General Election: Hastings and Rye candidates outline their biggest priorities for the constituency

The Hastings and Rye election candidates
The Hastings and Rye election candidates

The four candidates standing in Hastings and Rye at the General Election have outlined their biggest priorities for the constituency.

The four people vying to be your next MP sat down with our reporter to answer a range of questions, including their stance on Brexit and their pitch to the voters.

Here, they each outline their biggest priorities for Hastings and Rye:

Sally-Ann Hart – Conservative:

“Getting Brexit done and then focussing on local matters in Hastings.

“It’s the local transport, it’s about improving the A21 and the rail. It’s about improving education, giving people the opportunity to get good, better paid jobs. It’s about improving the platform infrastructure to encourage jobs.

“I want to look at vulnerable people, about healthcare, about education for every child, for children with special needs. I’ve got a nephew who’s autistic, not in this constituency, but I understand how difficult it is to get a good education for someone with special needs and we need to do better at that.

“We’ve got a major problem with drugs, violent crime. It’s about getting in with the early intervention, with children and families and stopping that development right at the start, giving more support there.

“So there’s a huge amount that we can do. We’ve just got to get on and do it.”

Peter Chowney – Labour

“The three big ones are transport infrastructure. Whether that is the HS1 train that Amber (Rudd) was promising for a long time that we never got or improvements to the London line. Rail and road transport both east, west and to London I think needs to be improved.

“Housing, because that does seem to be such a priority, in terms of both the quality of the housing and the availability of affordable housing.

“And education and skills. Kids leave school in Hastings with a very low level of qualifications and also there is a general low level of skills in the workforce and the employers we have got here. Although, the transport infrastructure in itself stops employers relocating here. But the employers we’ve got here say they find it hard to find the people with the right skills.

“Improving education performance and doing something about that skills gap is important.”

Nick Perry – Liberal Democrats

“It’s clear that we want to stop Brexit because we don’t think there’s a better deal for the country than European Union membership and I think, and lots of independent economists predict a massive hit for the economy if we leave the European Union. So what we are saying is if we stay then the projections are that the benefit to the economy will be to the tune of £50 billion over the next five years and we will reinvest that money in frontline public services that need it, whether it’s education, whether it’s making sure children have free childcare and parents can work again. We have also talked about health policy a lot and we want to focus our efforts on child and adolescent mental health services and put in a significant chunk of money into services because we know the research tells us that if you treat people fast and effectively that their chances of relapsing in later life is reduced.

“I think the fact that we are even worse off now in terms of deprivation is one of the key issues that I would focus on if I was elected as MP. We have seen £400 million spent in terms of regeneration funding from successive governments over a 20 year period – that’s not even including European Union funding that we’ve received – and we are still worse in the league tables of deprivation than we ever have been. And my personal view is that the money has been spent in the wrong areas. I think political parties of both stripes that have been in government have tended to focus regeneration efforts on the public realm.”

Paul Crosland – Independent

“You may already know me as ‘Pause5G Man’. It’s a role that I’ve taken on in order to give due attention to the strong case being put by the ‘5G Free Hastings’ group, who helped my nominations from across the political, social and economic spectrum.

“Can a single issue be more important than the difference your vote is going to make to Brexit (really?). Yes and of course. The ignoring of the (perhaps eight per cent) of the population who are Electomagnetic Sensitivity Sufferers requiring ‘white zones’ is just the opening of the door to the apparent ‘making guinea pigs of us all’.

“I care about connectivity within the constituency – coastal and rural, town and countryside – the ways people have to get around, the connections between suppliers and customers, but just as essentially, the relationship with places where we live and their hinterlands. And with the floodings we are already seeing in parts of the UK, travel links need to be protected and adjustments to harsh predicted realities made.”

This is our first instalment of profiles on Hastings and Rye’s candidates as we count down to the General Election.