We’ve invited each of the parliamentary candidates hoping to represent Dewsbury and Mirfield to tell us why they deserve your vote on May 7.
Richard Carter (Yorkshire First)
We want a Yorkshire where all who were born here, or have chosen this great place to live, work or play, are proud to call themselves Yorkshire folk. We have a larger population than Scotland, and an economy twice that of the Welsh, but with the powers of neither. We need first rate powers similar to the Scots – A voice for the region. For too long Dewsbury has fought with its hands behind its back. Unable to act, constrained by Kirklees and allowed to fade. We need to look again at how we have more say in how we are governed, locally and regionally. In Switzerland their equivalent of parish/town councils retain (not given!) 40 per cent of their taxation, a further 50 per cent goes to the region to deliver schooling, health, and other services, and 10 per cent to the national government. Meanwhile Yorkshire’s 1,225 councillors in 22 councils can influence around 1.5 per cent of their budget and have no say over health and other services. Most decisions are firmly taken in London. No unified voice for the region. We are bottom of many lists around education, health and child poverty, but are left at the whim of a national government that has consistently – whoever has been running it – left us with these poor outcomes. But we know we can do better. If we vote the same we will get the same. If we want real change we have to act. Use your vote to say Yes to Yorkshire.
Adrian Cruden (Green Party)
I’ve lived in Thornhill with my wife, Nikki, for 15 years and work in the charity sector. I’ve campaigned to save our local greenbelt and protect services at Dewsbury hospital. I was a councillor on Green-led Kirkburton Parish and want to see more local democracy across the area. Greens believe in a society where wealth is shared more equally and used more carefully. Our priorities would be to end austerity and instead invest in our country: introducing £10 per hour minimum living wage and increasing taxes on the rich and big businesses; building up our local economy by supporting small businesses, co-operatives and social enterprises. This will keep wealth in our area; investing in better local transport and taking rail back into public hands; keeping the NHS public and abolishing the PFI deals that have damaged Dewsbury hospital. We’d invest an additional £12bn in health services nationwide; breaking up Kirklees into local councils with real power; abolishing tuition fees and investing in education for all ages; not replacing Trident missiles but using £100bn saved to ensure our armed services are properly equipped and invest instead in a peaceful world. We opposed the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and voted against bombing Syria. I’m involved in politics to seek a fairer, happier society and to protect it for future generations. Greens are strong in the constituency – we took third place and more than one in every eight votes last year. Come and join us!
Steve Hakes (Christian People’s Alliance)
I am a theologian believing scripture to be God-breathed. I side with J R R Tolkien: man’s part is to discern, not create, ethics. In my opinion the main parties have leaders who even if Christians are ethical relativists, correctivists, seeking to redefine what they so choose without proper understanding of true ethics, an objective science. This has disturbed me into entering the political race. Hitler boosted economics at the expense of ethics; I put economics as subservient to ethics. My platform is to weigh all important matters – NHS, education, infrastructure, international trade, immigration – along true ethical lines (deontologicalism). I am a Christian, therefore a theist, particularly a monotheist. I have fundamental disagreements with Islam and with Judaism, yet basic monotheistic affinity: God is one, and is lord over humanity. Key terms of submission and covenant are my language. I would represent this unity in the political arena. Indeed, the term ‘arena’ reminds me that like in pre-Christian Rome, Christians are being targeted for persecution under the correctivist idea that all religions are equal – ie. equally invalid. Those today targeting Christians, may tomorrow be targeting Muslims and Judaics. The darkness of unenlightenment is in the political sky. A pollution of Nietzschean ethics. If atheism is valid, ethics is invalid, and ‘caring politics’ is logically a contradiction of terms. Logic itself would arguably be illogic, a self-defeating concept. I stand for good philosophy, good theology, good ethics, good sense.
Ednan Hussain (Liberal Democrats)
I am the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale and Kirkburton.
This is an area, I know very well. I was born here, studied locally and continue to live locally. I use local services and cutbacks affect me and my loved ones in the same way. I am proud of my town and will fight for real investment across the area. I will be a full-time MP, dedicating all my time and effort to helping the people. Like all in the town, I am angry at the cutbacks in services at Dewsbury Hospital. The merger with the debt-ridden Wakefield and Pinderfield placed it into debt. Sadly, the Conservative MP did little to prevent the merger and today we face the consequences, whilst he has moved on. I will fight to protect services at the hospital and I am pleased that the Liberal Democrats will invest an extra £8bn into the NHS. I am a firm believer in fairness and creating opportunities for all. I am pleased that the Liberal Democrats have recognised this and have introduced Pupil Premium, raised the tax threshold to £10,600 and created an extra £2bn apprenticeships. However, more needs to be done. The economy needs to continue to grow but opportunities must be for all and not a selected few. Whilst Labour will borrow and the Tories will cut – we will reduce the deficit in a fair way and one that does not risk the economy of this great nation.
I thank you for your support.
Simon Reevell (Conservative Party)
Before the election in 2010, I promised to put our constituency before ‘party politics’ and I have done that. I have supported the Government when it was on the right course sorting out the economy. I opposed the Government when I thought it was wrong over Europe. It has now come around to my way of thinking and a Conservative Government will hold an in/out EU referendum in 2017 – I have no doubt of that. I will always put our country and our constituency before the ‘party line’. Locally we have achieved much. We stopped the travellers’ site; we continue to fight together for the greenbelt; getting the route changed to bring the Olympic torch to Dewsbury led to a day many of us will always remember. I have challenged the beliefs of some influential groups over issues such as counter-terrorism and I will always put what’s right ahead of what’s easy, as I did when I supported the consultant-led changes at Dewsbury Hospital. I will never say one thing to you in public and another in private. If you’re one of the 15,000 people the office has helped or if you’ve come to see me at one of the 300 street stalls I’ve held, it’s been a pleasure. It’s also been a privilege. It can continue both here and nationally, but only with your support.
Paula Sherriff (Labour Party)
My parents taught me about the value of hard work, and that to make a difference in life you need to care about people. Local people are suffering, and I care too much for our community to sit quietly on the side-lines and let it happen. Things need to change, and I am the only candidate with the drive and the passion to make change happen. I’ve worked hard in every corner of our community, and I see great challenges facing our area, but also great opportunities. Our town centres are suffering, our hospital is under serious threat, and our young people face an uncertain future, struggling to get jobs and homes. And yet, we have strong and resilient communities with dedicated and hard-working people, and creative and innovative local businesses. What a difference it would make to have a strong voice to work alongside you to make the changes required in our community. Our community needs a hard-working, full-time MP to fight for you and your family. I’ve spent my working life standing up for people, from supporting victims of crime with the police force to working on the frontline of our NHS. I’ve spearheaded town centre redevelopment, and I’ve fought against the odds as a woman in politics. I promise to put you first, so together we can save our NHS, deliver a strong economy that works for all of us, and help our young people reach their full potential. I will fight for you – because you deserve better.
Mark Thackray (UK Independence Party)
No statement supplied.