We’ve invited each of the parliamentary candidates hoping to represent Batley and Spen to tell us why they deserve your vote on May 7.
Imtiaz Ameen (Conservative Party)
Mike Wood has served as Batley and Spen’s MP for 18 years. I believe I am the best person to replace him. I was born and raised in Dewsbury and live there with my family. I represented the ward where I live as a councillor in Kirklees and I am aware of all the issues that residents in our areas are most concerned with as those same issues affect me, my family and friends. If elected I will have three priorities. Firstly to ensure that Batley and Spen gets increased investment and gets a fair share from the regional funding provided by the Conservative government as the more jobs that are created the better people’s lives become. Since 2010 unemployment in Batley and Spen is down 46 per cent, but we still need to increase employment opportunities as only competition and security of a pay packet raises the standards of living for families. Secondly, we need to have the best schools locally to give our children the best start in life. Parents should have a choice where their child is educated and not be determined only by where their child was born and lives. Thirdly, we need top quality local healthcare. We are all concerned with the changes at Dewsbury Hospital and we need assurances that our families will be getting the best treatment when they need it the most. A vote for me is a vote for the improvement in the lives of the residents of Batley and Spen.
Ian Bullock (Green Party)
I live in Heckmondwike, and work in A&E. Daily I see the results of the damage being done to our wider society by this government. My daughter is my inspiration to join the Green Party. I want her to grow up in a hopeful world.
The world is running out of resources, and climate change is beginning to damage our civilization. We risk entering a scary world where our children face a much worse life than we have had. The other parties all speak the language of change, whilst letting the wealthy enrich themselves, destroying our country. We believe in a fair, happy and sustainable society that works for us all, rather than letting it decline. We want to: keep the NHS in public hands – end all privatization; build high quality homes that you and your children can afford; create a minimum wage of £10/hour. This is manageable; abolish tuition fees so our children can afford university and a life of greater opportunity; fight climate change and resource depletion. We care about your future, about your children’s future. We are honest, campaigning on what we feel is best for Britain, not our short-term political gain. If you want hope for the future, and a fairer and more equal society for you and your children, vote for us. I would approach my role as your MP with the same seriousness, dedication, and sense of duty I employ in my current job as a doctor.
Jo Cox (Labour Party)
On May 7 we face a choice. It’s a choice about policy; do you want tax cuts for millionaires or a mansion tax that will fund more doctors and nurses? Do you want a cut in tuition fees or more cuts to local services like our hospital? It’s a choice about values. I’m standing for Labour because its values of prioritising the many, not the few, making our society fairer for all and growing our economy in a fair and balanced way represents the type of country I want to live in. It’s also a choice about the individual who will represent us in parliament. This is the only seat I have ever sought election in and the only seat I ever will. I am proud to be from Batley and Spen, I know the area and the people better than anyone. This place is special to me. It’s not without problems but we can do more to make it better. I’ve worked all over the UK and the world helping some of the poorest and most vulnerable. I want to use all the experience I’ve had to be your voice in Westminster. Campaigning over the last year has been incredible, meeting so many of you and listening to your concerns. My campaign is based on your priorities. I will continue to do that. I will use every means Parliament and the office of MP offers to help improve our area, your life and the chances local people have. www.jocox.co.uk
John Lawson (Liberal Democrats)
I have lived and worked, with my family, in Batley and Spen for the last 13 years, mainly in Cleckheaton but also in Batley. My sons attend school locally. I have been proud to serve as a Lib Dem councillor for Cleckheaton for the last five years and was re-elected last May. I began campaigning against school closures in my community before I joined the Liberal Democrats but I found that their values of fairness in society, prioritising help for young families and the willingness to listen to and speak for their communities chimed strongly with my own. I have campaigned locally for good quality sports provision to be retained in Cleckheaton and for Spenborough Pool to be rebuilt, for improved road safety, to keep libraries and to keep our green spaces from being developed when it isn’t necessary. In the next government Liberal Democrats want to cut income tax by a further £400 for ordinary workers, guarantee mental health equality by spending £8bn a year on the NHS, protect education spending from cradle to college. We also need a fair deal for Yorkshire from the government so our communities can be prosperous and safe.My priority is still, as it was six years ago, to help children and young families, making sure that our schools are first rate, our children have safe homes to go to and that all children have a fair start in life.
Aleks Lukic (UK Independence Party)
The simple truth at the moment is only UKIP has listened to you and addressed your important concerns. The issue of open door immigration with 624,000 new arrivals last year. The £50bn to be squandered on HS2. The benefits being paid for nearly 50,000 children living overseas. The health tourism abuse of up to £2bn a year from our NHS. The government-backed levies adding 10 per cent to your energy bills. The profits you’ve seen moved overseas by international corporations. The needless involvement in foreign wars. Is it right that you are expected to pay for all of this? I can fight for a far brighter future with your support. An Australian-style points system for controlled immigration. A tax free Minimum Wage. An end to the bedroom tax and hospital parking charges. A relentless drive for cheaper energy bills. A house building revolution on brownfield sites. A new generation of grammar schools and vocational schools. A massive investment in dementia research. It is clear that these measures would transform lives and opportunities in our area. But will Labour, Tory or Lib Dem politicians do what is needed? How many chances have you given them? All they have managed to do is hand over your future to faceless EU Commissioners. And all those Commissioners want is your £55m a DAY! No one else is going to act on your concerns, so use your vote to elect someone who will! Vote UKIP, Get LUKIC – I know real change is within our grasp.
Karl Varley (Patriotic Socialist Party)
No statement supplied.
Dawn Wheelhouse (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
I am a local lead Unison steward and teaching assistant at an infant and nursery school. I have been involved in numerous local struggles. I was involved in a community campaign to keep Batley Nursery open (which was disgracefully axed by Kirklees council). I was joint secretary of Save Our Local Hospital Services (Dewsbury and District Hospital campaign). I am also the joint secretary of the Anti Cuts Alliance, which organised a successful lobby of Kirklees Council in February. I will face up to the challenges that Kirklees Council has imposed on the people of Batley and Spen and indeed the whole of Kirklees. The council has cut £69m off the budget, threatening jobs, services and communities. We need an MP who will fight to save all jobs and services and to protect our NHS. If elected I would only take a workers wage and give the rest of the inflated MPs salary to support campaigns against austerity.