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Who wants your vote in Faversham and Mid Kent?

By Alan Smith

There are seven candidates fighting for the Faversham and Mid Kent Constituency, which includes a large part of Maidstone. Last time it was won by Conservative Sir Hugh Robertson with a 17,088 majority, but he is not seeking re-election this time.

Gary Butler, Eng Dem
Gary Butler, Eng Dem

Gary Butler (Eng Dem)

Gary Butler is standing for the English Democrat Party, which said it was the only party standing with an English manifesto.

Mr Butler, 49, from Shepway, Maidstone, is a married security officer with three children. He said: “The Irish, Scottish and Welsh all have their own national parties, now the English have one.

“We should be able to exist without the burden of subsidising Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and without the burden of EU membership.”

Mr Butler said: “Thirty-three percent of the people in England now support English Independence.

“We should have the chance to promote our own English law and English culture.”

Hairy Knorm Davidson, Looney
Hairy Knorm Davidson, Looney

Hairy Knorm Davidson (Looney)

Hairy Davidson is standing on behalf of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. He lives in Wormshill, near Sittingbourne.

Mr Davidson, 62, has stood for election five times before - the last time he polled just 151 votes in the Rochester and Strood by-election and lost his deposit. Mr Davidson said: “It’s all about putting smiles on faces.

“People are really sick and tired of politicians stopping them in the street and shoving bits of paper in their faces. It’s much easier to make people smile than frown and they seem to love to have a moan about the other mainstream political parties.”

The father-of-two is a self-employed log merchant. He insisted his party had been at the forefront of some serious issues. He said: “It was Tony Benn who labelled us ‘loony’. But it was us who first came up with a number of proposals that the other parties have nicked. They include longer licensing hours, passports for pets and independent radio.

“We are out there not just to have a laugh, but to put out some alternative ideas.”

Michael Desmond, Labour
Michael Desmond, Labour

Michael Desmond (Lab)

Michael Desmond lives in London where he is already a sitting councillor on Hackney Council and where he still has three more years to serve. Educated at London University, he is a company director. He is a member of the GMB trade union and the Co-Op Party.

He said: “The forthcoming election will change everything. If we’re not careful, we could end up leaving the EU, forcing Scotland to depart from the UK after another referendum and causing banks, multi-nationals and industries to go elsewhere as a small-minded, shrunken Britain loses its way and its position of influence in the world.

“We need to take a stand against those who want to change everything – for the worse.

“We need to save the NHS, ensure workers get fair wages and help aspirational people in business by cutting business rates. We also need to stop the continual tinkering with education and the NHS and provide economic stability.

Peter Edwards-Daem, Ukip
Peter Edwards-Daem, Ukip

Peter Edwards-Daem (Ukip)

Peter Edwards-Daem lives in Headcorn and is married to Christine and has three children. His wife was among the first batch of Ukip councillors to be elected to Maidstone Borough Council last May. Mr Edwards-Daem is a convert to Ukip from the Labour party whom he previously represented for six years as a councillor with the Medway Unitary Authority. He founded his own swimming pool business and has served as a school governor and charity director.
He is standing on strong policy of opposition to building houses on greenfield land as well as his party’s national policies of withdrawal from the EU, reducing immigration, abolishing foreign aid and restoring weekly bin collections.

He said: “If elected, I will use my experience to fight to improve the quality of life and employment prospects for all of my constituents.”

As well as fighting the general election he is simultaneously seeking election as a Maidstone borough councillor for Park Wood ward.

Dave Naghi, Lib Dem
Dave Naghi, Lib Dem

Dave Naghi (Lib Dem)

Dave Naghi has contested the Faversham and Mid Kent constituency twice before. The father-of-three grew up in Maidstone, where he runs a construction business. He is concerned about road safety and excessive development. He is a Maidstone Borough Councillor for East Ward and is the centre manager for the Howard de Walden youth club. He has been a committee organiser of the Maidstone River Festival and is a trustee for Cutbush and Corral almshouses, chairman of Maidstone Sea Cadets and is a stand steward at Maidstone United Football Club.

He is a keen environmentalist and wants to save the area from the “disastrous” Maidstone Local Plan which is seeking to impose 18,600 homes on the borough.

Mr Naghi, 58, said: “The Lib-Dems have been standing up for ordinary people over the last five years by stopping the Conservatives making even bigger cuts. We have helped businesses create 1.8m jobs, delivered a tax cut for 47,000 local workers and secured the largest ever cash rise in the state pension.”

On local issues, he said his priority was “to fight against the threat to our countryside and villages caused by the proposed Maidstone Local Plan’s excessive housing target, and also to oppose the threat of large-scale inappropriate economic development at junctions 7 and 8 of the M20.”

He is also keen to find a better solution than Operation Stack and is a supporter of the CAMRA campaign to support local community pubs.

Tim Valentine, Green Party
Tim Valentine, Green Party

Tim Valentine (Green)

Tim Valentine, 55, has lived in Selling, near Faversham for the past 14 years. He is a professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is head of the forensic psychology unit. He is also a director along with his wife Viv of Valentine Moore Associates Ltd, a company supplying expert witnesses to the justice system. He has worked as an expert witness for such high profile cases as the murder of Jill Dando, the Lockerbie bombing, and the detention of Omar Deghayes in Guantanamo Bay.

He has led a campaign against fracking in Kent. He said: “I am standing because I passionately want to save local NHS services, make the minimum wage a living wage, and protect local people from the fracking industry.

“Only the Green Party will end austerity, rebuild public services, cut energy bills by improving energy efficiency, and tackle the deficit by making sure multi-national corporations and the super-rich pay their fair contribution of tax.”

He stood for the constituency at the previous election in 2010, polling 890 votes.

Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent
Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent

Helen Whately (Con)

Helen Whately is very keen to become an MP. She already stood for her party in the 2010 election for the Kingston and Surbiton constituency. At this election she had already been on the shortlist of Tory candidates for the Wealden constituency, the North East Hampshire constituency, the South Cambridgeshire constituency, the Bury St Edmunds constituency and the Banbury constituency before striking it lucky at Faversham and Mid Kent.

Born in Surrey, Mrs Whately, 38, has three children and lives in London. Her husband Marcus runs the energy company Estover. She went to Westminster School and then Oxford University.

She started her career as management trainee with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, before joining AOL Time Warner. She is currently a management consultant with McKinsey & Co, health care advisors to the NHS. She also found time to sit on one of David Cameron’s policy advice groups.

She said: “It is a huge honour to be standing for Faversham and Mid Kent. If I’m elected, I will listen, speak up and work hard. It’s a fabulous place to live and there is so much to stand up for.”

She said the main worry people had raised on the doorstep was “the development of hundreds of new houses being built on the edges of villages like Harrietsham, Lenham, Langley and others.”

She said: “On the other hand, many young people are struggling to buy a home. People are living longer and living apart, and together with immigration this means we need more houses.

“All in all, it’s about getting the balance right; we must look after what we’ve got and give the next generation the chance to own a home.”

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