Ahead of the general election on June 8, the Peterborough Telegraph asked the candidates standing in the North West Cambridgeshire constituency to explain in 400 words or less their policies on Brexit/the economy, the NHS and education if elected.
Next week, the PT will be asking the same of the candidates standing in the Peterborough constituency.
Our ever-growing economy consumes resources at a rate that cannot be sustained. Growth at any cost poses a terrible threat to the natural resources and the environment within which we live. We simply cannot continue taking more from our environment than it is able to provide. There is an assumption that when we see more economic growth, everyone will benefit. This just isn’t so.
The economy must serve society. At present we serve the economy and those that gain most from its unsustainable growth; individuals are put under increasing stress and the vulnerable fall by the wayside. As your Green Party MP I would work hard with local businesses in North West Cambridgeshire and in Westminster to create a local economy that delivers the services, jobs, housing and infrastructure that we need without exploiting either the environment or the people who live here.
When it comes to our health, we must stop treating healthcare as yet another market and do all we can to protect our visionary NHS. Local health services must be properly funded. As your Green Party MP, I will fight on your behalf to make sure the NHS is not broken up and sold off to private commercial interests but retained as a public service that has the needs of patients and staff at its heart.
As we face the daunting prospect of an irreversible ‘hard’ Brexit, we must strive to protect the many reasons why membership of the EU has been good for North West Cambs. I will lobby hard to secure the right of EU nationals to remain – this includes British people who have set up home elsewhere in the EU, as well as the migrant workers who contribute to the economy here.
Education should provide everyone with knowledge and skills to participate fully in society and lead a happy, fulfilled life, not just skills of economic competitiveness. As your Green MP, I would oppose the creation of exclusive grammar schools, campaign for the abolition of tuition fees and resist the endless testing our children currently endure. Our economy, Brexit, the NHS and education cannot be considered in isolation of one another. They are all essential aspects of a thriving society that puts people before profits and protects our environment for future generations. Only a Green Party MP truly understands this and only the Green Party can truly represent NW Cambs in Parliament.
This is the most important general election for a generation. Irrespective of how people voted in the European Union referendum, the fact is we are leaving the EU and the process has already begun.
Talks with Brussels will be complex and difficult and Britain needs a Prime Minister who can take on this demanding role. That person is Theresa May.
Having worked closely with Mrs May, I know she will provide strong and stable leadership to see us through Brexit and beyond, safeguarding our economic gains and ensuring our economy continues to grow.
We have made much economic progress, including cutting the deficit by almost two-thirds and securing record levels of employment.
That economic progress means more funds are available for public services. Conservatives have protected and increased health funding, providing more doctors and nurses in hospitals. We have spent some £11.7 billion a year on mental health, more than ever before. And we have improved patient care, treating people with the dignity they deserve.
Education too remains a priority for Conservatives, and I have personally spoken with successive education ministers regarding more funding for local schools.
This year, at more than £40 billion, the schools budget is at a record high and since 2010, there are 1.8 million more pupils being taught in ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ schools. And head teachers have more power over their curriculum, staff and budgets.
Turning to the constituency of North West Cambridgeshire, it is huge in size with one of the largest electorates in the country. The constituency ranges from the borders of Lincolnshire, through south Peterborough, down to the border of Huntingdon and villages beyond.
As a local MP for the past 12 years I have worked with many local groups and organisations on a number of diverse issues and helped thousands more on an individual basis on a variety of subjects.
In Parliament, I have served as a justice minister and as a minister for work and pensions, as well as being a government whip. I have introduced two Private Members’ Bills. One sought to increase the age range for breast cancer screening and the other was to give householders more rights in their own homes when confronted by intruders.
It has been a privilege to be a local MP and I hope people will vote for me on June 8 so that I can continue to serve the local community.
In this election there is a clear choice for voters in NW Cambridgeshire. Do you want an MP who will give you choice over your future or do you want an MP who will aid Theresa May and Nigel Farage in their quest to hurt you, your family, your schools and your hospitals?
I stand for something different; I stand for change, for a return to truth and honesty and for decisions based on facts not fictions. I have a strong track record of making a difference at a local level and I will do it again for NW Cambridgeshire.
The Lib Dems will fight to maintain access to the world’s biggest single market. Although we are leaving the EU, the deal reached must not condemn future generations to poverty. That’s why the Lib Dems want you to have your choice over your future. You should have your say on the Brexit deal in a referendum with the option to remain.
