I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2008.
At the last General Election, I led London's Conservatives - as their Regional Chairman - to a spectacular result. However, as I told the Party's leadership at the time, I was appalled by "dog whistle" aspects of the campaign that were unfair to the vulnerable in society and which affronted everything I believe politics should be.
I had also chaired the Conservatives' Foreign Affairs Forum for six years, meeting political leaders from all over the World: I have since brought this experience to the Liberal Democrats' strong European and wider international partnerships.
My final break with the Tories came when they chose to break with the moderate centre-right in the European Parliament in favour of marginal parties holding unpleasant views. This strategic blunder is already damaging Britain's interests, It was compounded by the Tories' "KGB" European human rights alliance with Mr Putin's United Russia - yes, incredible! - in the parliamentary body responsible for the European Convention on Human Rights.
I also passionately believe that we must learn to combine today's and tomorrow's jobs with saving our planet. Liberal Democrats' commitment to the environment goes back much further and is much more reliable and heartfelt than in other parties.
Having been a London councillor for eight years, I really understand what a difference a good or bad local council can make.
Both local councils in Chelsea and Fulham would better serve the prosperous by being more mindful of the needs of more vulnerable residents.
The two Conservative councils' opposition to vital projects like the "super sewer" belies Tories claims to be green. It may have been acceptable in the 21st Century BC for untreated sewage to flow into the Thames but it is most certainly unacceptable in the 21st Century AD to pour raw sewage into this river on a more than weekly basis! I used to walk over Hammersmith Bridge every day to go to school: the river then was dead and dirty. The Thames must be a living, working river and a clean, open space for Londoners to cherish.
Nor does Tory and Labour social engineering on housing serve residents' best interests. Local housing should serve the needs of local people. Those who are good enough to nurse, police and teach people in Chelsea and Fulham are also good enough to hope to live in the communities to which they dedicate their lives and it is a scandal that 7,000 empty homes lie empty in our two Boroughs when local people desperately need somewhere decent to live.
Dirk's career For the last decade, I have run the national body - and currently chair the EU body - trying to improve waste management and recycling.
The Labour Government likes to say they have built a generation's infrastructure in ten years. That is not quite true for the sector I represent but it is true that we have increased household recycling by 500% since the Tories left office, having let Britain fall more than a generation behind the rest of Europe. We also produce one third of the UK 's renewable electricity, although it has to be admitted that Britain under the Tories and Labour has been pathetic at generating renewable electricity.
I am involved at the cutting edge of international work to build green economic growth: I am absolutely certain this is the best way to safeguard Chelsea and Fulham's future prosperity. To give just one example, the Liberal Democrat policy to insulate every British home within a few years to a high standard would have been more useful than Labour's expensive and temporary VAT cut: it would provide jobs, it would help to cut carbon emissions and it would be fair to people like pensioners who live in - or fear - fuel poverty.
In the 1990s, I ran the London-based international body representing the international capital market which mostly provided low cost funding to governments across the World. My negotiations in Brussels and across Europe ensured that this London-based market could continue to operate and this safeguarded thousands of people's livelihoods in Chelsea and Fulham.
Before that, I was the European General Counsel of one of the world's largest companies having earlier qualified as a barrister with training that included stints at both the European Commission and at the United Nations.
Other Born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital, my first home was in the Royal Borough. After St Paul's School, I went to Cambridge where I read Economics and Law.
We can all do different things at different times to help other people. As Chair of a charity, to give one example, I have most recently been able to secure funding for two PhD students at Cambridge to study aspects of green jobs.
I support various bodies e.g.:-
Friend, Chelsea Physic Garden ( www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk )
Member, London Cycling Campaign ( www.lcc.org.uk )
Member, Green Liberal Democrats ( www.greenlibdems.org.uk )
Member, Green Alliance ( www.green-alliance.org.uk )
Airplot (anti third Heathrow runway) ( www.greenpeace.org.uk/climate/airplot/about-airplot )
Member, National Trust ( www.nationaltrust.org.uk )
Life Member, Royal National Lifeboats Institution ( www.rnli.org.uk )
Freeman, Corporation of London ( www.waterconservators.org )
Fellow, The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce ( www.thersa.org )
Associate, St George's House, Windsor Castle ( www.stgeorges-windsor.org/st-georges-house.html )
Member, Royal Institute for International Affairs ( www.chathamhouse.org.uk )
Fellow, Salzburg Seminar ( www.salzburgglobal.org )
United Nations Global Compact ( www.unglobalcompact.org )