Getting into poll position

April 24 2015

WHO to vote for in this year's General Election, is the question on many people's lips.

WHO to vote for in this year's General Election, is the question on many people's lips.

As residents prepare to go to the polls on May 7, Bishopston Voice has asked each of the prospective candidates for Bristol West to tell us, in their own words, why they are standing for the position and what they hope to achieve if elected as our MP.

Contesting for the seat, which covers Bishopston, Redland, Ashley, Cabot, Clifton, Clifton East, Cotham, Easton and Lawrence Hill, are Stephen Williams (Lib Dem), Thangam Debbonaire (Labour), Darren Hall (Green), Claire Hiscott (Conservative), Dawn Parry (Independent), Paul Turner (UKIP) and Stewart Weston (Left Unity).

Bristol West candidates

Claire HiscottName: Claire Hiscott

Party: Conservative

Occupation: Pharmacist

Why are you standing:

I live in Redland with my husband and two teenage children. I have lived and worked in Bristol for over 17 years. I have always worked within the NHS and have worked in every ward in the constituency. I have always had a passion for working within my community and am a local school governor and have been a keen volunteer and fundraiser for many local charities. My love for our city led me stand for local council, I was elected in 2013 as a councillor where I have worked to improve health, housing, transport and our green spaces.

Aims/priorities:

We need better public transport to solve traffic congestion. I have been campaigning for better local rail and bus services and will work for integrated public transport, including smart ticketing, better commuter services and sensible fares. We need to be building more affordable and sustainable homes, using our brownfield sites to best advantage. I am committed to seeing our young people reach their potential - ensuring the best training opportunities through quality schooling, apprenticeship schemes and access to university. I want to see Bristol Green Capital leave a lasting legacy for our area - focusing on healthy living environments, improving air quality and reducing our energy consumption.

Website: www.clairehiscott.org.uk

 

Darren HallName: Darren Hall

Party: Green Party

Occupation: Executive Director of Big Green Week CIC

Why you are standing in the elections:

I am fed up with the way the coalition government has undermined the fabric of our society through ideologically driven cuts to public services, and I am angry at the way big business can influence democracy. The Green Party has stuck to its values of social & environmental justice and I wanted to do more to help. I feel that I could do a great job in representing the interests of residents in Bristol West, as well as rising the profile on important issues such as housing, air quality, jobs and schools.

Aims/priorities:

My first priority would be to fight against the austerity budget and reverse the cuts of the last 5 years. Secondly, I would like to see Bristol have more devolved powers, so that we can finally set up an integrated transport authority to sort out the traffic nightmare in Bristol. Thirdly, we have to tackle the housing crisis by building more affordable homes.

Website: www.darrenhall.org.uk

 

Dawn ParryName: Dawn Parry

Party: Independents for Bristol (IfB)

Occupation: Head of government liaison, global fuel decontamination

Why are you standing in the elections:

Bristol West is full of quirky, shiny, arty independently minded people. I want to see my city flourish without the constraints of party political dogma. I've lived in Bristol since I was a teenager and in Bishopston for 13 years. I'm a successful entrepreneur, mum, wife, and carer. I’m committed to public service and promise to always HEAR, RESPECT and TRUST you. MPs should be governed and held to account by voters, allowing consensus decision-making, enabling Bristol self-rule. Let’s create a brighter, fairer Bristol full of opportunity, innovation and inspiration for all. Voters hold the ultimate power in their single vote on Election Day. Please make your vote create change.

Aims/priorities:

Enable pre-school child-care funding paid direct to parents who choose to stay home to care for their children themselves; create Transport For Bristol, a cheap, reliable, not-for-profit sustainable co-operative public transport system to include trains and Bristol People's Bus Co; legislate to make job-share MP status legal so we get better gender and equality balance in parliament; repeal Health and Social Care act 2012 and keep NHS free; reinstate free university fees; ditch Trident; stop right-to-buy council/social housing sell-offs. Legislate for better protection for tenants. Create new housing utilising empty office blocks with modular interiors to accommodate for families’ changing needs.

Website: www.dawnparry.com

 

Paul TurnerName: Paul Turner

Party: UKIP

Occupation: Self-employed independent telecommunications advisor to small businesses

Why you are standing in the elections:

I suppose I just got fed up with an endless stream of politicians, claiming they know what it’s like to try and make ends meet, but with it being blatantly obvious they have no idea what the ordinary men and women of this country are going through. I believe there is a better way for all of us and I have decided to do something about it, I want the opportunity to represent the people of Bristol West in Parliament and to fight for what is best for all those that live here.

Aims/priorities:

For me the NHS has to be paramount, I will fight to halt and indeed reverse the large scale privatisation by stealth that has been happening under the Coalition and the previous Labour and Tory Governments. For physical, mental and social healthcare to be given equal standing under the same umbrella, to provide total healthcare from the NHS, free to all UK citizens.
The lack of Social Housing and low cost starter homes in Bristol is bordering on the scandalous. This has to change.
I believe a liveable wage should be the minimum wage with earnings under £13000 pa being tax free.

Website: www.bristolukip.org

 

Stephen WilliamsName: Stephen Williams

Party: Liberal Democrats

Occupation: Incumbent MP

Why you are standing in the elections:

I love Bristol and have lived here for 30 years. I want to continue serving the city, creating jobs, attracting investment and rolling out more green initiatives. In my ten years as Bristol West's MP I've won £7million for the Bristol European Green Capital campaign; been given a UN health award for my work to reduce smoking; introduced the ‘Zero Carbon Homes’ policy as Minister for Communities to improve energy efficiency; and successfully lobbied the government for £66million for new school places and £5million to renovate Colston Hall. In the next parliament I want to do even more for Bristol!

Aims/priorities:

Liberal Democrats and I will ensure our NHS is properly funded, allocating £8billion extra per year to secure its future. We are the only party to have laid out costed plans to do so. We will be prioritising mental health; for too long this area has been neglected. I have overseen a huge fall in unemployment in Bristol West since 2010 - I will focus on attracting further investment to the city. We will raise the income tax threshold to £12,500, a further £400 tax cut to Bristol residents, on top of the £800 tax cut we have already delivered.

Website: www.stephenwilliams.org.uk

 

Thangam DebbonaireName: Thangam Debbonaire

Party: Labour Party

Occupation: Domestic violence prevention expert

Why you are standing in the elections:

I’m standing to be the Labour MP for Bristol West because Bristol’s a great city, with great people. We’ve got tremendous richness of diversity, culture, people’s skills and our values – and we need to make all of this work in a fairer way for all Bristolians. I’m proud to live in a city of Sanctuary, a diverse city with strong environmentalism and people who actively seek greater social justice – that’s a reflection of the MP I want to be, and the person I am.

Aims/priorities:

I want young people in Bristol to have opportunities to fulfil their potential, all homes warm, safe and energy efficient, a city which is actively developing renewable energy supply and communities who feel valued and protected.
My three guiding words are jobs, equality and sustainability. I want to be part of achieving clean air, the elimination of child poverty, equality of opportunity and excellent employment conditions. I want to contribute my 25 years in domestic violence prevention to making the city and country a safer place. I want to take on gender equality barriers and support women and young people to take a greater part in political and public life.

Website: www.debbonaire.co.uk


Correction notice: We would like to offer our sincere apologies to Independent candidate Dawn Parry for accidentally omitting her name from the front page of May's issue of Bishopston Voice.