The NHS is a vital public service. It is clearly not safe in the hands of a Conservative government who have created one crisis after another. The NHS desperately needs more funding. The Lib Dems are the only party being honest in their pledge to raise 1p on Income Tax to pay for health and social care to secure the future of the NHS.
Over the last seven years it has been clear that the Conservatives’ economic policy benefits only a narrow minority. We can see the effects of those policies around us in NW Cambridgeshire in the empty business premises and the unemployed young people. As MP, my focus will be on delivering local jobs for local people.
Only the Lib Dems have a clear plan to invest in education for all. Under this government, class sizes have increased and schools have cut staff and reduced the number of courses they offer. Theresa May’s disdain for education and obsession with grammar schools will create an unfair society. We need an education system which meets the needs of all our children allowing them all to reach their full potential.
The Labour Party has let you down by voting with Theresa May on Brexit. Support me and vote for a new voice for NW Cambridgeshire, for a brighter future for your children and for choice over your future.
The first duty of an MP and the Government must be the welfare of the people of the UK. Everything else is secondary, and this question should be at the front of the minds of anyone in Parliament, “what is best for the people of the UK and my constituency?”
UKIP is portrayed as a single issue party, Brexit. This isn’t the case, but, until we are actually out, no other area can honestly be dealt with as the EU impacts on it all. As illustrated last year with the steel crisis, industry cannot be helped because of EU rules, the same with agriculture, and policies such as Labour’s nationalisation are irrelevant within the EU, as it would be illegal.
The terms ‘hard’ Brexit or ‘soft’ are a smokescreen. We are either out or not. This area voted to Leave by a significant margin, it needs an MP that supports this and pushes to deliver what’s right for the UK.
Brexit will allow better competitiveness and access in the worldwide market, which is growing. But, while the economy is doing reasonably well, it’s not feeding through to working people; wages have been stagnant and part of this is an over-supply of labour.
Decent pay and lower taxes also cuts down on benefits and allows more purchasing power, feeding the economy internally.
But we need to ensure that our future workforce is well educated, and this will only happen if we invest in teachers and schools, as against the cuts that are coming with the current government. Education needs to be what will work for the child, not a single system that tries to make everyone the same. It’s not just grammar, technical education is vital and ability should be about the child and not the ability to pay.
The NHS too needs investment, but also needs an organisation that’s fit for purpose. It has too many senior managers, trusts, directors, too few front-line staff, a convoluted access system which adds time and cost, plus pressures from free movement and the subsequent inability to plan. Money should be directed here and into education and services, not to foreign aid.
To sum up, Brexit must allow planning and investment in the UK, the economy, education and NHS, but we must cut wasted aid funding and redirect it into public services inside the UK.
What has defined the last seven years of Tory led government has been austerity, the systematic cuts of all public services. It has comprehensively failed as the time when the deficit to be eradicated has been put back from 2015 to 2018 to 2020 and now to beyond 2022.
Our public services are in total breakdown, bringing suffering to millions of ordinary people. Austerity is a con. The truth is it was always about cutting public services to pay for the tax cuts for the rich and big business, 40 billion in tax cuts by 2020, mainly to the wealthy. And we can expect five more years of the same. Labour on the other hand will deal with the deficit through growth.
Labour will invest in our economy with a fiscal stimulus for infrastructure and housing. While committing to no tax rises for low and middle income earners, Labour will claw back the Tory giveaways to big business and the wealthy to invest in the NHS, schools and education, police and judiciary, to stop the chaos that has broken out in our public services.
The other issue that will dominate the next five years is Brexit. The deluded arrogance of the Brexiteers has convinced them that they will be able to bully 27 nations into passive supplicants. But we are not the only proud, patriotic sovereignty in Europe.
The Tory’s belligerent posturing and name calling will bring more failure. Something they are only to ready to accept as they are slaves to their fantasy of the ‘Empire 2.0’, the so called “global trading nation.”
Once they have restructured our weakened, isolated and reduced country into a low tax business haven and third world sweat shop, our nation will be unrecognizable.
Theresa May will neither bring strength nor stability with her vacuous sloganizing. We can only expect weakness and chaos; and for the ordinary people, suffering. You cannot trust a word she says with her broken promises and U-turns, her contempt of debate and parliamentary democracy. While Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour will bring prosperity, justice and dignity and most of all a positive future for the present and future generations.