General election 2019: Leeds West candidate statements

5 December 2019

Here are statements from candidates standing in the Leeds West Constituency at the 2019 General Election on Thursday, 12 December.

West Leeds Dispatch contacted all candidates by either post or e-mail. These are the responses we received.

Ian Cowling, Yorkshire Party

Leeds West has a proud history of manufacturing from one of the world’s largest brick makers to Mather’s Black beer – or as I used to call it “Sheffield Stout” – to name just two, all gone now but not forgotten.

I have recently been hearing about a sports and playing field on Oldfield Lane in Wortley called “The TV Harrison recreation ground”, which is a Greenfield site and under threat from been built on so would be lost forever!

Yes we need houses but let’s use the brownfield sites first and build new starter home and not greenfield mansions.

I would like to promote investment for jobs that could be brought to the area and use its local skill base instead of them having to commute miles each day in fossil fuelled vehicles.

The people of Leeds West need places to work and play so we need a Yorkshire Assembly to give all of Yorkshire a meaningful voice and powers to impact on us the Yorkshire people for social, economic and democratic change we so desperately need NOW.

We have been left the crumbs from Westminster for far too long now and this last three years has shown us all in Yorkshire what they (London-based MP’s) really think of us.

Nearly 50% of MPs don’t even come from Yorkshire let alone live here!  So it’s time for us to take control and never mind what Westminster thinks or the even the more distant EU, let’s put Yorkshire FIRST! And I will be there for Leeds West fighting for your corner of Yorkshire.

Mike Davies, Alliance for Green Socialism

No submission.

Mark Dormer, The Conservative Party Candidate

As the MP for Leeds West my first priority will be to support the Prime Minister and vote for his New Brexit Deal in Parliament so we leave the EU.

Leeds West voted to Leave and so did I. This has gone on long enough. The referendum result and the will of the people must be respected. 

The high streets in Leeds West have empty shops and many are simply dying. We need business tax reforms and funding to regenerate and transform them.

A Conservative government will cut taxes for shops, cinemas and pubs so they can remain the heart of our communities and flourish.

Time and time again on the doorsteps I am told how bad the local transport is.

I will get the investment to make the improvements to transport that Leeds West so desperately needs. The Conservatives will set up a £500 million fund to restore old train lines and stations to re-connect towns to the rail network.

Northern Powerhouse Rail is essential to improving transport links to Bradford, Manchester and Liverpool, whilst additional tracks between Leeds and Bradford will directly benefit communities with more frequent and reliable stopping services and more capacity.

This will mean there are fewer cars on the roads and result in less congestion for non-rail users.

Most importantly, when I am elected as your MP, I will visit every household in Leeds West – I need to know what issues are important to you and what action you want me to take as your voice in Westminster.

Phillip Mars – Brexit Party

A proud Yorkshireman from a humble background, I understand the experiences of people trying to make their way in the neglected North.

Like many of my potential constituents I have had to fight and struggle for every inch of progress made in my life and I firmly believe that the Westmister elites need to hear that truth.

Whether sitting nose-to-navel with a perfect stranger on an overcrowded and delayed Northern Rail pacer, or trying to find a job in an economy hideously skewed to favour the South, I have been there.

I have stood worrying that bus delays might cost me a day’s work and wondered how to feed my family on meagre wages. Getting to where I am today was a fight against the odds. 

What I promise to the people of Leeds West is to represent truthfully and faithfully the needs of the community to the Westminster elite and not stop pushing until they are heard.

I am not offering overblown spending initiatives or pie-in-the sky promises I can never hope to keep.

My offer to Leeds West is simple; I will make sure I am available to you, I will listen to you and I will take those things you ask of me forcefully to the commons and work to get you the things you need.

I would say, therefore, that my vision for the people of Leeds West is for them to be heard, heeded and respected in the highest offices of government.

Rachel Reeves, Labour Party

Since I was first elected, I have been your local champion. I have a strong track record of delivering results for our local communities.

When the hours at Bramley and Armley libraries were threatened, I led the successful campaigns to reverse those decisions.

I fought to save the historic Bramley Baths and helped secure major investment at Kirkstall Forge, and more train services at its new station. 

Whether it’s fighting the Government to secure proper flood defences, or working to get improvements to Armley Town Street, I always put our community first.

I am determined to make West Leeds a cleaner and greener place to live, so have been spearheading efforts to clean up Farnley Reservoir, and also help support and promote local rugby and football clubs for our young people.

One of my biggest priorities is sorting out our woeful public transport. I have campaigned for Northern Rail to be scrapped and have taken on the bus operators to get better services.

Under the Conservatives, A&E waiting times are the longest ever, and many people find that it’s getting harder to make an appointment to see your GP.

Leaked documents have revealed that Boris Johnson has left the NHS on the table in trade talks with Donald Trump’s America – so it could soon be up for sale to US billionaires.
 
I want to keep fighting for Leeds West and delivering results for local people. With your support in this election, I can continue to be your local champion.

Victoria Smith, Green Party

victoria smith kirkstall green party

The Kirkstall Valley flood in the heart of Leeds West during Christmas and New Year 2015 was a wake-up call to the effects of Climate Change on our constituency.

Businesses and homes flooded. In 2019, we have seen further record levels of rainfall and many local sports pitches unusable.

If elected as MP for Leeds West, I will work with parliament, the council and local environmental groups to prevent local flooding through land management and mass tree planting.

The Leeds West transport network is dissected by two major road arteries into Leeds – Kirkstall and Stanningley Road.

A single incident on either of these roads causes gridlock and the reason – in the 1970s, Leeds became a ‘Motorway City’, where traffic from outside the city is diverted through it. If elected, I would prioritise public transport, giving everyone the opportunity not to have to use a car.

This means re-opening historic train stations, re-opening stations in Armley, Wortley and Kirkstall (Spen Lane), plus further new stations to link with Pudsey and Headingley.

Buses that cross Leeds West are currently poor and getting into the city is do-able, but expensive. Travelling across the constituency during rush hour is impossible! I am currently working with First to improve routes through Leeds West, particularly for older people.

By prioritising public and active transport in our constituency, we will get improvements in air pollution and congestion, as well as access to shops, GPs and schools.

All this, while addressing our Green Party commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030 to limit Climate Change in accordance to inter-governmental law.

Dan Walker, Liberal Democrats

Dan grew up in the Midlands and moved to Leeds in 1996 to attend university, where he gained an MPhys degree in Physics, and spent a semester in Denmark as part of the ERASMUS programme.

He has lived in Leeds since, and Leeds West since 2008. He works for the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Leeds.

Brexit will hit the poorest, hardest. Dan has been campaigning to stay in the EU since the referendum was announced, and as your MP he will continue to do so.

Leeds West needs better transport and more jobs, not a needless act of social and economic vandalism, endangering the NHS, workers’ rights, and the environment.

We need to invest in public services, education, and transport so that the benefits of Remaining in the EU are shared more fairly. Additionally, we must push for radical devolution to the regions, including Yorkshire, so that power is spread out from Westminster.

His national priorities include the climate crisis, Brexit, and reform of the political system.

Locally, he is concerned about Leeds’ poor and monopolistic local transport, increasing foodbank use, and local environmental matters such as flood prevention.

Daniel Whetstone, Social Democratic Party

No submission.

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Mark Thackray says:

The NHS featured in the Hustings due to placed question from Rachel Reeves. Questions where she had pre written rants.