Consultant clinical psychologist Rasjid Skinner is the Conservative Party's man in Pendle, Lancashire, a traditionally safe seat for Labour, which has a majority of more than 10,000.

Mr Skinner is no novice at the polls - he stood in Bradford North last time round, although, he says: 'I am not in any sense a career politician. Friends twisted my arm to stand.'

He works at Bradford Community trust's Lynford Mount Hospital where, he says, 'my patients get really oppressed by the things the government does. I feel, even as a psychologist, that sort of socialist political theory is oppressive and screws people's lives up.'

The large Muslim ethnic minority population in the Pendle constituency is, he believes, 'upset about Labour's anti-family, prohomosexual policies'.

Nor is he impressed by the government's sex education policy.

He says it is based on 'socialist theory' and a belief that 'families are undemocratic'.

Mr Skinner, an 'English convert' to Islam, has 'six children and a wife at home looking after them'.

It may not be a surprise that Mr Skinner is 'on the right wing' of the Conservatives, describing himself as 'quite a Thatcherite'.

But he adds: 'In terms of race, I am on the left wing.'

On health, he is 'particularly keen on matrons coming back - not the Labour meaning of a nurse with a different title, but having people that straddle different levels of the organisation'. Mr Skinner would also cut out the 'large amounts of political dictation from the centre'.

He admits to 'a modest amount' of private practice, mainly legal work, and stands 'right behind' his fellow consultants when it comes to Labour's plans to change their contracts and ban private work for the first seven years. 'It is a bit like a soviet system, ' he says.

Also standing:

Catherine Pickering, Conservative candidate in Clydebank and Milngavie and a GP since 1990, rates her chances as 'impossible'.

She is pretty clear where the NHS's problems lie, though. 'The only way to drive up the quality of service is to have a system with some sort of internal competition.

'This experiment in co-operation and collaboration is turning out to be a real failure to deliver a quality service.'

Strong words, indeed: the 'experiment in co-operation' is her description of primary care groups and Scotland's local healthcare committees.