The General Election is less than two weeks away.
As national campaigning resumes after the terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday, candidates for the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich seat have, in their own words, set out their stall – asking for your vote.
In 2015, the Conservatives’ Dan Poulter won 30,317 votes, a share of 56.1 per cent, to be returned for a second term. Labour’s Jack Abbott came second, with 10,173, boosting their share of the vote by 2.6 per cent. UKIP came third, the Liberal Democrats fourth, the Green Party were fifth, and English Democrats candidate Tony Holyoak was sixth.
The constituency has been held by the Conservatives since its creation in 1997.
-Dan Poulter, Conservatives
I live locally, near Framlingham, have a working background as an NHS hospital doctor, and am well known as a committed community campaigner who works tirelessly for the people of Suffolk.
As your local MP since 2010, I have fought successfully to protect vital heart care services at Ipswich Hospital and to keep open our much loved Hartismere Community Hospital. I have also helped secure over £30m of Conservative Government money to improve broadband services in rural Suffolk.
My 7 local priorities are:
- To continue to protect vital NHS services at our local hospitals and improve mental health services
- To continue to ensure delivery of better broadband services for Suffolk
- To fight for more money for local schools, to give every child the best start in life
- To support businesses in delivering more jobs, growth and apprenticeships for local people
- To continue to support Suffolk’s farmers and food producers
- To fight to protect our countryside from inappropriate development
- To continue to campaign for road improvements to the A140 to improve safety and traffic
But Theresa May and I are also asking for your support because this election is about deciding the future direction of our country, and an opportunity to secure the strong and stable leadership which Britain needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.
-Elizabeth Hughes, Labour
I would be a full time, dedicated representative who lives in Ipswich and has local family connections throughout East Anglia. I have 12 years’ proven experience of elected representation and I have a lot of life and work experience.
I support access to fair financial services for everyone – access to banking and affordable money management. I’m a supporter of the Credit Union movement and would extend this in Suffolk.
I believe in protecting the NHS and enhancing Social Care, giving both programmes the funding they need and ending the pay cap on public sector workers.
I believe in access for all to quality educational and training opportunities – they should be open to everyone who wants and needs them, at all levels, and free or affordable. Our poor and expensive transport infrastructure is a barrier to younger people accessing education and I would fight for better public transport services in rural area.
I will most definitely fight for local access to decent, sustainable and truly affordable housing.
I believe in workable and realistic rights for people to be treated decently at work, have good representation when needed and to see a right to paid holiday and decent wages supported in Parliament.
I strongly believe that there should be more support for working people forced to depend upon benefits, and that people who cannot work should be treated with respect and encouraged rather than dismissed and ridiculed.
-Aidan Van de Weyer, Liberal Democrats
How the next government shapes a new relationship with Europe will determine what kind of society our children inherit. I’m standing for election on June 8 because the course that Theresa May is setting for the county is ignoring the majority of us who favour keeping a open, strong and constructive relationship with the EU.
The Liberal Democrats also have realistic and progressive policies on health and social care funding, refugees, immigration, housing and education. In particular, we stand against any increase in selective schools, including more grammar schools.
I grew up in rural Cambridgeshire, where I now live with my wife and two primary-age children. I work as a business and IT consultant for small companies, but I am also actively involved in community politics, first as a parish councillor and now as a district councillor.
In this role, I have specialised in planning and housing issues on behalf of my residents and I have achieved real benefits for them: getting affordable housing built for local people; setting up a mobile warden scheme for the elderly; maintaining rural bus services; building rural cycle routes for use by people of all ages and abilities; protecting some of the most important green spaces in Cambridgeshire.
- Regan Scott, Green Party
Britain needs a different sense of direction, set by the real agendas of climate change, social stress, environmental degradation and frightening world events.
We believe the country can afford to properly fund a progressive welfare state. Austerity should start at the top of society, not the bottom.
We would cancel expensive new nuclear Trident submarines. Company taxes need to be paid, not cut. An energy transition programme could be a source of new jobs and wealth. Britain depends too much on banks, military exports and low paid services.
Electric cars are coming too slowly here. We are being left behind in the global race. Fossil fuels and nuclear power are no way forward.
Environmental issues? Chaotic housing provision, toothless planning, air and sea pollution and the degradation of nature could all be reversed by the strong new laws we propose.
Local government refinancing could come by extending the Council tax bands up from G and H to, at least, M and N.
Brexit was a mistake. We respect the vote but propose a referendum on the results of the negotiations.
European unity, warts and all, makes us stronger, not weaker in a fierce global economy.
- Stephen Searle, UKIP
I am a former Royal Marines commando and have just completed a four-year term as a UKIP Suffolk County councillor.
This included helping ‘needy’ children on the Permanence (adoptions and fostering) Panel. I have lived in Suffolk for well over 25 years.
Britain can achieve a FULL Brexit, breaking free from a Merkel-dominated EU. This is a safe Tory seat but vote for me to message the Tories NOT to backslide on cutting immigration, ending EU fees and regaining control over both our agriculture and fish stocks.
Suffolk is well placed to benefit from the growth in non-EU trade and we want to see more growth particularly in light manufacturing, agriculture and food products in the Constituency with job creation by small and medium companies.
Business can take advantage of the closeness of the port of Felixstowe to increase exports, utilising road links that need further improvement.
We want to cut immigration (and soon) as the resulting excessive population growth in the constituency is putting relentless pressure on local housing, the NHS, the police and roads.
We want to cut the bloated Foreign Aid budget allowing additional spending on the NHS and adult care, reducing bed blocking and providing extra money for Ipswich Hospital and Hartismere Health.