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Candidate Interview: Anne Milton – Conservative Party

Published on: 25 Apr, 2015
Updated on: 27 Apr, 2015

Martin Giles of The Guildford Dragon NEWS has invited each of the parliamentary candidates for the Guildford constituency to take part in a short, 10 question interview. Each response was limited to 100 words.

He has marked each response out of three for the directness and quality of the response as he sees it. See if you agree. Marks have not been subtracted if a candidate appears to have diverged from his/her party policy but this may be mentioned.

Anne Milton

Anne Milton

Anne Milton, Conservative candidate

1. What do you say to those who criticise the policy of more austerity? Where do you see further cuts being made or taxes raised in order to meet your spending targets?

We have significant debts which we have to get down. We can’t just keep borrowing more and leave our children to pay it back. We need a strong economy to fund our public services.

Youth unemployment is down by 150,000 and employment is up by two million. We will make further savings through departmental and efficiency measures, as well as through tackling tax evasion and avoidance. There are also welfare savings to be made through helping people back to work.

conservatives logoScore 2 – “Departmental and efficiency measures” is vague and the easy savings have already been made. But Anne has candidly admitted that the Conservatives would make further cuts to welfare.

2. How can we afford to maintain ever increasing demand on NHS services?

We can only maintain funding for the NHS because our economy has been growing and jobs are being created.

The NHS will remain free at the point of use and it will not be privatised. We have ring-fenced spending for public health for the first time, but it will always be a challenge to fund all the demands of health care. However, we cannot see health care in isolation anymore. We need to build on what we have done to keep people out of hospital, where care is expensive, with good support in their own homes.

Score 2 – Sounds like NHS funding depends entirely on economic growth. Could be making it a hostage to fortune and no admission that taxes might need to rise too.

3. Why should voters trust your party on immigration following your complete failure to get anywhere near to keeping your leader’s “no ifs, no buts” promise to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands?

Because we are serious about controlling immigration, unlike the Labour Party who actively encouraged it while they were in power. We didn’t achieve the target because we can’t limit immigration from the EU. Our successful economic recovery has meant more and more people want to come here to work from other EU countries. Only the Conservatives will offer the British people a referendum on whether they want to stay in Europe in 2017. Immigration from outside the EU is down significantly.

Score 2 – David Cameron should have known that EU migration could not be controlled when he made the promise. The slight reduction in non EU immigration, still larger than immigration from within the EU, is little to crow about. Will the promise on a referendum be kept if there is a coalition? Don’t hold your breath.

4. Would you vote to retain Trident?

I would vote to retain Trident. Our world has many different and emerging threats including ISIL. Our nuclear deterrent ensures that we maintain our influence across the world.

Score 3 – Direct and succinct.

5. Where do you stand on the EU? If your party wins a majority and significant changes did not come from a renegotiation will you advise constituents to vote to leave in a referendum?

David Cameron has made clear that he will renegotiate a new settlement for Britain in Europe, and offer the British people an in-out referendum by the end of 2017. I would decide how I vote when I have seen the new settlement. I would make sure people in Cranleigh and Guildford heard all arguments for and against. As I had the opportunity to vote in 1975, I feel it is important that our new generations get the chance to have their say.

Score 2 – Anne is also on record, recently,  as saying that she would need to be persuaded on the case for leaving the EU and our question was “if… significant changes did not come from a renegotiation”. Bit of a swerve on that.

6.  If necessary, would you prefer a coalition with the Lib Dems or UKIP?

I want a Conservative majority in May. I believe going into coalition with the Liberal Democrats in 2010 was the right thing to get the country back on track and considerable progress has been made over the last five years.

Score 2 – Of course Anne wants a Conservative majority but the question was “if necessary”. Nonetheless I infer that Anne prefers the prospect of the Lib Dems as coalition partners to UKIP.

7. Given that neither the Conservatives nor the Labour Party is likely to muster more than 40% of the votes cast do you think that “first past the post” is still the best and fairest electoral system?

I would never pre-judge the results of an election. No system is absolutely fair or perfect. A referendum was held in 2011 to give the public the chance to decide whether to replace the ‘first past the post’ system with the ‘alternative vote’ system. This was rejected by the electorate.

Score 1 – Stating the obvious and ducking the question. Of course no system is perfect – but it is likely that a couple of million SNP voters will be represented by around 50 seats and around six million UKIP and Green voters represented by just five. Many will think – that’s not democracy.

8. Do you agree with the Guildford Residents’ Association that the house building target for Guildford borough should be between 300-350 rather than the 650 figure put forward by Guildford Borough Council in the Draft Local Plan?

Before we can decide about housing numbers we need to decide whether we want Guildford to grow or to stay the same size of town. We then need to decide how many houses we need to achieve one or the other of those aims.

Score 1 – But who is saying Guildford should not grow at all? Of course there will be more houses built in the borough the only question is how many.

9. How do you rate the performance of Guildford Borough Council over the last four years?

Guildford Borough Council’s performance has been excellent in some areas, for example refuse and recycling, where local satisfaction runs at 97%, but there is always room for improvement.

Score 2 – I think the phrase is “damned with faint praise”. Anne is right to highlight the high performance of the council’s environmental services, the parks department is also very good – both probably more down to the council officers in those areas than the councillors. But the development of the Local Plan has, frankly, been a mess.

10. Why should a Guildford resident, in social housing and on the minimum wage vote for you?

Conservatives offer the best chance of getting off minimum wage, giving people more choices, giving people a hand up and giving everyone the opportunity to get on in life.


  • Record numbers from disadvantaged backgrounds go to university;
  • Two million apprenticeships created; we want three million more;
  • Minimum wage to rise by 3% to £6.70: £8+ an hour by 2020;
  • No-one on minimum wage will pay tax by 2020;
  • Personal income allowance raised to £10,500; £12,500 by 2020;
  • Pupil Premium introduced;
  • School standards improved;
  • We are extending the help to buy a home.

Score 3 – Some good measures here for those on lower incomes but I am not sure it will convince everyone, especially while higher tax rates remain relatively untouched and while some feel that austerity has affected most the poorer members of our community.

What do you think of Anne Milton’s answers and of Martin Giles’ scoring and comments? Your view is just as important. Have your say by using the Leave a Reply feature below.

Click here to see other candidate interviews.

These candidates are standing for the Guildford constituency in the general election:

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Responses to Candidate Interview: Anne Milton – Conservative Party

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    April 28, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Why should we believe “Call Me Dave” about allowing us to get out of the corrupt EU when he has tricked us and insulted us before? What about the cast iron guarantee on the referendum on the EU Constitution (aka the Lisbon Treaty) for instance – what happened to that?

    Apart from his broken promises and strange left wing policies the main problem for real Conservatives is that Dave is not a Conservative. I think it would be fair to say that by his actions he basically created UKIP.

  2. Dominique Kelly Reply

    April 28, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Typical response from the Conservatives in the area (and some Lib Dems) on housing numbers. There is no-one who is advocating no growth. The Conservatives in Guildford want excessive growth, blame the central government for forcing them to do it and then they support it.

    It was the Guildford Borough Council Executive and Guildford Conservatives who have set the tragectory of a “growth hub” for Guildford, driven by a non elected Enterprise M3 body made up of Guildford Conservative council leader, developers, engineers and house builders.

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