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Who wants your vote in Tunbridge Wells?

By Alan Smith

There are six candidates standing in the Tunbridge Wells constituency.

Greg Clark
Greg Clark

Greg Clark (Con)

Greg Clark was born in Middlesborough in 1967. He attended his local comprehensive, before reading economics at Cambridge and gaining a PhD at the London School of Economics. He worked for business strategy firm, the Boston Consulting Group, before becoming a special advisor to the government. He was subsequently appointed the BBC’s Controller of Commercial Policy. He was a director of policy for the Conservative Party for four years before being elected as the MP for Tunbridge Wells in 2005.

He has since served as Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, Minister for Cities, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Minister of State in the Cabinet Office and most recently Minister for Science and Universities.

Marie Jones, Green Party
Marie Jones, Green Party

Marie Jones (Green)

Marie Jones lives in Sandhurst. She is the mother of two boys. She is a director of a company that produces energy efficiency reports for homes, and supports local companies installing energy-making or energy-saving modifications.

She said: “I see the responsible stewardship of the planet, its resources, and its inhabitants as an essential role of government, not an optional choice.”

She said she wanted to help the rural economy, by extending the reach of high-speed broadband, and getting more local produce into local shops.

She is keen to improve public transport for the villages, opposes new runways in the South-East, and advocates development of brownfield sites instead of greenfield for new housing.

She wants an end to the Trident nuclear deterrent in favour of “genuine international security measures.”

Kevin Kerrigan, Labour
Kevin Kerrigan, Labour

Kevin Kerrigan (Lab)

Kevin Kerrigan has lived in Tunbridge Wells since 2000. He is married to Isobel and has four children.

His career has been in IT, specifically computer networking, and currently contends with a 130-mile commute to work near Heathrow.

He is concerned about the NHS, particularly the recent report on Tunbridge Wells Hospital which highlighted poor leadership and cancelled operations due to lack of beds.

He said: “The A&E target of 95% of patients being seen within four hours has not been achieved since November last year.”

He said: “We are all being hit by cuts by national and local government who often make decisions without considering the impact on the communities they represent. An example being the plan to demolish the Royal Victoria Hall, Southborough, where it is clear that the local community wants it to remain.

“Although Tunbridge Wells is thought of as an affluent borough there are many people in Tunbridge Wells who have been adversely impacted by the coalition’s policies with hundreds being affected by the bedroom tax and thousands impacted by welfare cuts.”

James MacCleary, Lib Dem
James MacCleary, Lib Dem

James MacCleary (Lib Dem)

James MacCleary lives with partner Donna in Lewes and works in central London. He is a councillor for Lewes District Council.

He said: “It is crucial that there is real opposition to the Conservatives at a local level.

“I want people across the Tunbridge Wells constituency to have a real alternative. With our roads falling apart, no end in sight for the cinema site saga, and children’s football teams unable to play because of inadequate pitches, it is clear that an alternative is desperately needed.

“I am also keen to press forward with national Lib Dem plans to invest an extra £8bn per year in the NHS by 2020, dramatically improve mental health care, cut income tax by another £400 and not just protect, but increase, funding for our schools. All this while balancing the budget by 2018.”

Graham Naismith
Graham Naismith

Graham Naismith (Ind)

Graham Naismith lives in Langton Green. He is married with three daughters. He was a police officer for eight years and now runs his own business.

His manifesto includes a wide range of policies from tougher penalties for littering, to support for grammar schools, and the provision of tax relief and subsidies to boost alternative sustainable forms of energy.

He said: “Tunbridge Wells was long been one of the safest Tory seats in the country, but still 30 to 40% of voters don’t turn up to vote. I’m offering them an alternative.”

He said not being a member of a political party would be an advantage: “My focus will be wholly on Tunbridge Wells.”

Colin Nicholson
Colin Nicholson

Colin Nicholson (Ukip)

Colin Nicholson is a self-employed businessman from Pembury. He was born and raised in Tunbridge Wells and is currently branch vice-chairman of his party.

He is standing for policies that include no income tax for those on the minimum wage, the provision of more social and low-cost housing, the abolition of foreign aid, and a determination to preserve a free NHS. He shares his party’s national aims of cutting immigration and withdrawing from the EU.

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