Is the General Election just about Brexit? Peterborough candidates have their say

The Peterborough Telegraph asked the parliamentary candidates standing in Peterborough: Is this election just about Brexit?

Sunday, 10th November 2019, 6:00 am

Lisa Forbes (Labour)

While I acknowledge it is an important issue, it would be categorically incorrect to say that this election is all about Brexit.

For clarity, I consider myself a democrat, but a Tory deal will never protect our economy, workers’ rights and environmental protections. A Labour deal that offers these protections will be negotiated and then put back to the people in a confirmatory referendum within six months.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But this election is about so much more than that. Nine years of Tory austerity has left our schools in crisis, our NHS cut to the bone and our local services stripped back.

Children in Peterborough have been let down time and time again, unable to unlock their full potential after years of cuts to our schools.

We’re all aware of the pressures facing our NHS. It desperately needs fresh investment so that patients no longer suffer the consequences of austerity.

This election is an opportunity to bring back wealth, investment and opportunity to cities like ours that have borne the brunt of Tory cuts.

I was elected in June because people know that Peterborough deserves better. We campaigned on more funding for our schools, building more council houses and putting thousands of bobbies back on the beat. These are the issues that are important to people across the city. People want real change and it’s only a Labour government that can deliver it for the many in our great city.

Paul Bristow (Conservative)

We can make a success of Brexit. But the prospect of getting Brexit done and uniting our country are at risk.

Labour and the Lib Dems said the Prime Minister couldn’t get a better deal. They said he wouldn’t be able to remove the Northern Irish backstop. They said he couldn’t get this new agreement through Parliament. He did all three.

But as we were poised to leave by 31st October, Peterborough’s Labour MP and others voted for more delay.

This election is the opportunity to move on and get Brexit done. Boris Johnson needs a majority and Peterborough needs a new MP.

The recent by-election showed that a vote for the Brexit Party or the Lib Dems let in a Brexit delay Labour MP. At a General Election this is more important. A vote for anyone other than the Conservatives is a vote to let Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.

I have a plan for Peterborough. I want to ensure our city gets it’s fair share of the new police officers. We need resources to improve standards in our schools and more good school places. And we need to clean up our city so communities do not become dumping grounds.

Our city can be an even better place. I am committed to my plan to achieve this. But we also need to get Brexit done. We are close to doing this. Let’s not split the vote. Let’s vote for a new Conservative MP for Peterborough and get Brexit done.

Beki Sellick (Liberal Democrat)

Yes Brexit is key to unlock our deadlocked politics. This election gives us the chance to vote LibDem and say: “No, we don’t want this Brexit”.

Brexit has cost £76 billion so far; and in Peterborough we see more hate crime, more isolation, more poverty.

“Getting Brexit done”, any deal or ‘No Deal’ are all false promises: taking the UK egg out of a 28-egg EU omelette is only the first step. We will then have at least 10 years of uncertainty. We’ll need trade deals with every other country more than they need us. There will be a race to the bottom on everything: food safety, wages and health.

Promises that a different Brexit could be better are false too. We’ll get ongoing waiting, continuing waste, more divisiveness. We need to stop Brexit bleeding our country dry, so we can focus on three things people in Peterborough really want:

1. LibDems will build up our city economy creating more skilled jobs, focusing our local university on implementing science and innovation;

2. LibDems will build a fairer society with properly funded NHS and social care, police, transport and public services; and

3. LibDems will tackle the climate emergency, applying technologies and growing local businesses, feeding back to our economy and improving wellbeing.

A LibDem majority government led by Jo Swinson will #StopBrexit on day one, and get on with the job of improving people’s lives.

Joseph Wells (Green Party)

Brexit is beyond doubt the most divisive problem the country is facing. But we must not let Brexit cloud the other issues that matter.

The Green Party is committed to saying Yes to Europe and No to Climate Chaos. It is becoming more important each day for us to be tough on climate chaos and its causes. We are a generation that enjoys a thousand different advantages over any other, yet never before have we been so threatened by the climate emergency, austerity and inequality.

As a Green MP, I will campaign to bring public services back into public hands and strive to provide social and economic stability at a time when we need it most. We need to talk up the success stories of Peterborough’s hard-working doctors, nurses, police and firefighters who have been stretched to reach near impossible targets and continue to keep our communities safe.

Today, we need politicians who listen more than they speak. A vote for the Green Party in this election is not just about Brexit but a vote to change all of this for the common good.

John Whitby (UKIP)

So, we’ve got another election!

Predictably, this is being portrayed as yet another decision on Brexit, and of course to a large extent it is. Brexit has been the cause of the election, as the political pygmies in Westminster have been playing the usual political games with the decision we all made in 2016.

Brexit is indeed a vital issue for everyone in a number of areas. Our very democracy depends on it being delivered, we can’t have the situation whereby Parliament can happily debate, obstruct, delay and eventually try and overturn the will of the people. At what point does it stop?

But this is a General Election, we need a representative who will be a strong proponent for this city, not just Brexit! Not a party apparatchik who will do exactly what they are told, but someone who believes in the UK, in Peterborough. For that we need to look outside of the traditional parties.

The country, and this city, needs focus, not on the EU, but on education, policing, housing, healthcare, all the things that affect people’s lives on a daily basis. This has of course been promised by every party at every election and never delivered!

The reason is that the main parties are so tied up in their political heritage that they can’t look at issues with clarity, it’s always twisted to suit their ideology.

We must get away from this political ideology and just do what’s right for the people and the country.

Mike Greene (Brexit Party)

This election isn’t just about Brexit. It’s about democracy. It’s about who governs and how. Most of all, it’s about keeping promises to the electorate.

What happened to Brexit since 17.4 million (52 per cent voted in favour nationally and 61 per cent voted to Leave in Peterborough)? Well, over 450 MPs were Remainers before the Referendum and that number was virtually unchanged after the result - despite over 80 per cent of MPs being re-elected in 2017 on manifestos to deliver Brexit.

Our MPs believe they are our intellectual interpreters, our betters and not simply our representatives. They have ignored our instructions and their promises.

Locally, the first vote of newly elected Labour MP, Lisa Forbes, was to block Brexit. She had no mandate to do so. But she has consistently done so, right up to dissolution on 5th November.

Now is the time for a bonfire of all their vanities. We need a clean Brexit. The UK, free of EU rules, will have over £200 billion to spend on regional regeneration. The Brexit Party will invest in health, education, transport, broadband and end the death of our high streets by halting business rates for three years. And we will reduce the student loan interest rate to 0 per cent from the current, unfair 6.5 per cent.

How? Easily. By cancelling HS2 saving £100 billion; not paying the EU a divorce bill – now up to £65 billion; cutting the £14 billion a year aid budget by 50 per cent and spending the saving on UK needs.