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

Nottingham South has been in the hands of Labour’s Lilian Greenwood for 14 years – and in the current political climate there are few signs of this changing.

The constituency encapsulates some of Nottingham’s most important economic assets, including parts of both universities and the Queen’s Medical Centre.

While under Conservative control in the early days, it shifted in 1992 to become a safe seat for the Labour Party, running hand-in-hand with the party’s unfaltering control of Nottingham City Council.

Ms Greenwood took over from Labour’s Alan Simpson in 2010, when he retired.

That year, against the backdrop of the seat changing hands and the successes of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, her majority of 1,772 votes was the most marginal out of the three Nottingham constituencies.

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However, it went on to increase in 2015 and surpass 15,000 votes in 2017.

Despite the collapse of the Red Wall in Nottinghamshire in 2019, owing to the Conservative Party’s Brexit promises, as well as the rise and fall of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, Ms Greenwood managed a majority of 12,568 votes in 2019.

Her parliamentary career has been on a similar upwards trajectory, having been the shadow minister for transport, opposition deputy chief whip and, most recently, shadow minister for media, culture and sport.

Polls suggest the seat is once again safe in Labour’s hands. However there are those looking to take a punt at claiming it for their own, or at the very least chip away at Ms Greenwood’s lead.

Results in 2019 – Labour HOLD – Lilian Greenwood

Turnout: 60.6 per cent

Electorate: 79,485

Majority: 12,568

Questioning the candidates

Cath Sutherland – Green Party

Why should people vote for you?

“The main reason you should vote for me is because I stand for the Green Party, which is a fantastic set of ideas for changing the country, for modernising the country, to facing up to the issues we need to deal with instead of pushing them into the background and pretending they’re not issues.

Cath Sutherland Green Party LDRS
Cath Sutherland, Green Party

“Of course, like climate change, but also the cost of living crisis. We need to face up to the fact that we need to raise some taxes, taxes on the rich, taxes on owners of property, in order to fund a much better set of social services education, universal credit system, NHS.

“We need to change the attitude that you can’t mention the word taxes.

“We need to modernise our economy to move into the industries of the 21st Century, which a lot of them are industries connected with decarbonising our economy, renewable energy, insulating our homes, developing the associated information technology, the next generation of vehicles and transport, building good public transport, which politicians and business people all over the North and the Midlands say will be transformative.

“That’s a biggest single thing that’s needed to boost the economies of the Midlands and the North.”

What are the most important issues in Nottingham South?

“Probably, the main issue is the financial state of the council.

“The fact that the council is bankrupt and is unable to provide the desperately needed social services and support for disabled people, homeless people, and deal with the shortage of housing, with the shortage of reasonably priced rented accommodation, and all the other hundreds of services that the council that provides and that people absolutely rely on.

“Now they’re having to do it with a hugely reduced budget and the council decisions are being made by two commissioners who have no connection with Nottingham and have come in from the outside to do a ruthless hatchet job. That is one of the biggest concerns that the next government needs to address.

“I believe the Labour Party has said that they are not going to increase the funding for the local authorities for the foreseeable future because of their fiscal prudence, their attitude towards fiscal prudence.”

“So this terrible situation we’re in with our public services is set to continue.”

What has Nottingham South got going for it?

“Nottingham’s South has got everything going for it, it’s a fantastic constituency.

“It’s got two wonderful universities. It’s got the city centre with all the theatres, the music venues, the restaurants, the shops, it’s got a fantastic parks.

“It has got a huge numbers of small businesses, innovative start-ups that need to be helped and supported to grow.”

Christina Morgan-Danvers – Liberal Democrats

Ms Morgan-Danvers was unable to attend the interview. Party representative Lloydie James Lloyd stood in for her.

Why should people vote for you?

“I think Nottingham South was one of those areas for a start that voted to remain and we’re the only party that are saying, let’s get a closer relationship with Europe.
“Let’s get back into the single market. Let’s add billions to the economy. That’s important because local people need better jobs and better prospects, and it’s the Liberal Democrats who can deliver that.
Lloydie James Lloyd Liberal Democrats LDRS
Lloydie James Lloyd, Liberal Democrats
“Plus our manifesto is a bold and ambitious manifesto to help save the NHS, solve the crisis in care, and deal with the cost of living crisis. So we’re committed to bringing in 8,000 new GPs over the course of the first parliament.

“If you’ve ever sat on the phone, waiting for a GP’s appointment, you will understand why that is so important.”

What are the most important issues in Nottingham South?

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people who are just fed up with politics because they want it to work for them. They want the systems to work for them and that is why we would introduce a voting system where your vote actually counted for something, unlike in the safe seats here, where Labour are able to pile up huge majorities and take you for granted.

