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Voting Made Easy? – Guildford’s Parliamentary Candidates At A Glance

Published on: 26 May, 2017
Updated on: 31 May, 2017

We don’t all have the time, or perhaps the inclination, to peruse all the party manifestos, attend local hustings or even watch party political broadcasts. But our votes are important, so here is a summary interview with each of the six parliamentary candidates standing in the Guildford constituency.

They were each asked:

  1. Why would you be the best candidate to represent Guildford in the next Parliament?
  2. What is your position on Brexit? Why would your position be best for Guildford?
  3. What is the most important issue Guildford faces? How would seek to represent Guildford’s interests over the issue and how could you use your position as an MP to effect remedial change?
  4. Would you always put constituency before party?

Mark Brett-Parry, Green Party

Why I’m the best
I am standing behind a fully costed manifesto that will deliver a fairer, healthier, greener society. I will fight to cancel the £3m budget cuts to Guildford schools and ensure year-on-year real-term funding increases across all levels of education. I will also tackle the housing sector, building affordable, efficient, and sustainable housing integrated with local infrastructure and protect renters with longer, more secure contracts, rent control, and abolish letting fees.

I will support the democratic value of referendums by giving the public a say on the final Brexit deal. This is essential for Guildford, a town heavily reliant on the EU.

Guildford’s most important issue?
The £43bn NHS funding gap and 40,000 nursing vacancies is a threat to all hospitals. It is essential we plug this funding gap and abolish tuition fees for nurse training and ensure all non-UK nurses are protected from the tier 2 immigration threshold, a position that currently threatens thousands of nurses with deportation.

Constituency first?

An MP is not elected by party members. First, they represent the constituents who elected them and should vote accordingly. When an MP votes along Party-lines in every parliamentary vote over a decade, it is unlikely they are putting constituents first.

Semi Essessi, Independent

Why I’m the best
Firstly, because I take democracy very seriously. I don’t have to divide my loyalties with a political party.
Secondly, I’m not going to make campaign promises. I think it’s shameful that politicians commit to policy on complicated matters ahead of time, instead of using all available time and information to deliberate on them.

I don’t think my position is especially important. What matters is the opinions and desires of Guildford constituents.
In the referendum we saw a clear majority favouring the Remain vote in Guildford. I think that needs to be reflected by our representation in parliament.
Many local businesses and services rely on a global talent pool. I think the priority is to secure EU nationals right to remain in the UK after Brexit – today people are leaving their jobs over this uncertainty.

Guildford’s most important issue
I think it’s the lack of effective representation, and I think Parliament needs to be held to account for this, not just in debate but through legal action as well.

Constituency first?
This is an unfair question given how the other candidates have all compromised themselves with party membership.
The answer of course, is yes, representing the constituents is the most important thing.

Zoe Franklin, Liberal Democrat

Why I’m the best
Our previous MP refuses to represent Guildford people. 
She ignores the will of Guildford on Brexit.
She shows lukewarm support for residents wishing to stop developer-led housing development.
I don’t do lukewarm.
As MP, I would represent and stand up for all people of Guildford, not just a few.

I respect the referendum result, however, I believe the UK is better off within the EU, and within the single market.
The Lib Dems seek a public mandate on how we leave.
It’s important we get the right deal for Guildford if/when we leave.  Guildford voted ‘Remain’ so we must also respect that decision/direction.

Guildford’s most important issue
Our Local Plan has long-term significance for Guildford and Cranleigh.  

New homes are needed, but they must be built in the right places at the right price, not where developers want them, and not large executive homes that maximise developer’s profit, but ones that serve the community’s needs best.

Constituency first?
As your MP I will represent all residents of the constituency, not just those who voted for me and even those who I don’t agree with.  I cannot envisage a situation in which I put party before constituency; I’m here to represent the people first!

Anne Milton, Conservative

Why I’m the best
I’m not a career politician. I trained as a nurse; worked in the NHS for 25 years; worked with social housing providers in the most deprived parts of the country. My background is at the heart of my politics – I’m a fighter and get things done.

I voted to remain but we now need to get on with it. I will fight to make sure what we need is reflected in the deal we get: recognition of our need for high-skilled and low-skilled workers; rights of EU citizens working here; needs of business including small businesses and the university. We need to flourish socially and economically. We need certainty.

Guildford’s most important issue
I’ve already fought and got over £25 million for infrastructure – working with people, being a strong voice is how you get things done. The challenges: how many homes; where they should be built; the right sized homes; using previously developed land; town centre redevelopment; need for better roads, trains, cycle routes; protection of our heritage, countryside and Green Belt: fostering a sense of community and supporting charities.

Constituency first?
Yes, understanding I may lose the Party whip!
I’ll always speak up for what matters to people here always putting them first.

John Morris, Peace Party

Why I’m the best
I would be the best person to represent Guildford in the next parliament because I would be taking to it, from the support of the people of the constituency, the concept of Positive Peace.  I believe this is not part of the agenda of any other party represented there.  Positive Peace is based firmly on the full range of universal human values and leads to the peacefulness we all desire.  This will come from my support for measures promoting the promise of a safety and security system no longer reliant on a military; an education system and a sound business environment founded on co-operation rather than competition; a properly-funded health and care system; good relations with our neighbours; acceptance of the rights of others; equitable distribution of resources and confidence and trust in institutions.

I accept that the UK is to leave the EU but fearful that this will worsen the country’s relations with our neighbours, thus threatening peacefulness.

Guildford’s most important issue
Guildford is overwhelmed by the car and must decide whether to build more roads, encourage people onto public transport – or something else.

Constituency first?
I would decide, issue by issue, whether to put constituency before party – it would be unrealistic to say otherwise.

Howard Smith, Labour

Why I’m the best
Guildford needs a member of parliament that will put Guildford’s interests first. As someone who was born and brought up here, I am very proud to represent my home constituency and would do my very best for the town and for the people of Guildford.

The Labour party’s position is the right one.  We are not calling for a headlong charge out of the EU, neither are we trying to put roadblocks in the way of a democratic referendum result.  If we win the election we will negotiate the best deal for the country, including the economy and jobs and then put that to a meaningful vote in parliament. That is the best position for the people of Guildford and for the country as a whole.

Guildford’s most important issue
The most important issue in Guildford is housing.  We have a housing crisis. We need to change the planning regulations at government level in order that we can get a sensible supply of affordable new housing in Guildford. So that young people can get on the housing ladder like the generation before them.

Constituency first?

The official nomination list:

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Responses to Voting Made Easy? – Guildford’s Parliamentary Candidates At A Glance

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 26, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    I have every respect for those of us who are prepared to put their representation on the line to stand as a candidate at the time of a general election.

    However, I have little respect for those who call into question those who have served this constituency perhaps better than those who have been our MP in the past.

    I am sure that I am not alone in getting tired of statements regarding the local EU Referendum result in Guildford. It was a national referendum and the majority of people preferred the UK not to remain as little more than a puppet under the undemocratic yoke of Brussels.

    We fought two world wars against European domination and millions died.

    Did they die in vain?

  2. John Lomas Reply

    May 27, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I would like to know how any vote on the resulting position after Brexit negotiations can possibly have a satisfactory result.

    It is a yes/no question with three possible answers:
    2)No, it is to soft
    3)No, it is too hard

    It is extremely unlikely that any one of those answers would carry an outright majority.

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