GENERAL ELECTION 2015: In their own words - the candidates for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich
The Diss Express has offered each prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) 200 words to tell our readers what they would do for their constituencies locally should they be successful on May 7.
In Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Dr Dan Poulter will look to retain the seat he won in 2010.
He earned 27,125 votes at the last General Election, 50.8 per cent of the vote, an increase of 6.3 per cent from 2005.
This year he faces competition in the form of Jack Abbott of the Labour Party, Jon Neal from the Liberal Democrats, as well as driving instructor Mark Cole, who will stand for UKIP, and Rhodri Griffiths, who will represent the Green Party.
This year the seat will be contested for the first time by the English Democrats, and their PPC Tony Holyoak.
The Diss Express contacted the English Democrats for a comment, but did not receive a response.
Dr Dan Poulter: Conservative Party PPC
It has been a privilege to be your dedicated and hardworking local MP for the last five years.
The people of Suffolk are always my first priority, but when time permits, I continue to work part time, as an NHS hospital doctor.
It is my real life experience gained from working as a doctor: caring for people both young and old, that motivates me to improve the quality of life for the people of Suffolk.
I live locally near Framlingham and my priorities for rural Suffolk are:
1) To secure more local jobs and apprenticeships, and ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren.
2) Having already secured a £1.5 million refurbishment of Hartismere Community Hospital, to continue to fight for more patient services at Hartismere.
3) To protect our beautiful Suffolk Countryside from inappropriate development and overhead electricity pylons.
4) Having already secured £27 million of Government cash to deliver faster broadband for Suffolk, to ensure that each and every home and business gets a better broadband service.
5) To support our farmers and food and drink producers - including in the campaign to ensure more honest food labelling.
But to do these things, I need your support, so that I can continue to be the hardworking local MP that our area deserves.
Rhodri Griffiths: Green Party PPC
We are moving into the final stages of the most interesting general election for a generation.
Multi party politics makes the likelihood of a power-sharing administration almost inevitable. All three parties of the old order are seeing significant defections to the new challengers. We are on the cusp of a new era.
Clearly, Labour has about as much chance of winning in rural Suffolk as the Tories would have in the South Wales valleys. The Green Party, on the other hand, is gaining supporters and defectors from the Lib Dems, Labour and, indeed, increasing numbers of Conservatives who are fed up with being taken for granted. Locally and nationally, Green Party membership is soaring.
The Conservatives have shown contempt for rural communities: cutting bus services, presiding over a housing crisis, cutting assistance for the disabled and causing danger on our roads by allowing HGVs to hurtle along narrow lanes at 50mph.
Only one party is well placed to challenge the arrogant Tories in Suffolk. Let’s get rid of the Con/Lab stranglehold. Put the environment and social justice first and support the Green Party. There’s never been a better time to vote for what you really believe in.
Jon Neal: Liberal Democrats PPC
The Liberal Democrats have a track record of standing up for local people on the council and now we have a great record of delivering government.
As well as an £800 tax cut, which was a Lib Dem idea originally opposed by the Tories, £6.5m has come to schools in Central Suffolk through our Pupil Premium.
We’ve helped 3,000 local businesses to start up, got apprenticeships for 3,200 local young people and employment is up 4,900 in the constituency.
National issues affect us all, but while it’s important that the area’s MP tries to affect national policy, it is also important that he or she works with local groups to help improve services.
For example, if elected, a priority for me would be encourage some long-term planning for our transport infrastructure. For too long, people living in rural areas have been literally left behind.
Housing is a particular issue, both nationally and locally. We need to strike the right balance between protecting rural communities from over development and the need to build more housing to meet local needs and keep villages vibrant.
Locally our primary schools are under constant pressure to do more and better with less. We need to continue battling hard to keep our small schools at the heart of the community, viable and open.
Mark Cole: UKIP PPC
I was born in Brentwood but moved to Sudbury at the age of seven. I was educated in Bury St Edmunds.
I am a Member of the Institute of Car Fleet Management and worked on a number of high level government contracts at management level, with responsibility for budgets and staff.
I served in the T.A. Royal Military Police for 10 years, deploying to Germany and Bosnia.
I have run my own driving school for the past 10 years. I believe in democracy as much as I believe in the freedom of speech and our NHS.
Democracy should be ‘freedom at the point of delivery’.
It certainly shouldn’t be ‘privatised’ by the EU’s own warped brand of ‘freedom’. I am not a big believer in conspiracy theories, but when it comes to the EU, it is clear that the people of the UK have been taken into political union without their consent. And despite promises and cast iron guarantees, we are still no nearer a referendum.
If you select me as your MP, I will fight night and day to return democracy to this country - together with all of the laws and powers we need to make us great again. I will also work hard to pay off our debts, support our health service and give our children a future they can aspire to.
Jack Abbott: Labour Party PPC
I want to bring about a change to this constituency. My home. Our home. I want to make a difference.
They say don’t get angry, get even. But I am angry; I’m angry about the Bedroom Tax, the trebling of tuition fees, the removal of the Educational Maintenance Allowance, the reversal of sustainable green policies and the dismantling of the NHS.
I’m angry about our crumbling mental health provision, our children’s education, foodbanks and how the same people get hit time and time again.
However, I don’t want to dwell on the past. I believe that this Conservative led coalition has promoted and produced a society that is flawed; economically, socially and morally. I want us to look forward to the future. We need something better than another five years of pain where people are just getting by. We need to move towards a collective, positive, progressive change.
I am out on the doorstep everyday, talking about the things that matter to you. I’m offering a fresh start, a local voice campaigning for our communities right at the heart of Westminster.
I can promise you that I will give everything in working for a better future for this constituency.