“They’re also disappointed with the way things have gone locally. In Nottingham South this summer we should have been having Splendour this month, and we’re not, and that is down to mismanagement by the local Labour council.

“so they have kind of had the worst of both worlds.They had the Tories cutting in Westminster and they’ve had the Labour Party bungling things locally, so it really is time for change and the Liberal Democrats truly offer that.”

What has Nottingham South got going for it?

“This constituency has so much going for it. Not only have you got Wollaton Park you have got people doing amazing things all the time.

“You will find out that there is a club, a society or an interest group that you never thought in a million years would exist, but they’re there if you scratch beneath the surface and there is a lot of people doing brilliant work.”

Lilian Greenwood – Labour Party

Why should people vote for you?

“Well, obviously, I’ve represented this area for 14 years. I think people know that I will always stand up for Nottingham South, raise the issues that matter to constituents down in parliament and frankly get things done.

Lilian Greenwood Labour LDRS
Lilian Greenwood, Labour

“We’re standing right here by the tram stop. When the coalition government came in 2010, the very first thing they did was shelve the tram extension and the widening of the A453.

“Even with Tory and coalition governments, I’ve managed to make things happen, like getting the solid wall insulation across Clifton, and then the further funding to do the same in Lenton Abbey and Radford.

“Imagine what I’ll be able to do if we actually secure a Labour government. I’ll be able to put those 14 years’ of experience to the service members here in Nottingham South, who I have the great privilege to represent, and I’m just asking them to continue to put their trust in me.”

What are the most important issues in Nottingham South?

“I think Labour’s five missions are very much focused on the things that people are talking to me about day in day in, day out. The cost of living crisis has hit really hard across Nottingham South. People need to have more money in their pockets. That’s why growing the economy is so important.

“Tackling high energy bills by setting up GB Energy, these are the things that are going to make a difference to people. We know that after 14 years of the Tories, our public services are crumbling.

“We’ve got very well-known issues in the National Health Service here in Nottingham, people waiting way over four hours for treatment in A&E, people waiting for ambulances, across the country there are 7.5 million people waiting for NHS treatment.

“So getting that investment in to the National Health Service, creating more doctors and nurses, and all the preventive services, that’s absolutely essential.

“Of course, crime and anti-social behaviour, you could go around yesterday, people will tell you we want to see action on that, we want to see more neighbourhood police on our streets, and we want to see investment in our young people, [like] Youth Hubs, to give people something positive to do that prevents them from getting drawn into the criminal justice system.”

What has Nottingham South got going for it?

“I guess the the best thing about Nottingham South is the people who live here. Nottingham has that reputation as a rebellious city, and I think that comes through in people’s passion about they don’t like to see injustice and unfairness, and they’re passionate about wanting to do something about it.

“They really look after each other, and when we’ve been through the worst of times in Nottingham South, as we have over the last 14 years and, obviously, the awful, horrific, violent incident a year ago, but even things that have happened in the last couple of weeks, with a load of residents in Lenton evacuated from their homes, is people pull together.

“We have incredibly strong communities, community groups, organisations, food banks, community meals. I think that’s one of the real positives about Nottingham South people and of course, there’s so much more I could talk about.

“We’ve got the best bus service in the country. We’ve got fantastic trams, beautiful green flag parks, we want to keep those things and build on those things and there’s much more that I want to do to make life better for my constituents in the years ahead, so that’s why I hope that they vote for me this Thursday.”

Mohammed Syeed – Independent

Why should people vote for you?

In a statement, Mr Syeed said: “Let’s keep it real.

“I am a social worker by profession and a lecturer in health and social care. I am not affiliated to any local political groups or nor do I move my loyalties around from one political group to another. I am the real authentic democracy.”

What are the most important issues in Nottingham South?

“Financial stability. Nottingham City Council is in financial crisis. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, sadly. Cost of living and social care, housing and homelessness, infrastructure and development. Environmental concerns.

“And, added to these, multicultural communities in Nottingham face several significant issues that any prospective politician should be aware of. These include:

1.    Deprivation and Poverty

2.    Health Disparities

3.    Economic Inequality

4.    Educational Disparities

5.    Council Financial Strain (as mentioned above)

6.    GAZA / Palestine issue

“Addressing these issues requires targeted policies that focus on reducing deprivation, improving access to culturally sensitive healthcare, supporting educational attainment, and ensuring economic opportunities are available to all community members.

“Engaging with community leaders and members to understand their specific needs and challenges is also crucial for creating effective and inclusive solutions.

“A further addition to this is that Nottingham faces several crime and disorder issues that again, are significant for any prospective politician to address.

1.    Violent Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour

2.    Substance Misuse

3.    Domestic Violence

4.    Youth Crime

5.    Community Safety Partnerships

What has Nottingham South got going for it?

