We asked all 5 of the parliamentary candidates for Stone to send us their 2017 General Election Pitches
Since 1984, I have had the honour of serving as a Staffordshire MP and since 1997 as MP for Stone. I have always fought to protect my constituents – young and elderly, town and country, businesses and farmers and professional people, winning almost all my campaigns both nationally and locally, irrespective of party and in the national interest. I put your constituency and country first.
Locally, I have fought for and will continue to fight for Stone’s rural and urban superfast broadband connections for businesses and residents. I have campaigned successfully for Stone station to reopen – now with remarkable growth in annual passenger footfall figures, more than doubling from 48,000 in 2009/10 to 108,900 in 2015/16, and now consulting on potential new services for Barlaston station with residents and the Department for Transport. I successfully opposed wind turbine proposals with residents at Pingle Lane and in Cotwalton in Stone. I further supported residents affected by housing/development applications around Stone – Walton, Stone Business Park and Aston Lodge – consistently objecting to all such proposals wherever necessary.
On the HS2 rail project, I have voted consistently and petitioned against HS2 for constituents in Swynnerton, Stone and Yarnfield, holding public meetings, and will further petition the House of Commons with residents on the next crucial Phase 2a Bill. I spent much of the last year producing extensive dossiers to rebut HS2 arguments for Yarnfield railhead.
On promoting local business, I have campaigned and held meetings with local traders and local Councils for improved business opportunities and conditions – on Stone High Street, I am calling for an urgent Task Force, backed by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce and Stone traders, and for freer car parking, zero business rates for first year start-ups and with a Heritage and Tourism Trail & Centre.
In terms of locking in your economic progress, with the Conservatives in Government over past seven years, the UK economy has experienced its fastest growth in 2016 in all but one other of major advanced economies. With the Conservatives, we now have 2.9 million more people in employment, averaging over 1,000 jobs every day nationally since 2010, with 3 million apprenticeships. Unemployment is at 4.6%, the lowest level since 1975. We have provided an income tax cut for 31 million people. Since 2010, 4 million people no longer pay income tax. A typical basic rate taxpayer pays over £1,000 less income tax than when Conservatives came into government. I have been in ongoing discussion with local business people to see that we can maximise and lock in the economic progress for the protection, well-being and prosperity of the residents of Stone and throughout the constituency.
At this election, it is crucial to lock in your economic progress because the reasonable tax on private enterprise and business pays every penny of public expenditure, including the NHS – so we need the growth, enterprise and jobs, which the Conservatives will and have provided. On the NHS, for example, where I have strongly campaigned for the protection and improvement of NHS services at County Hospital (Stafford) and Royal Stoke, the Conservatives gave the NHS as a whole an extra £10bn. We will, after the election, increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8bn in real terms over the next 5 years and issue a Green Paper/consultation on social care/health proposals including absolute limit on care costs. The country now needs strong and stable leadership with Theresa May as Prime Minister and a strong Conservative majority to carry through the Brexit negotiations with the best deal possible and to lock in the economic progress we have made.
For decades, I have campaigned consistently and successfully inside and outside Parliament to preserve the right of my constituents and all British voters to govern themselves. In the Referendum in 2016, over 60% of the Stone constituency voted to leave, and I conducted my own personal, local campaign. To complete this withdrawal process and the negotiations and whether you were a Leaver, or once a Remainer, Theresa May’s Government and the country needs your personal vote for a strong hand in the negotiations to complete our withdrawal from the EU and a comprehensive free trade agreement, no European Court of Justice and our own Immigration Act.