Published: 17:14, 14 November 2019
| Updated: 14:25, 06 December 2019
Now that election campaigns have officially kicked off, parties have chosen the candidates who will stand for each constituency.
MONIQUE BONNEY (INDEPENDENT)
Monique Bonney, 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 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.”
SAMANTHA COLLINS (GREEN)
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.”
GORDON HENDERSON (CON)
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) Supporting Boris Johnson in his efforts to ensure the UK leaves the EU by 31st January 2020.
2) Pushing for another secondary school on Sheppey in order to provide Island parents with a choice and reduce the pressure on schools in Sittingbourne.
3) Continuing to lobby the Government to reduce the housing target imposed on Swale.
4) Pressing for an early start to redevelopment of the Stockbury Roundabout and for other local road improvements.
5) Seeking Government help to encourage more doctors into our area.
6) Working with prison officers in their campaign to have their retirement age reduced from 68, which is far too late.
CLIVE JOHNSON (LAB)
Sittingbourne and Sheppey is not typical of the prosperous South-East. We have unacceptable levels of poverty that may be deep-seated but have been made much worse by the years of Tory austerity. The whole community is deprived of decent public services; the worst ratio of GPs to patients in the country and chronic shortages of school places and underfunded services.
The problems of poverty cannot be met by complacency. As MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey I will tackle these problems, raising employment opportunities through investment from pre-school children’s centres to further and higher education. We must improve the quality of local housing stock and we must attract health professionals into our constituency.
People want “Brexit done” but can we trust Boris Johnson not to sell out our employment, consumer and environment rights and our NHS if he wins a majority?
LEE MCCALL (INDEPENDENT)
Lee McCall 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.”
BEN JONATHAN MARTIN (LIB DEMS)
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.”
MIKE YOUNG (MONSTER RAVING LOONY PARTY)
Brexit: The Loony Party originally proposed that there should have been three choices in the referendum: In, Out or Shake It All About. Undeniably the third choice 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 superglue 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 Spaceport there to service the International Space Station. The number 368 bus service would have to be reinstated for ferrying Astronauts, etc to and fro. The nearby Port of Sheerness handles huge quantities of bananas which are an ideal food to have whilst in Space.
We are awaiting responses from the remaining candidates.