“Vibrancy, multi-culturalism, community engagement and the willingness to open up to community cohesion.”

Shaghofta Akhtar – Independent

Why should people vote for you?

“I feel everybody should vote for me because I’m the only independent candidate that’s a socialist.

Shaghofta Akhtar Independent LDRS
Shaghofta Akhtar – Independent

“I’m also a specialist in public sector finance, I’m anti-war, and I’m the only candidate that’s actually talked about getting Nottingham out of bankruptcy.

“No other candidate has got the vision or discourse to do that, I will hit the ground running because, previously, I was chairperson of £7.1m of government funding.

“I was also vice-chairperson of £12m at the partnership council in the Hyson Green area.

“I was also a former civil servant. I raised the issues of deprivation in Nottingham right at the heart of government.

“I also worked in regeneration myself and I have direct experience on how to deliver projects that are cost-effective for the community?

“So I am the only person that can actually sort this city out.”

What are the most important issues in Nottingham South?

“We have a list of problems. We start off with the biggest problem of all, and we have a bankrupt city which has no money for public services, no money for investment. It simply has abandoned its people. They are now charging us for garden waste.

“We are paying one of the highest council taxes in the country, in return for what? We are not seeing those services we are paying sky-high council taxes for. Our streets are so dirty. People are concerned about the fortnightly bin collections. So I want to introduce weekly bin collections and start getting our streets cleaner.”

What has Nottingham South got going for it?

“That’s a very tough question, because right now, it’s very tough.

“People are choosing between heating and eating. It is great we’ve got the summer weather at the minute. The high cost of living is killing people, we’ve got a high intake of people going to food banks.

“Our working class are at the foodbanks and yet they’re working so hard.

“They’re working hard and yet they still can’t make ends meet. So, unfortunately, we don’t really have a lot to say that’s great.

“But what will be great is July 4 when you vote me in.”

Zarmeena Quraishi – Conservative Party

Why should people vote for you?

“I am looking at more of the local issues that matter to you, such as our public services are NHS, our education system, social services, our housing issues. They’re all in crisis.

“I know these are national issues too, but we’ve got a look at what have our current MPs in Nottingham done about these issues? What are they done for you?

Zarmeena Quraishi Conservative Party LDRS
Zarmeena Quraishi – Conservative Party

“If anything, everything is still going downhill, they are supposed to be your voice. They are supposed to be making that difference in our city, but our city is getting worse and worse and worse. I believe I’m the strong enough candidate to take on Labour in this city to make those differences and changes.

“I have plans in place for each of these public sectors because if we can get our public sector right, if we can sort those out, can we then build on employment issues, can we then build on other issues to make sure people have those public services that they deserve and that they need, and that their children need, as well what the elderly need too.”

What are the most important issues in Nottingham South?

“Sadly, it seems to be an issue of trust and there is a fight between Labour and Conservatives, that’s very clear. I know our track record over the last 14 years, lots has happened, and we’ve had three big incidents happen, which was the Brexit, it was Covid and it was the Ukrainian war as well.

“They are three big things that have affected the finances of this country and to you as individuals each and every one of you have been affected in some sort of way, but who do you trust now? I believe that we’ve finally got the right PM in place, Rishi Sunak.

“He understands the problems, this is an economic election that we’re going to face here and this economic election is going to affect every single one of you, which is why we need to make that right decision to get the right PM to tackle these issues, and knows how to tackle these issues.

“Our plan is working. We just need some time to make this work, and when I go back to the trust issue, I am some one you can trust because I’m very passionate, very dedicated to this community.

“I run my own social care company. In the space of two years, working within the constraints of social care, I’ve made differences, whereas if you look at Lilian’s track record over the last 14 years, at the same time we came into government, she’s done nothing.

“We need somebody in Nottingham who is going to fight with your voice, who is going to listen to you, is going to make those differences and get those public services back up and running and I’ve got a plan for each of those areas.”

What has Nottingham South got going for it?

“It’s the community itself. So, I’ve walked around the community. I’ve spoken to the people, people are lovely around here, they want that community feel back again, but they’re very disheartened by all the things that happened. But it’s the people that make the city.

“It’s not the financing, it’s not all the issues, it’s not me as politicians, it’s people that make a city, and if we can listen to those people and listen to their voices, that’s how we can make that difference and make Nottingham, and especially Nottingham South, a city that you want to live in, a city where you want to grow up your children, a city where you want to retire.

“A city where you want to set up a business as well. We have a lot going for us, but I don’t think Labour pushed our city in the right direction, but we can flourish.”

Paras Ghazni, of the Workers Party for Britain, and Mykel Hedge, of Reform UK, were contacted but did not attend an interview or provide a statement.

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

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

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