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Labour pick Medway Cllr Clive Johnson to stand in Sittingbourne and Sheppey for General Election

Former Sittingbourne school teacher and Medway councillor Clive Johnson has been picked to stand for Labour in the Sittingbourne and Sheppey constituency.

The Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour Party announced his selection in a Tweet last night.

Cllr Clive Johnson. Picture supplied by Medway Council (21169839)
Cllr Clive Johnson. Picture supplied by Medway Council (21169839)

It said: "We are delighted to announce that Clive Johnson is Labour’s prospective candidate for the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Constituency in the upcoming General Election.

"Clive lives in Rainham and is a councillor on Medway Council but he has been a frequent visitor to the constituency."

Medway council's leader of the Labour group Cllr Vince Maple tweeted in reply: "Congratulations. You will do a fantastic job. Sittingbourne and Sheppey Labour are brilliantly organised, hard-working and fun."

Cllr Johnson is Labour's spokesman for children's services on Medway council and is a supporter of Amnesty, CND and the Kent Wildlife Trust.

He has campaigned with the local party in elections since 2015 and currently works for Medway Citizens Advice Bureau.

Cllr Johnson was head of English for seven years at Fulston Manor School, Sittingbourne, and taught in Further Education. He holds a Doctorate in English with a specialism in the works of Charles Dickens.

He said: "From my time working and campaigning in Sittingbourne and on Sheppey I can’t help feeling that as far as this Government is concerned it is a left-behind forgotten community. My priorities are the NHS, education, housing and environment.

He added: "My family owe a great deal to the NHS because of my daughter’s Type 1 diabetes.

"I am alarmed at the situation in Swale where we have the worst ratio of GPs to patients in the country and I will be supporting moves by the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University to get more doctors trained locally.

"We are also suffering from a serious shortage of school places.

Medway Cllr Cllive Johnson standing for Labour in Sittingbourne and Sheppey 2019 (21183598)
Medway Cllr Cllive Johnson standing for Labour in Sittingbourne and Sheppey 2019 (21183598)

"It is these sort of social infrastructure problems that mean we must question the unrealistic housing numbers being forced on us by the current Government. What we need is a concentration on providing affordable homes for local people and social housing for rent.”

He is a member of Greenpeace and strongly supports Swale council’s drive to tackle climate change and diversity.

He said: "There are too many air-quality hotspots in Swale. We need to make our public buildings and homes more environmentally sustainable and we desperately need to improve our public transport”

He is in favour of proportional representation and votes for 16-year olds.

Cllr Johnson, who represents Gillingham South, stepped into ring after former Labour candidate Mike Rolfe quit the party after disagreeing with leader Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit. He has since joined the Conservatives.

Those who have already agreed to fight the election for Sittingbourne and Sheppey on Thursday, December 12, include Sheppey'sMad Mike Young of the Monster Raving Loony Party,Swale Cllr Ben J Martin (Lib Dems) from Faversham and working mum Evie Martin (Brexit). Sam Collins (Greens) has launched an on-line crowd-funding to page to pay for her £1,200 campaign costs.

Gordon Henderson (21173825)
Gordon Henderson (21173825)

The Conservative's Gordon Henderson, who won the seat with a 15,211 majority in 2017, is standing again.

Asked if he had been planning to stand down he said: “I will be 72 in January and in one capacity or another I have represented Sheppey for 30 years either as a Swale councillor, county councillor or MP.

"There was a temptation to call it a day because I think I have probably done my bit. But I did promise my constituents that I’d help to deliver Brexit and I’m going to stick to that commitment, even if it takes me until I’m 102!”.

He admitted: "December 12 is not a date I would have chosen. To be honest, I’d much prefer to be putting my decorations and Christmas tree up then. But we are where we are.

“There has been talk of a zombie parliament and I was sitting in it. It was totally paralysed.

Kent Online General Election logo 2019 (21173888)
Kent Online General Election logo 2019 (21173888)

"The government hasn’t been allowed to govern for the past two years. We need an election to resolve it. It is the only solution to this impasse so we can deliver what we promised the electorate.”

Nominations for candidates closes at 4pm on Thursday, November 14. The final list will be announced on Friday, November 15.

Read more: All the latest news from the Isle of Sheppey

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

For Kent election coverage click here.

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