Friday 12 July 2024
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General Election: What are Newark candidates standing for?

The last time Newark constituency was under Labour control was between 1997 and 2001, following Tony Blair’s landslide victory over the Conservatives.

Boundary changes, which brought more rural areas into the constituency, went some way to helping the Conservatives reclaim the seat.

In 2001 former soldier Patrick Mercer was elected, and he represented the seat for the Conservatives until 2013, when he defected to stand as an independent.

In 2014 he resigned as an MP having been suspended from the House of Commons over allegedly asking questions in Parliament in return for money.

It triggered a by-election, during which the constituency’s most recent MP, Conservative Robert Jenrick, was elected.

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From here on, Mr Jenrick’s majority increased, and he secured his largest majority in 2019 with over 60 per cent of the vote share.

His political career has also progressed rapidly.

He resigned from his most recent position as Immigration Minister in December in protest over the Rwanda deportation plan, stating it did not go far enough.

The protest suggested he may have joined the race to become the next Conservative Party leader after Rishi Sunak.

However, the July 4 election this year may prove to be Mr Jenrick’s toughest challenge yet.

According to the polls, Labour and Reform are making ground here, meaning Newark is a hotly contested seat for the first time in 10 years.

Results in 2019 – Conservative HOLD – Robert Jenrick

Turnout: 72.2 per cent

Electorate: 75,850

Majority: 21,816

Questioning the candidates

Adrian Charles Amer – Independent

Why should people vote for you?

“They should vote for me in the upcoming election because they will be able to trust me. Unlike the Conservative administration, which is full of scandal, and like the Labour administration which probably will get into power nationally, you really don’t know what they’re standing for and the leader keeps chopping and changing.

“How can you trust either of them? How can you trust any of them, so people have got a decision to make about who they really, really want to put into power, in government, for this seat and trust them.”

Adrian Amer Independent LDRS
Adrian Amer, Independent

What are the most important issues in Newark?

“There are a load of issues. They vary on a local basis to a national basis. As you’re probably well aware, the flooding in winter was very, very bad and that’s got to be sorted about, because climate change is going to be an issue that’s going to get stronger and stronger.

“Crime is a big issue, being a criminal barrister for the last 40 years, prosecuting serious, sexual and violence offences I am very aware of the crime that exists in the area, soft crime, hard crime.

“Public transport, accessibility and affordable housing. We really need more affordable housing, not housing for the rich, but affordable housing and housing for the young people in particular and for those on limited incomes.”

What has Newark got going for it?

“Well, look at the marketplace, it’s one of the most beautiful market places in the country. The whole place needs to be upgraded. Newark needs to be put on the map in terms of tourism, get more small business, more medium business, more large business to help people get employment, more employment, fruitful employment, and invest in people.

“Not only invest in people but invest in infrastructure. But look at this beautiful marketplace, it really is gorgeous. It should be developed to its full potential.”

Collan Siddique – Workers Party of Britain

Why should people vote for you?

“Because this is one of the first elections where there is not really much different between a Conservative and Labour government and it’s very likely that Labour will win the country, so it is really important that Newark choose an MP that will hold the Labour government to account.

Collan Siddique Workers Party of Britain LDRS
Collan Siddique, Workers Party of Britain

“The things I want to do for the town if, I was to be elected over the five years, would be; to improve the roads across the entire seat, to return Newark Hospital to have an A&E instead of an Urgent Care, which would be 24 hours, and also the maternity ward, they both had those things in the past.

“The final thing I would want to do is I would want to look at the transport that connects Newark to other places in Nottinghamshire, so Bingham, Southwell, Nottingham, Mansfield, so they would be the things I would want to achieve.”

What are the most important issues in Newark?

“The main issue of this election is cost of living. So food prices have risen by 25 per cent in the the last two years after Liz Truss got in to power.

“Interest rates for mortgages doubled, so a lot of people in Newark will be struggling with their day-to-day costs, and the Workers Party have a policy in our manifesto which is to increase the tax threshold from £12,500 to £21,200 which would pull two million people out of tax entirely.

“And it wouldn’t punish small business owners, we are not necessarily saying raise the minimum wage, we are just saying remove that tax burden from lowest paid people in our seat.

