Wansbeck election candidate profiles

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CHRIS GALLEY (The Conservative Party)

An active member of the Conservative Party in Northumberland for many years, Chris Galley has worked for Shell for over 30 years. He first started at the sharp end, making fuel deliveries in the North East. He has risen through the company and is now the company’s Scheduling Manager with global responsibilities.

He lives on his family’s upland sheep station in Northumberland and away from politics is a keen rugby player, representing Border Park Rugby Club as a loosehead prop. He is a member of the NFU, Amnesty International and the Church of England. Following his selection by the Conservative Party, Chris said: “I’m delighted and feel very privileged to be selected. I am determined to give the voters of Morpeth and Wansbeck a real choice at the General Election. Every vote matters. In particular I want to reach out to those who have not voted Conservative before.

“My priorities for Morpeth are to oppose the closure of County Hall, ensure that we get our fair share of investment projects (particularly for schools and health care) and protect Morpeth from excessive housing developments.”

TOM HANCOCK (Liberal Democrats)

Tom, who lives in Ovingham, is a political graduate from York University where he first became involved with the Liberal Democrats through the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign.

He strongly believes that the Liberal Democrats are the only political party to offer a balanced approach to the economy and the environment.

Tom says: “I believe there is an urgent need for political, economic and environmental reform in Britain today, which only the Liberal Democrats have the radical ideals and pragmatic solutions necessary to meet these challenges.”

Tom fully supports Liberal Democrat national policy to cut income tax by another £400 so that you pay no tax on your first £12,500 of pay; and the education policy which protects funding from nursery to 19 and provides qualified teachers in every classroom.

“Liberal Democrats delivered Pupil Premium and Free School Meals for five to seven-year-olds in the last Parliament. This shows Lib Dem commitment to education. All the other parties offer extreme policies in one form or another,” he said.

Voting Liberal Democrat at this General Election is a vote for sensible and reasonable policies.

CHRIS HEDLEY (The Green Party)

As a relative newcomer to the political scene in Wansbeck, most of you won’t know who I am. That’s fine, of course, as all it means is that it’s now my job to work hard for the people of Wansbeck and make a name for myself. I’m a husband and father-of-one with another on the way. Like most parents, I’m concerned about my children’s future. That’s why I decided to stand up and say ‘No more’ to the current political situation.

Austerity has failed and people are suffering tremendously. We have a housing crisis, sky-rocketing food bank use, extortionate tuition fees and very few good jobs being created. Now, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t give me much hope for the future. So why am I standing? Well the answer is simple. I’m standing to give every registered voter in this constituency the opportunity to vote Green, the opportunity to say no to business-as-usual politics and the opportunity to vote for a brighter, fairer future.

Like a lot of other people, I’m fed up with the broken promises and career politicians that have filled British politics for many years. A politics which seems to work for the few and not for the many – the complete opposite of how it should work.

MELANIE HURST (UK Independence Party)

Born in Ashington, I grew up in Stakeford. My father was a miner at Ellington Colliery and my mother worked in local Jobcentres.

I was a civil servant for over 20 years, working locally before moving on to manage the National Identity Fraud Unit; my final role before leaving was as the manager of the North East and Cumbria Area Fraud Investigation Services (Organised).

I love Wansbeck and it saddens me to see so little change or investment. There is no political will – the Conservatives treat us with contempt and Labour has become complacent – Labour expects to win so takes our votes for granted. Labour had 13 years to invest in Wansbeck and did nothing; we still have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 8 per cent and record levels of poverty.

In Wansbeck, I want see an end to hospital car parking charges, improved local rail services, priority housing for our veterans and local people, investment in our high streets generating business and creating real jobs, leisure facilities for everyone and better schools.

Don’t listen to the lies about Ukip – come to my public meeting at Morpeth Comrades Social Club and Institute on Thursday, April 23, at 7.30pm, and hear the truth about Ukip.

For the first time ever, you have a real choice, but to do the same thing again and again and expect a different outcome is madness so why keep voting Labour? We need change. Together we can get change.

Vote Melanie Hurst. Vote Ukip.

IAN LAVERY (Labour Party)

The first few years of the next Parliament will potentially be ones of significant change for Morpeth and those who live and work in a town we are so rightly proud of.

Some of the changes are already happening, with work starting on the Northern Bypass, the progress on the flood defences that I have been actively engaged in and some new house building. Others are still in the pipeline, but have already been comprehensively flagged up.

If re-elected as Wansbeck’s MP, my pledge is to continue working closely with statutory and voluntary organisations, local people, and the business and retail sectors to do all I can to ensure Morpeth develops in line with everyone’s hopes and wishes for it to be rated among the North’s premier modern market towns.

Having spent a considerable amount of time taking part in local events; being involved in talks about the town’s future; meeting with so many local people of all ages and from all walks of life, listening and helping them with issues of concern to them, I confidently believe that goal is well within our grasp if we all continue to work together as we have so successfully done since 2010 as Team Morpeth.