We’ve invited each of the candidates hoping to represent Morley and Outwood to tell us why they deserve your vote on May 7.
Ed Balls (Labour Party)
As the General Election campaign progresses, it’s clear that here in Morley there are big choices about the future. Labour’s Manifesto is fully costed and paid for – no additional borrowing is needed to fund any of our commitments.
But we desperately need to save the NHS. I’m deeply worried about the situation in the health service. Waiting times are soaring under the Tories, staff are working under increasing pressure and privatisation is creeping in. Labour will invest in 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more doctors, guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests in one week – paid for by a mansion tax on properties over £2 million and a levy on tobacco companies. And young people in Morley deserve a brighter future.Labour will end exploitative zero-hours contracts, increase the minimum wage to £8 and guarantee apprenticeships. And by raising the levy paid by the banks, we will increase free childcare to 25 hours for working parents too. Finally, immigration is important for Britain but we need stronger controls so the system is fair. Labour will recruit 1,000 more border staff, stop agencies recruiting only from abroad and take action to stop dodgy employers exploiting cheap migrant workers. We will also reform European rules so people cannot claim benefits until they have lived here for two years.
I’ve spent the last five years working tirelessly on behalf of local people and will always fight hard for our area. Labour’s Plan would make things better and fairer.
Andrea Jenkyns (Conservative Party)
With belief, vision and by working together we can bring the positive change our area needs. I don’t believe in thinking small and short-term - we all want long-term security in work and retirement, to have a thriving local economy, for our NHS to be compassionate and fit-for-purpose, and a good education for our children that equips them with the life skills they need. This is only possible with a plan and for the last two years I have been working diligently with the community on a variety of issues across our constituency to make it a reality. As a campaigner for higher standards in our NHS I know that we can only have world leading health care if we have a strong economy to fund it. I have campaigned to give the people of Morley and Outwood a say on our relationship with the EU via an in-out referendum, which a Conservative government would deliver in the next parliament. As a strong supporter of the armed forces I am proud that our area does so much to honour our veterans, and I believe that Britain must maintain a robust national defence to meet the challenges facing us in an increasingly unstable world.I believe that actions speak louder than words, and I want to win your respect and trust, as I know that for far too long politicians have not delivered on their promises. If you elect me as your MP I will work my heart out for you.
Arnie Craven (Yorkshire First)
I’m a local man who was born in Leeds and spent part of my childhood in Outwood. After studying at Leeds University, I now work for a small business in central Leeds. Outside of politics I’m a long suffering Leeds Utd fan!
I’m standing for a political party many readers may not have heard much about: Yorkshire First. Yorkshire First was founded in 2014 by a group of people who believed too many decisions about our local area were made in Westminster. Yorkshire First, and I, believe that making more decisions locally would let us build a stronger and more prosperous Yorkshire within a fairer and more balanced UK. I believe with real devolution Yorkshire could, as London and Scotland have, make real improvements to our education system. I believe that with real devolution we could improve our health service, rather than being left at the mercy of unelected civil servants in Whitehall. I believe that with real devolution we could build a stronger economy that offers more support to small and medium sized businesses, the drivers of our economy, and works for everyone. Yorkshire First isn’t about where you were born or what sort of accent you have. It’s about people from all backgrounds coming together and saying it’s time to build a better UK. If you’re happy with how this country has been run over the last fifty years, vote Labour or Conservative. If you think it’s time for a change, vote Yorkshire First.
David Dews (UK Independence Party)
I am a Yorkshireman who has lived in the constituency for over 28 years, a Chartered Civil Engineer working on the design and construction of roads, drainage and flood alleviation schemes in the UK, the Middle East and Africa, organising a multinational workforce. For many years I have been involved with the local church and the Community Association where I helped prevent the sale of the community centre for housing, and organise its repair and re-opening.
I am now a councillor on Wakefield MDC, the only one to challenge the ruling Labour group over its budget and its treatment of council officers when outsourcing Council services. It was only when I became aware of the gradual take-over of our country by the European Union, and the way our leaders were steadily giving away our independence, that I became involved in politics. Previous generations fought for our freedom, but now we are being dictated to by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, with profound effects on our economy and way of life. The fishing industry has been decimated, energy supplies put at risk through the enforced early closure of coal fired power stations, and schools, housing and the NHS overwhelmed by the sudden influx of several million people. The established parties want to stay in the EU, and Labour won’t even trust us with a referendum in case we vote to leave. We can do better outside the EU, free of its over-regulation. Only UKIP is fighting for this.
Rebecca Taylor (Liberal Democrats)
I was born, grew up and studied in West Yorkshire and spent over two years as one of the region’s MEPs.I have passed many a pleasant moment in Morley and Outwood visiting friends who live in the constituency. A vote for me is a vote in favour of finishing the job of balancing the nation’s books fairly; the Liberal Democrats would cut less than the Tories and borrow less than Labour. A vote for me is a vote for Liberal Democrat policies that seek to create a stronger economy and a fairer society in which there is opportunity for everyone. These policies include: a further £400 tax cut for ordinary workers, strict new rules to clamp down and tax evasion and avoidance, increased free childcare for working parents, protecting education funding, and implementing five green laws to protect the environment and tackle climate change. Judging by the number of emails I have received from voters in Morley and Outwood, the NHS is a key concern to many people. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for the only party to have committed to providing the health service with the £8bn additional funding NHS bosses say is needed over the next 5 years, and a vote for putting mental health on the same footing as physical health. As MP for Morley and Outwood, I would listen to local people, stand up for their interests, and acknowledge all requests for assistance from constituents within 2 days.
Dr Martin Hemingway (Green Party)
The people of Morley have shown through the election of independent councillors that they want local control of planning, of the streets, of community services, they want housing and they want jobs, good transport and a world class health service. Theeds of Outwood are no different.Succesive governments have centralised services into Leeds and Wakefield, and then centralised even more with London. Planning has been moved to the centre, local authorities have little control; education control has been moved to the centre away from local control; the health service has been centralised and subject to privatisation. Everything has been subject to a policy of austerity for which there is no economic logic and which has forced cuts onto Leeds, Wakefield and Morley. The Green Party wants to move as many services as possible to the most local level possible, with local democratic control of planning, schools and spending; it wants to end the policy of austerity, spending to build the houses we need at social rents, to improve public transport (not HS2), to bring our Health Service and other public services back under public control, to create jobs, to keep an environment fit for our children and grandchildren. A programme of public spending rescued the economy from a deeper hole after World War Two, we need public spending now to put people into genuine work, and build a society an economy, and an environment worth living in.