Harrogate and Knaresborough election candidates views: What should people look for in a party and a candidate?

11 December 2019

There are a unique set of circumstance around this general election. What do you believe are the main things that people should look for in both a party and a candidate when deciding how to cast a vote ?

Kieron George, Yorkshire Party, said:

When people go to the polls on December 12th, they will be voting for an MP that represents their area.
Harrogate and Knaresborough isn’t a seat where parties can get away with placing a candidate that doesn’t know the area on the ballot.

Our constituency deserves a local voice to address local issues. Our people have lived and understand those issues and so should their representative in the House of Commons.

I, Kieron George, and my party, The Yorkshire Party, are as local as it gets.
Only the Yorkshire Party can invest everything it has in our area. Other parties have to play balancing acts appeasing other interests.

The main thing to look for is a candidate and party who can deliver on the issues that deserve better in our area.
When you stand in the polling booth, you will be voting for your area. You will be voting for Yorkshire, no matter which ballot box you check.


Mark Sewards, Labour Party said:

Local residents should ask themselves which candidate is truly on the side of them and their family. As your MP, I’ll always put Harrogate and Knaresborough first. I’m independent minded and won’t shy away from standing up for the local community and fighting for a fairer deal for local people. As a teacher, I’ve seen the damage the last 9 years of Tory cuts have done to our public services. I’m determined to reverse these harmful cuts and see investment put back into frontline services like schools and policing.

Brexit is undoubtedly a crucial issue and I’ve made my position clear. I’ll back a public vote on the final deal and campaign for Remain. But I’d also urge voters to consider the other issues at stake in this election. From investing in local schools and hospitals, to bringing our failed rail service back into public ownership, Labour has a plan to deliver for ordinary people.

It’s also worth considering which party will combat climate change which is the greatest threat to our planet. Labour will urgently address the climate emergency, deliver a Green Industrial Revolution and build a zero carbon economy. This is an issue I’m incredibly passionate about and I’ll fight to keep it on the political agenda until we meet our ambitious targets.

People on the doorsteps across the constituency are telling me that they want to see real change. If you want a hard-working local champion for Harrogate & Knaresborough who can provide a real alternative, I urge you to vote Labour on 12th December.

Judith Rogerson, Liberal Democrats, said:

This is certainly a unique election. The outcome will determine the kind of country that we are going to be for many years to come.

When deciding who to vote for, people should look for a party and a candidate who will put the the people of Harrogate & Knaresborough first. Part of the reason that our country is in such a mess is that too many MPs have prioritised their own interests over those of their constituents. Both the Conservative and Labour parties are divided by infighting. In contrast, the Liberal Democrats have remained united over the turbulent past four years.

Harrogate & Knaresborough needs an MP who is clear and consistent in their views, but still willing to listen and engage with others even if we do not agree on every issue. With my background as a barrister, I know the importance hearing both sides of every argument and carefully looking at all information before making a decision.

I am proud of the Liberal Democrats’ positive and forward-looking manifesto that aims to create a brighter future for everyone in this country. However, first and foremost I will be an MP representing the people of Harrogate & Knaresborough and will always have their best interests at heart when making decisions in Parliament.

I have talked to very many residents in our area over the course of this election campaign. Almost everyone has told me they are fed up with the way politicians have behaved in Westminster. If we want to see a change in our politics, we need some fresh voices in Parliament. Simply re-electing the same people won’t lead to that change.


Andrew Jones, Conservative Party, said:

Each voter has their own idea about what they like to see in a candidate.  This might be based on their political viewpoint or firm views about a particular issue.  It might be based on their assessment of a candidate’s character.  I would not want to tell people what they should look for in a candidate but I can share what I think are the important factors.

The first is honesty.  When you speak to a candidate, when you read what they have sent you, when you see them in the local paper do you believe they are honest?  Does what they are saying ring true or does it seem hyperbole and over-stated?

Taking part in the democratic process as a candidate means you should respect democracy.  Do the candidates do that?  I believe that a policy to unilaterally revoke Brexit is fundamentally anti-democratic.  You cannot pretend the referendum never happened but some candidates do.

People like their MPs to be genuinely local.  I have lived in Harrogate since the 1990s.  I am involved with community groups and use the same services, roads and shops my friends, neighbours and constituents use.  I want to represent our community to the best of my abilities because it is the community in which I live.  I didn’t just move here to stand for Parliament.

I also think people like to be kept informed of what their MPs or candidates are doing through regular newsletters and emails.  I send out publications all-year-round along with local councillors.  I produce an annual report which details my activities throughout the year.  If someone pops up four weeks before polling day with a blizzard of leaflets through the Royal Mail people can see through that.

The leaflets highlight my track record of action.  This might be taking up issues from increasing schools funding to campaigning for more sustainable transport and successfully stopping a new road alongside the Nidd Gorge. It might be to promote local businesses exporting or working with the Convention Centre to bring more conferences to our area to support our retail centres.

I prefer to see candidates who are positive.  They tell you why you should support them rather than run down their opponents.  They tell you what they have done locally rather than try and con you into voting for someone you don’t really support by using suspect bar charts or saying one party or another party ‘can’t win here’.

Many of the qualities people look for in a candidate they also look for in a party.  Do they say one thing before they are elected and do directly the opposite if they get power?  The tuition fees debacle lowered trust in politics.  Political parties need to rebuild that trust.

For myself, my politics is about partnerships, communities and solutions.  I try and be positive, I don’t make things up, I am involved in the community and take action for the community.  I hope that whether people vote for me or not, they know these things about me and realise that I do what I can to support local people, community groups and work to make our area even better.

The responses were listed in the news item in the order they were received.

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