“For every family as well it would save about £1,700 so if we are talking about young people struggling to get on the housing ladder, or paying for rent, it would free up £1,700 per person and they would have more money to save up for a deposit.”

What has Newark got going for it?

“It’s a lovely town, it is safe, I’m from a bigger city, I’m from Leeds,

“I moved here in 2020, for me it doesn’t have a lot of crime, it has some beautiful independent shops, coffee shops.

“Its a small town but it’s a vibrant place.”

David Watts – Liberal Democrats

Why should people vote for you?

“We know the Labour Party is going to win the general election. That has been obvious for weeks, so how we vote in Newark is not going to change that.

David Watts Liberal Democrats
David Watts, Liberal Democrats

“The question we have got for people locally is who is going to be best to represent us? Who can fight for us and who’s got a track record of fighting for us and I think I am that person.”

What are the most important issues in Newark?

“An awful lot of people are still concerned about flooding. We have far too much of that across the Newark constituency and that is something we have been very active in trying to get dealt with.

“Not only flooding but also dumping pollution into our waterways. I think 1,700 hours of pollution dumped into our rivers in Newark last year is scandalous frankly, and there is also a lot of concern here in Newark market place about anti-social behaviour.

“It has been a particular problem located in this area for the last couple of years.”

What has Newark got going for it?

“Newark is a fantastic area. We have all the history of the civil war, the new aerospace college, really good things like that.

“Across the constituency we have beautiful landscapes, museums of clock-making and of course we have the castle here. It would be an absolute honour to represent it in parliament.”

Robert Jenrick – Conservative Party

Why should people vote for you?

“It has been my privilege to represent Newark and this part of eastern Nottinghamshire for over ten years now and I think people are seeing that I have been hard working, accessible, and above all I’ve got things done for this community and that’s what people want.

Robert Jenrick Conservatives LDRS
Robert Jenrick, Conservatives

“They want a true local champion, who has national profile and experience, who can secure investment and make peoples lives better.

“I focused on transport, like securing the £500m for the northern bypass here in Newark, £100m for the southern link-road so we can fix the grid lock around Newark.

“I focus on education, so that wherever you live in the constituency your kids can go to good or outstanding schools.

“We rebuilt the Newark Academy, the Orchard School. I founded my own free school, of which I was a governor for many years.

“Lastly I’ve really focused on health and, in particular, making sure that Newark Hospital has a strong future. I saved the CT scanner, we’ve got a new operating theatre, we’ve got cancer services for the hospital, I’m president for the league of friends, I’ll always fight for the hospital.

“So I hope with support they can have a strong local champion and think locally at this general election.”

What are the most important issues in Newark?

“People do care about transport, and they can see that the £500m that I’ve managed to secure will be a game changer for Newark, it will end the Friday night gridlock around the town, help the economy to move forward so people can invest in the town.

“There’s clearly more to be done on the roads and I push the county council all the time to fill in those pot holes that are so annoying to people here in the town but also in the villages who rely on local roads.

“Immigration is a big issue and people I think can see that I am one of the strongest national voices calling for controlled and reduced immigration and an end to the small boats crisis.

“I resigned from Cabinet in December because I feel so strongly about that when I couldn’t secure any further reforms to our immigration system.

“And those people who are considering, in other parts of the country, voting Reform instead of Conservative, I hope here feel this is more counter-productive than ever, because here they have one of the strongest voices in the whole country on that issue.

“I think they see education has improved massively in this area. When I was first elected 60 per cent of the children in Newark were going to school outside of the town because parents didn’t have confidence in the local schools, now that has reduced to 20 per cent, a massive reduction, because we’ve now got two good schools, and a third one that I actually founded myself as a free school.

“I am now moving onto vocational and technical education, which matters to me, both my parents left school at 16 and became apprentices. I want to see really good quality vocational training and the first step in that road is the money that I secured in the town deal, part of which is going to create the new aviation engineering academy which we’ve just built on the old cattle market site in Newark.

“You shouldn’t have to go to university to get on in life and I want to make sure young people here in Newark have those routes as well as the traditional academic ones for them.”

What has Newark got going for it?

“My constituency is a really rural area of Nottinghamshire, so I am proud to represent over 130 villages.

