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District councillor and former soldier Johno Lee to battle for Bolton South East seat in pre-Christmas General Election




Newark Conservative Johno Lee has been chosen to fight for the Bolton South East seat in the General Election of ‪December 12.‬

The former soldier, a Bolton lad from Farnworth, will look to overturn Labour's shadow Justice Minister Yasmin Qureshi 13,126 majority.

The Conservatives polled second in 2017 with 12,550 votes.

Johno Lee (21171419)
Johno Lee (21171419)

Johno, 36, said: "My first priority is to help Boris Johnson get a workable majority so we can get Brexit done, so we can concentrate on our NHS ­— getting better mental health services and fairer funding for our schools.

"I'm fighting for better infrastructure and for our front line services as well as for more police on our streets, and better support for our Servicemen and veterans."

Johno grew up in the Farnworth district, which is in his native Bolton South East constituency, and joined the British Army as an infantry soldier aged 17.

Johno Lee lies severely injured after the IED blast in Afghanistan in November, 2007 (21170322)
Johno Lee lies severely injured after the IED blast in Afghanistan in November, 2007 (21170322)

November 6, 2007, was the day that changed his life for ever.

It was on that day he found himself drifting in and out of consciousness in a minefield in Afghanistan after the vehicle he was patrolling in drove over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Johno had already served in Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan. His memories of November 6, 2007, are vivid.

They started out from Forward Operating Base Price in Helmand and linked up with the Afghan National Army (ANA) for a patrol around the outskirts of the provincial capital of Gereshk.

A few hours into the patrol the IED detonated beneath the Snatch Land Rover from where Johno was providing top cover for the convoy, catapulting him into the minefield.

The dust settled.

Bleeding heavily and drifting in and out of consciousness, Johno lay in the minefield for two hours, refusing to let comrades come to his aid until soldiers with mine-detecting equipment cleared a safe path.

His heart stopped twice, once on the helicopter that evacuated him to the hospital at Camp Bastion and for a second time on the operating table.

Johno lost a leg, yet his resilience in the face of adversity led to new opportunities he may previously have thought impossible, including the dream of serving in the House of Commons.

Johno, who now walks with the aid of a prosthetic, thanks the Yorkshire Regiment, the Army, and military charities for a wealth of support, and the opportunities that losing his leg offered him.

He was part of a world record-achieving sailing team in the Artemis Challenge in 2008, has taken part in a round-the-world yacht race and been skiing with Blesma — the limbless Services’ charity — and climbed Kilimanjaro.

He has been both a patron and ambassador for military charities, and fought to become the first amputee Serviceman to return to the frontline, but ultimately withdrew and received a full medical discharge.

Johno is now a councillor serving the Balderton North and Coddington Ward in the Newark and Sherwood district of Nottinghamshire.

He is married to Dawn, a vet, and the couple have two children, Hazel, 6, and David, 3.

He said: "I am tremendously proud to be selected for my home-town seat where I grew up and hope to represent all the communities of Farnworth, Kearsley Hulton, Harper Green, Littler Lever, Darcy Lever, Deane, Daubhill and Morris Green to my utmost ability."

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