ELECTION 2017: Final statements from Berwick candidates

Who will you be voting for?
Who will you be voting for?

The General Election candidates for the Berwick constituency make one last bid to attract votes at the polling stations today.

Scott Dickinson, Labour

This constituency needs change, I think genuinely that voters were surprised when the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency woke up to a new Tory MP.

Our constituency faces great challenges, from the Government forcing huge developments on small towns to meet its targets without infrastructure provision, the fact that hard-working families are struggling and having to use food banks is something we need to tackle, our area is so beautiful which often hides the issues faced by our communities and the wrong type of representative would do little to challenge and tackle these.

We need a strong MP that will stand up against the £16million-worth of cuts to our local schools, one that will stand up for the 18,000 pensioners who are set to lose out in our constituency and the average working family who is set to lose yet more money from their pockets.

We need to unite to look at the issues we face, deal with the lack of good employment opportunities and ensure that the developments and investments are best targeted in areas that need them most.

We have a huge opportunity, nobody was expecting this election, nobody asked for it, but it can provide us with the change desperately needed. We have been doing our best with little resource and time, unlike the Tory machine that has the money and staff locally to bombard you.

One thing that’s reassuring is they cannot buy your vote and people are far cleverer than they often think, people are capable of thinking for themselves and demanding change. I urge people to think at the ballot box, do we want more of the same or do we want change, do we want someone that will stand up for the ordinary person?

I urge everyone to be bold, the Lib Dems lost all their seats in the local elections in this constituency, the only real opposition is Labour. Let’s put the constituency on the map. Vote for change. Vote Labour on June 8.

Julie Pörksen, Liberal Democrat

Over the last few weeks and over previous months, while fighting to save beds at Rothbury Community Hospital many people have told me how much you value and rely on our NHS. But people are scared the NHS is being systematically run down by the Conservatives, and won’t be there for us all in years to come.

I want to be able to reassure you. To tell you that the NHS is safe, that no Government will be cruel enough to take away our healthcare service, to cut, cut and cut again until there’s nothing left.

But I can’t give you that reassurance.

Many of us have witnessed the increasing pressure on our NHS. I’ve heard from people who have had to wait for hours in pain for an ambulance, then waiting even longer once at A&E. Yet my Conservative opponent described the threatened Rothbury Hospital beds as ‘underused’ – beds people in Coquetdale rely on for rehabilitation and end-of-life care.

People tell me they don’t want an MP who only thinks about their party – they want an MP who thinks first and foremost about the people they represent. For me, meeting, listening to and supporting people is at the heart of how I work. I’m pleased that my party, the Liberal Democrats, has proposed a 1p tax increase to fix health and social care. No one likes tax increases, but this money would restore and strengthen the NHS we all rely on.

We need an MP to listen to local people and who fights for local people, not an MP who follows the party line regardless and described herself as ‘Conservative lobby fodder’. I will never stop fighting on your behalf to protect local services for you. Please give me your vote today.

Thomas Stewart, Green

Voting is saying what sort of country we want to live in. Our elected MPs then manage the changes needed to get us there.

Do we still want to live in a society where household debts are at a record high; where students take on ever greater debt but banks get given £200billion and bankers huge bonuses? Or, would we prefer a fairer economy?

Do we still want social care rationed; NHS waiting times increased; over-crowded hospitals; patients put at risk and young people with mental health problems at record levels? Or, would we prefer to protect our wonderful NHS and social-care system, and reverse privatisation?

Do we still want loneliness among the elderly; police and security services slashed, strangers treated with suspicion rather than courtesy; food banks needed over one million times a year and disability benefits cut? Or would we prefer a more caring and compassionate society?

Do we still want ever-increasing numbers of HGVs on Northumberland’s roads; no new railway stations; further cuts to bus services and reduced funding for councils to repair our crumbling roads? Or, would we prefer a country that transfers freight to our railways and ports and invests in public transport that is owned by the public?

Do we want a country where fracking is promoted by the Government; where we are happy to pay £37billion for a Chinese-built nuclear power station. Or, do we want clean, renewable energy?

Do we want to live in a country where one party can win absolute power with only 22 per cent of the vote? Or, do we want a new and fair democracy, where everyone’s opinion is equal?

Westminster politics are broken. There is an alternative. The Green Party considers the future of our society, and our planet. We stand up for what is right. Vote Green.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative

It has been a privilege to represent Berwick-upon-Tweed in Parliament over the past two years.

This election, our nation faces a choice as to who is best to steer us through the challenging international climate we face. I believe we need strong, experienced leadership to take us forward.

As a Conservative MP with a Conservative Government, I was able to ensure the needs of north Northumberland were heard and acted on by Ministers. In just two years, I secured £293million for the dualling of the A1 (route to be announced this summer); £2million for the new Berwick harbour jetty to secure the town’s long-term growth; £16.6million for Northumberland’s roads and a new enterprise zone.

As the voice for north Northumberland in Parliament, I’ve ensured Ministers know the challenges faced by our rural communities. I lobbied hard – successfully – to have broadband considered by law as the fourth utility.

The Digital Economy Bill just became law and means customers are entitled to broadband speeds of 10 Mb/second. 83 per cent of homes in the constituency now have access to superfast broadband, and I won’t rest until it’s 100 per cent.

I have worked with Government to ensure the new mobile telecommunications network for the emergency services will also be available to consumers when it goes live in the coming years. That will revolutionise daily life for Northumbrians.

I’ve helped farmers battling EU red tape, backed our fishermen in their plans for the industry post-Brexit, supported communities in building neighbourhood plans, fought for better bus services and opposed plans for a new open-cast coal mine in Druridge Bay.

I have sent weekly email reports of what I do in Parliament and locally, and quarterly newspapers to all households because it’s important residents know what I am doing for them.