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Profiles for Sittingbourne and Sheppey General Election candidates

With just three weeks left until the polling stations open, we asked all seven candidates standing as MP in Sittingbourne and Sheppey in the General Election on Thursday, December 12 to tell us why we should vote for them...

Gordon Henderson is standing for the Conservatives in the 2019 General Election in Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21889491)
Gordon Henderson is standing for the Conservatives in the 2019 General Election in Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21889491)

Conservative Party

Gordon Henderson, 71, lives on Sheppey. The former businessman is standing to remain MP in the seat he has held since 2010.

He said: "I am making no promises at this election other than to continue representing the people of Sittingbourne and Sheppey to the best of my ability.

"However, if I am re-elected, there are some things I will be doing. They are: 1. To support Boris Johnson in his efforts to ensure the UK leaves the EU by January 31, 2020; 2. Push for another secondary school on Sheppey to provide Island parents with a choice and reduce the pressure on schools in Sittingbourne; 3. Continue to lobby the Government to reduce the housing target imposed on Swale; 4. Press for an early start to redevelopment of the Stockbury Roundabout and for other local road improvements; 5. Seek Government help to encourage more doctors into our area; 6. Work with prison officers in their campaign to have their retirement age reduced from 68."

Sam Collins is standing for the Green Party in the 2019 General Election for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21824804)
Sam Collins is standing for the Green Party in the 2019 General Election for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21824804)

Green Party

Samantha Collins, 27, is from Sheerness. She was a teacher before giving up work to look after her children. She now works as a waitress and has launched an online crowd-funding page to pay for her £1,200 campaign costs.

She said: "We want to create a sustainable and equal society in which everyone has the same opportunities for healthcare, social care and education.

"Voting for me would mean a stronger voice to hold the Government to account on key climate and environmental issues such as housing and air quality.

"As a mother and a former teacher, I worry now about the future of the planet for our children and I see huge potential to make huge changes.

"We need to reform the education system, ensure the NHS remains free and public by stopping the Conservatives increasing behind-the-scenes privatisation and we need to provide social reforms such as the Green Party’s universal basic income to ensure that no child grows up in poverty and no one reaches retirement in poverty."

Monique Bonney is standing as an Independent in the 2019 General Election for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21824800)
Monique Bonney is standing as an Independent in the 2019 General Election for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21824800)

Independent

Monique Bonney, 46, who lives near Sittingbourne, is cabinet member for economy and property on Swale council and runs a holiday home business.

She said: "We cannot go on as we are. The final straw for me was when it took three days to book an emergency doctors appointment.

"Our NHS services, schools, and other public infrastructure; roads and public transport have not grown and in many cases declined even though there has been huge housing growth.

"We have an ongoing secondary school crisis that the Conservatives have failed to address.

"We cannot go on building houses based on the Conservatives' ridiculous housing targets.I would tackle this target. We must stop decimating our natural environment. We need housing for local people, better NHS services, more GPs, upgrading of our roads and schools and good jobs.

"There is no proposal from any of the other parties to bridge the major infrastructure gaps. I would seek to address these gaps.

"My view on Brexit? Just get us out."

Lee McCall - Independent candidate for Sheerness (21895615)
Lee McCall - Independent candidate for Sheerness (21895615)

Independent

Lee McCall, 38, is a coach driver from Sheerness. Until recently he helped run the Sheppey Summer Carnival with his family. He is an Independent on Swale council and a founding member of Sheerness Town Council.

He said: "Many of you from Sheerness will know me from six months ago when I was duly elected as your local councillor with 807 votes. Many of you then didn’t think it was possible for change to happen. But it did.

"Now is our chance for change on a much wider scale.

"If I am elected as your MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey I will lobby the Government to stop pushing Local Authorities to build houses without infrastructure first.

"We need to raise the standards of living. We need to create jobs, school places, social housing, improve infrastructure and get Brexit done.

"We need more doctors, dentists and nurses. We can’t keep slipping down this dangerous slope with another five years of Conservative rule. More cuts are surely yet to come."

Medway Cllr Clive Johnson will be standing for Labour in the general election for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21824874)
Medway Cllr Clive Johnson will be standing for Labour in the general election for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (21824874)

Labour

Clive Johnson, 58, lives in Rainham. He is a former Head of English at Fulston Manor School, Sittingbourne, and a former associate university lecturer. He is now a business development manager for the Citizens Advice Service.

He said: "I know Sittingbourne and Sheppey is a great place with fantastic people and enormous potential.But we've been let down by the Conservatives and years of painful austerity that make ordinary people pay the price of Conservative mismanagement.

"It's time for change.There is so much that I want for the people of Sittingbourne and Sheppey but they need a Labour MP who will be a strong and powerful voice, arguing fearlessly for their interests, arguing for proper school funding, decent social care for older people, investment in our NHS to ensure we have enough GPs and to cut waiting lists.

"We need investment in local infrastructure.We need to stand up for local people facing hunger and poverty and using food banks."

Cllr Ben J Martin (Liberal Democrat) for Watling. Picture: Swale council (21824967)
Cllr Ben J Martin (Liberal Democrat) for Watling. Picture: Swale council (21824967)

Liberal Democrats

Ben Jonathan Martin, 32, is from Faversham. He is the cabinet member for housing at Swale council.

He said: "I grew up on a council estate, went to a comprehensive school and have worked in retail and hospitality management for more than a decade.

"I’m dyslexic and have campaigned for schools to receive better funding to assess and support special educational needs and disability (SEND) pupils.

"I'm the Lib Dem group leader on Swale council and am dedicated to working cross-party in the interests of Swale residents.

"I’m standing because for too many people, things aren’t working as they should be. Working hard and playing by the rules is not enough to guarantee a happy, fulfilling and secure life for them and their children.

"My party has an ambitious plan for the future of our country where every single person and community can thrive.

"A vote for me and the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit and Build a Brighter Future."

Mad Mike Young is standing for the General Election 2019 in Sittingbourne and Sheppey on behalf of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (21902319)
Mad Mike Young is standing for the General Election 2019 in Sittingbourne and Sheppey on behalf of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (21902319)

Official Monster Raving Loony Party

Mad Mike Young is 68-and-one-quarter and lives in Minster. He says he is a retired mad scientist.

He said: "Brexit: The Loony Party originally proposed there should have been three choices in the referendum: in, out or shake it all about. Undeniably the third has come true. If we do leave then let’s embrace the rest of the world and we will have the oyster at our feet.

"Education: Reduce class sizes by making the children sit closer together.

"Health: Free canned laughter on the NHS.

"Environment: I pledge to super-glue myself to the cliffs of Sheppey in protest at the sea eroding our precious Island.

"Infrastructure: The major redevelopment of Rushenden no longer includes a marina. Instead, let’s build a space-port there to service the International Space Station. The 368 bus would have to be reinstated to ferry astronauts etc to and fro. The nearby Port of Sheerness handles huge quantities of bananas which are an ideal food to have while in space."

For more Kent 2019 General Election coverage click here.


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