Hexham election candidate profiles

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LIAM CARR (Labour Party)

Liam Carr is 37 years old, originally from Consett, County Durham, he is a lecturer in Healthcare for adults who want to retrain and work for the NHS.

Liam said: “I am honoured to be standing as your Labour candidate at the upcoming General Election. It really is going to be close and it’s a fight for the kind of society we want to be part of.

“When I’m not in Parliament, I will be visible in your community. I was born and brought up in the North East. I have a young family and I understand the challenges people face in these tough economic times.

“I will defend our NHS. The effects of wasting £3billion on a top-down reorganisation are being felt locally. Services in Hexham are under threat. I will vote to reverse privatisation and Labour will invest in our NHS.” Liam is branch secretary of the University and Colleges Union at Newcastle College, he has campaigned against redundancies and against opencast coal mining in rural areas.

He added: “I believe in fairness. The benefits of the so-called recovery are not being felt equally across the country. Cuts to council budgets have been disproportionate. We will build an economy that works for all, and not just a few at the top.

“This election is incredibly important for the future of our local area. Only Labour will safeguard local NHS services, reduce class sizes and re-invest in the future of our young people.”

DAVID NICHOLSON (UK Independence Party)

I have lived in Belsay, Northumberland, for most of my life. I was educated at South Shields Grammar School, have been married for over 40 years and have three sons.

I represented Stannington Ward as a Conservative county councillor for eight years. I stood in Ponteland West for Ukip in the local government elections and achieved 20 per cent of the votes. I was selected by Ukip Hexham Branch members to fight this year’s General Election.

I have been active across the constituency during this campaign, meeting and talking to you the voters about the issues which are causing you most concern, both nationally and locally. This promises to be one of the most exciting elections for many years and one which provides the best opportunity for real change.

Ukip is different – we say what voters are thinking. Also, we are not beholding to big business or the trade unions. We owe no one any favours and we fear no one. We will always do what is best for Great Britain and its people.

The other parties will tell you that a vote for Ukip is a wasted vote. Nonsense. If you vote Ukip, you get Ukip. That is how democracy works. If enough people vote for Ukip, Ukip will win. It is not complicated. The country is ready for change. Ukip can provide that change. That is the true value of real democracy and it is priceless.

GUY THOMAS OPPERMAN (The Conservative Party)

Fighting for a better future for Northunberland has been my top priority. Yes, sometimes that has meant disagreeing with the Coalition Government in Westminster – but so be it. For me, politics is about representing local people and putting our area first. When I was elected in 2010, I pledged to fight for more jobs and apprenticeships. Today, local unemployment is down by more than 50 per cent compared to its peak under Labour in 2010 and the number of local apprenticeships has doubled.

A stronger economy is also vital to help us protect our public services, such as schools and our NHS. My campaign for fairer schools’ funding has already delivered an extra £12million this year for schools in Northumberland. I have also been able to help secure an additional £5.6million in roads and pothole funding for Northumberland. Many of you will be aware of my own personal debt and commitment to the NHS – I will always be a strong champion of our local NHS services.

At this election in the Hexham constituency, it will be my name on the ballot paper. You will be able to cast your vote on my record as your local MP. If you think I have been a good constituency MP, then I hope you will lend me your vote come polling day.

JEFF REID (Liberal Democrats)

Jeff is a life-long Liberal Democrat, having helped his mother get elected to Blyth Valley Borough Council in the early ’70s while he was still at school.

He has served as a councillor for over 20 years. A seasoned campaigner, Jeff is enjoying being on the campaign trail.

“This General Election sees the country at a crossroads; turning to the left will see us borrow too much money and risks plunging the economy back into crisis; turning right will see needless cuts to public services and savage cuts in benefits. Only the Liberal Democrats offer a middle way – balancing the books and being fair to the less well off and those who rely on public services,” he said.

Jeff went on to outline the Lib Dem position by saying: “The five key points of our manifesto are fair taxes – raising the personal tax allowance to £12,500, taking millions out of paying income tax at all and giving working people a further £400 increase in their take home pay.

“Opportunity for every child by guaranteeing education spending from nursery to 19 with a qualified teacher in every class. “Quality health care for all by investing the £8billion the NHS chief says they need and equal care for mental and physical health.

“Protect the environment by passing five green laws that will fight climate change.

“Finally, we will deliver prosperity for all by balancing the budget fairly and investing to build a high skill low carbon economy.”

LEE CHRISTOPHER WILLISCROFT-FERRIS (The Green Party)

I was born in 1979, two weeks after Margaret Thatcher came to power. My father was a miner and was made redundant in the 1980s. This meant that my family was very poor; this experience has guided each direction my life has gone in, from my decision to become a teacher, to the work I do with my trade union, to my candidacy for the Green Party in Hexham at this year’s General Election.

I am a full-time teacher and a resident of Hexham. I am motivated by my deep love for where I live. We are incredibly lucky to live in what I believe to be the most beautiful part of the country. We must preserve our unique landscape for future generations. I am active with my trade union, NASUWT. A great deal of the work I do, both with my union and the TUC, centres on LGBT equality – specifically, ensuring that LGBT workers are safe from discrimination in the workplace.

I am standing for the Green Party in Hexham because I believe in fairness, equality and sustainability for all. I don’t feel that it’s unreasonable to believe that everyone should be entitled to a safe, secure, warm home. Neither do I think it is radical to support the notion that closing tax loopholes and introducing a Living Wage is the decent thing to do. I firmly believe that a vote for the Green Party is a vote for the common good.