What the political parties in Harborough think about the forthcoming general election
With a general election now set for December, the various parties have started their campaigning for the Harborough seat. We approached the parties for their views.
Harborough MP Neil O’Brien said the UK’s first December election since 1923 was a fantastic opportunity to “break the deadlock in Parliament”.
Launching the local Conservative campaign he told the Harborough Mail: “The coming General Election is a chance to end the deadlock in Parliament.
“Prime Minister Boris Johnson has secured a great Brexit deal and it has already passed its first test in Parliament.
“Some 52% of people in our constituency voted to leave the EU - and it is essential their vote is now respected and not ignored.”
But Mr O’Brien, 40, stressed: “The election will be about more than securing a majority to end the political games and make sure we get Brexit done.
“If re-elected I will also ensure the government delivers on its promises to invest £450 million in our local hospitals and employ 20,000 more police.”
The dad-of-two, who was elected Harborough MP in the June 2017 general election, said he was honoured to serve the area.
“Personally, the chance to represent our constituency has been a huge privilege,” said Mr O’Brien.
“And if I’m re-elected I will press on with my own campaign to fix our broken planning system.
“I also want to finalise the Fair Funding Formula the government has promised - and so end the historic underfunding of our county.”
Zuffar Haq has vowed to win the Harborough seat for the Liberal Democrats in the ‘Brexmas’ general election.
Lib Dem hopeful Mr Haq, who lives in Oadby, said: “There’s every chance that I will become the new MP for Harborough.
“The Liberal Democrats did very well in the local council elections in Harborough as well as Oadby and Wigston in May this year.
“We can use those results as a platform to build on and launch us into this election in December.”
He said the Conservative government had let the country down across the board.
“They’ve failed on the NHS, policing, education and Brexit.
“We’ll offer a real alternative.
“We will let the people decide on Brexit and pour more money into public services, the health service and social care,” said Mr Haq.
Asked how the Liberal Democrats could afford much bigger public spending, he replied: “We’ll put up income tax by one penny.
“It’s vital that we improve public services so people will have to pay more tax to fund that.”
Darren Woodiwiss is currently raising his £500 deposit to fight the Harborough seat for the Green Party.
Mr Woodiwiss, 50, said: “I’m hoping to contest Harborough in this election for the third time.
“But we’re a small branch and don’t have a lot of money.
“So when I get home from work tonight I’ll launch a crowdfunding drive to fund my deposit and my campaign.”
Based in Market Harborough, the dad-of-three added: “We’ll also be supporting Green party candidates in Northampton and Charnwood.
“As for Brexit, we’ve been pro-remain from day one.
“We also want to ensure that the climate emergency isn’t forgotten.
“Back us and back our new green deal – renewable wave, wind and solar energy.
“We need to take a much more holistic view long term – building better quality, more energy-efficient houses for example.
“Sadly, voting for the Green Party is seen as a wasted vote because of our binary electoral system.
“So we want to bring about much-needed electoral reform – proportional representation – and establish greater equality.
“We’d give everyone a level playing field in society.”
Cllr Celia Hibbert,, Parliamentary Candidate For Harborough, Oadby and Wigston, said: "This election is a unique chance for real change, for Harborough and the country. It is about much more than Brexit. We have suffered nine years of savage cuts to public services and stagnant wages. These cuts have been felt keenly in Harborough, Oadby and Wigston and only a Labour government and Labour MP can change this.
"The Tories and our current MP talk just of undoing their own damage, putting back some of the police they have cut, reversing some of the school funding cuts. There is no ambition to genuinely improve the country.
"We have a positive vision that will create millions of skilled jobs, tackle climate change and properly fund the key services we all rely on like the NHS and education.
"I have the energy Harborough needs to deliver a more positive and sustainable future, not just tinkering with planning or forcing a bad Brexit deal through but investing in our Community and it's People so that everyone can fulfill their aspirations.
"Our policies are hugely popular and after doubling our vote in 2017 I am ready to be the Labour MP for Harborough."