’s hoped will direct the courts to look at the case again.
Mr Blackman’s QC Jonathan Goldberg hopes to get the verdict changed from murder to manslaughter, which would give the judge more flexibility in sentencing.
Richard has visited the former Marine twice in prison and has supported Mr Blackman’s wife, Claire.
Richard, who is married to Elsebet, has four children. He is Patron of a mental health charity and his 'Kids to Farm' project, where local schoolchildren spend a day on his farm, is proving hugely popular.