“This is one of the most beautiful parts of the country and I want to keep it that way. That’s why I am campaigning against these excessively large solar farms, which will cover thousands of acres to spoil the country side, take away good agricultural land, harm our food security.

“I really worry what would happen if there was a Labour government, with Ed Miliband as our energy secretary who undoubtedly would just improve all of those solar farms.

“I’m also campaigning cross-party at the southern end of my constituency to turn the Vale of Belvoir into an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so that we can preserve that part of Nottinghamshire for future generations.

“The other thing I care really passionately about in Newark is the history and the heritage here.

“We are stood in what I think is the most beautiful and historic market place in the whole of the country and that is one of the reasons why I secured the £45m Town Deal for Newark which is paying for the restoration of historic buildings, the restoration of the castle, so it can be turned in to a new heritage attraction, historic shop fronts around us to be restored.”

Robert Palmer – Reform UK

Why should people vote for you?

“Reform is the only party at the moment that is standing against the Net-Zero march.

“We are spending now, £10bn a year on Net-Zero, I’ve heard up to £30bn, but officially £10bn, but everyone is ‘should we raise taxes?’ No, let’s just cut spending on the unicorn that is trying to change the temperature of the planet and maybe spend money on the NHS and child care and social provisions.

Robert Palmer Reform LDRS
Robert Palmer, Reform

“The the tax burden on heating is now 20 per cent, on petrol is 50 per cent. It’s all becoming too much. It’s all becoming far too much and all the benefit from all this extra taxation is now going into Net-Zero pipe-dreams.”

What are the most important issues in Newark?

“I haven’t had a lot of questions directly to do with the constituency. In a General Election people are a lot more broad in their approach about what’s going on.

“People’s main concerns just seems to be the hypocrisy of the the current state of the politicians.

“We have Labour and Conservative with almost identical policies on most of the major subjects, and a complete inability to deal with immigration.

“Immigration is an issue. I was told off by my own party for saying that it was more of a legal issue than a physical one, because I believe we need to reinstate the veto that Tony Blair removed, so we can deport anyone we deem fit to deport.

“We’ve had a lot of people in the hustings saying that this election people can vote for English laws, but we still can’t, because until we leave the ECHR we all know, and everyone knows this, they know were still bound by the ECHR.

“We’ve not really become a free England until we’ve left it.  But local issues, I haven’t heard a lot about local issues.”

What has Newark got going for it?

“Newark has always been in the centre of the country. Transport links are second-to-none, we can pretty much get everywhere we want from Newark.

“It’s had a fine tradition of river transport and the A1, and and it has always been a hub. For thousands of years it’s been this little hub, a gem in the East Midlands.”

Saj Ahmad – Labour Party

Why should people vote for you?

“I was born and raised in Nottinghamshire and I am really proud to be from this part of the country. I really care about this area and I want to see the best for the people here.

Saj Ahmad Labour LDRS
Saj Ahmad, Labour

“People tell me after 14 years of this chaotic Conservative Government they are sick and tired of the corruption, the scandals, but also there is no focus on taking care of people and running our country properly so I really want to be part of a Government that will make a difference and make life better for everybody.”

What are the most important issues in Newark?

“The issues that come up most often are the NHS and the fact it is difficult to get an appointment, the fact there are very long waiting lists. I have met many people who are on waiting lists for operations. There are eight million people in this country on waiting lists so that is a big concern.

“Education, so ensuring their children have a decent education. Those are the two things that come up most.

“People are really responding to the Labour policies of improving our NHS, providing 40,000 more appointments per week, mental health specialists, but also support for schools with 6,500 more teachers, mental health specialists in schools, breakfast clubs in primary school, that will make a massive difference to an area like this where we have 30 per cent child poverty.”

What has Newark got going for it?

“This is a fantastic part of the country, an unsung part of the country, and our county.

“I think we have got so many things to be proud of. We have rich civil war links, we have got the minster, fantastic market towns like Tuxford, Bingham, Southwell, Newark, this area has so much going for it. I really want to fly the flag for this area.”

Both Matthew Darrington, of the English Democrats, and Lyn Galbraith, Independent, did not attend the planned interviews.

•  General Election: Full list of all candidates standing in Nottinghamshire

•  Election: When will you know your Nottinghamshire constituency results?

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