General Election 2017: Read each St Albans candidate's pitch to be your next MP
PUBLISHED: 13:28 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:22 07 June 2017
Read each candidate's manifesto for the role of St Albans MP, to be decided tomorrow.
This General Election is your opportunity to change Britain’s future and elect an MP who represents your values. The Liberal Democrats want to address inequalities in society, invest in world-class public services, protect the environment and invest in skills so our economy can compete in the 21st century. But BREXIT puts all of that at risk.
63% of St Albans residents voted for the UK to ‘remain’, and many more want the UK to stay in the single market. Yet, the current MP campaigned for Brexit and is supporting Theresa May’s UKIP-driven ‘hard Brexit, backed by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, to take us out of the EU, the single market and the customs union.
At best, any Brexit deal will leave key British businesses and workers worse off, and if handled badly, could be catastrophic. The future rights of young people to live, work, study, and travel in other European countries could be stripped away. Workers’ rights, environmental rights and protections for minorities are at risk. Only the Liberal Democrats are demanding that the people, not Theresa May, can and should have the final say on the Brexit deal.
A vote for the Liberal Democrats is also a vote to stop more harsh cuts to the NHS and our schools. The Government has refused to back our “NHS passport” plan to secure the rights of the 59,000 EU nurses and doctors. Liberal Democrats would guarantee the rights of all EU citizens living here and fund an extra £6 billion injection through a raise on income tax by 1p to secure the NHS, social care and mental health services that people need.
To ensure every child gets the support they need, our education system must be properly funded. It is our policy to protect school funding in real terms.
As a local MP, I would continue to campaign for a comprehensive review of outdated business rates that threaten our small businesses and pubs, and for the protection of the Green Belt particularly under threat from the rail and lorry freight terminal authorised by Conservative Minister Eric Pickles. As a commuter I also understand the disruption, frustrations and extra costs caused by poor train services – I would call for an immediate review of Thameslink’s franchise.
Local residents have told me that they are tired of having an MP who is out of touch, who doesn’t live here. I live here, shop here and commute from here. As your MP I would be a proud champion of our wonderful city and district and all it has to offer.
We live in unsettling times. By a very narrow majority the electorate voted to leave the EU, yet the current government appears angrily determined to place a freedom to pursue national self-interest far above any attempt to preserve the virtues of collaboration with our neighbours and friends in the pursuit of common goals. On the wider international stage, we are told that our Foreign Secretary thinks it is inevitable that the UK would support a US proposal to bomb Syria, yet we take in minimal numbers of refugees. Meanwhile, the UK is boycotting UN talks on nuclear disarmament. This is not the Green Party’s vision for our country!
The bedrocks of society, such as functioning National Health and care systems, non-selective schooling and (especially in the South East) access to affordable homes, are being eroded. How can it be right that with the financial crisis of 2008 so far behind us, 20% of the population lives in poverty, we have significant numbers of homeless, and the food bank has become a Great British institution?
The general election is a time to think of the common good. Tragically, we have a government that has wilfully ignored its legal obligation to protect its citizens from air pollution while tens of thousands of Britons die prematurely every year from its effects.
Public services should be for the benefit of the public, and not sold off in bits: the creeping privatisation of the NHS must be ended; and the railways should be brought back into public ownership as and when individual franchises come up for renewal. Talking of trains, the multi-billion pound vanity project that is HS2 should be stopped in its tracks.
This is the only world we have. Its welfare, above all things, should be the overarching priority for us all. It is close to fantasy to imagine that endless economic growth is possible when we have only one planet’s worth of rapidly depleting resources to share between ourselves and with generations to come.
2014, 2015 and 2016 were the warmest years on record. Climate change – driven by human activity and particularly by the burning of fossil fuels – is real, here and getting worse. We are committed as a country not only to an untried nuclear power station design at Hinkley C, but also to maximising the economic recovery of oil and gas. The Paris Agreement demands change, yet planning outcomes under our current government prevent more onshore wind farms being built and impose fracking on our countryside. Instead, we need an industrial strategy that will wean us off fossil fuels, and focus our technology and our engineering skills on renewable energy, energy efficiency and the reduction of our carbon footprint.
Over the past 12 years I’ve worked 100% for St Albans - no second job, no outside interests.
I’ve dealt with tens of thousands of personal cases and meet my constituents on a regular basis: in surgeries, on market stalls and in their homes. Residents know that if it matters to them then it matters to me. Tackling injustices on behalf of residents is what I do.
This doesn’t mean I can always please everyone. However, I believe in being accessible and accountable. St Albans’ voice in Westminster not Westminster’s voice in St Albans.
I think I’ve earned the right to say that I’m a tireless worker. I have asked hundreds of parliamentary questions and spoken in nearly 50 debates in the last year alone, covering topics such as: the NHS, financial services, housing, pensions, animal welfare, NI contributions, business rates and pubs.
I set up the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh and have led social action projects in Bangladesh to relieve the plight of disadvantaged communities blighted by poverty and threatened with global warming.
I work collaboratively with both councils and engage in all major consultations on your behalf. We desperately need a district plan to protect our area from developers and deliver the infrastructure we need. I have spoken out against the loss of office space in St Albans and fought tirelessly against the rail freight proposals. I am not a quitter.
I believe in openness and transparency. Unlike some MPs, who didn’t want to take the flak, I let my constituents know my personal views on our future membership of the European Union. Like my constituents I only had one vote, but after experiencing in parliament the slow erosion of our sovereignty, I campaigned to leave the EU.
I made myself available on doorsteps and in the market place in the four weeks in the run up to the national referendum to engage in debate. I do not duck difficult issues or hide behind weasel words for political expediency.
The country voted to leave and Parliament overwhelmingly voted to carry out that decision. However we voted then, we must come together now. We must forge a new relationship with our European neighbours and the world to get the best deal for Britain.
I will be campaigning on what matters most to the people of St Albans: housing, our NHS, education, transport, police services, the rail-freight site, plane noise, the environment, social justice, business and jobs.
There is no such thing as Government money, only taxpayer money and we must use it wisely. Without a strong economy we cannot have a strong set of public services. Without a strong economy we cannot support the weak and vulnerable.
Only a Conservative government can deliver the strong and stable leadership this country needs.
This is why I am asking the people of St Albans to put their trust in me again.
I have lived in St Albans most of my life and have devoted many years serving my fellow citizens as District & County Councillor, Magistrate, MP, school governor and much more - no other candidate comes anywhere near matching my commitment or service, and I want to continue that. My immediate priority is to ensure homes are built on the Rail Freight site - I was a lone voice in 2004 advocating this. Secondly to stop any further ward closures at our local hospitals. In addition to support small business in St Albans - I founded the All Party Parliamentary Group whilst our MP. Our schools are in financial crisis with predictions of local schools having to lay off staff - on average 2 at primary schools with up to 15 predicted at large secondary schools - this is a national issue. Recently our manifesto called for the renationalisation of the rail system - which I fully support - the French Government part owns our rail network! I support stopping the sale of Council homes without the commitment to replace one for one.
Remember the Lib/Dems have never won here, they came third behind me in 2015 - even though claiming they were in poll position and fielding a well known candidate - their own former National Policy Director, Professor Richard Grayson, says “I urge all Lib/Dem supporters to vote for Kerry Pollard - the one person that can defeat the Tories in St Albans” Dr Edmund Marshall - another prominent former Lib/Dem parliamentary candidate echoes Professor Grayson’s comments “Vote for Kerry Pollard - he can win”
I promise that I will work hard for all my fellow citizens if you re-elect me on June 8th.