General election 2019: this is why Ribble Valley's candidates want you to vote for them

The Ribble Valley constituency will once again be contested by former deputy speaker of the Commons, Nigel Evans, who has held the seat since 1992.

In 2017, he secured a majority of over 13,000 and a 58 percent share of the vote.

From top left - Chantelle Seddon (Liberal Democrat), Giles Bridge (Labour), Nigel Evans (Conservative), Paul Yates (Green Party) and Tony Johnson (Independent)

From top left - Chantelle Seddon (Liberal Democrat), Giles Bridge (Labour), Nigel Evans (Conservative), Paul Yates (Green Party) and Tony Johnson (Independent)

CONSTITUENCY BOUNDARIES

The seat takes in several parts of the South Ribble Council area - including Farington, Bamber Bridge, Higher Walton and parts of Walton-le-Dale. It then stretches north-eastwards through Citheroe and the Forest of Bowland Check your constituency at ordnancesurvey.co.uk/election-maps/gb

CANDIDATE PROFILES (in order of vote share achieved by party at the last election)

NIGEL EVANS (Conservative)

What are the biggest issues in this election?

Brexit - if people vote Conseravtive and we get a majority government, we will make sure Brexit is delivered by 31st January and the implementation period will go on until the end of 2020 and no further. We will deliver for the people of Britain on the issues that matter to them most.

Didn’t Boris Johnson want the chance to have a general election before Brexit was completed, so he could run a “people versus Parliament” narrative?

No - I remember Boris informing [backbench Tory MPs] that he’d reluctantly decided that the election was the only way of getting out of the impasse. I have sat in the House of Commons, watching the Labour Party - who said they would deliver Brexit - do everything other than pass it.

Boris Johnson’s deal got tacit approval from Parliament and he pulled the plug, just as it looked like he may be making progress.

It wasn’t tacit approval - the next bit of legislation was the [timetable] motion, which of course they voted against. Labour want Brexit in name only - their second EU referendum would be that versus Remain and it would have 16 and 17-year-olds voting and EU citizens. So it would be a completely false choice for the public and a rigged franchise.

Haven’t the Conservatives been so cowed by the reception to their plans for social care during the 2017 election that you are now silent on one of the biggest issues facing the country?

We’ve said we’re going to provide an extra billion pounds into social care immediately to help short-term fixes. We’ll then start to have negotiations with all political parties to see if we can get a common consensus, but we’ve said it’s wrong that people should feel they have to sell their homes at the end of their days.

When the Prime Minister tells a TV audience that the truth is important to him and they laugh, is that someone we really want leading the country?

I’ve done a number of hustings and when I talk about Brexit I get laughter, too. Audiences are not full of neutral people who objectively listen and come to their own conclusion.

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

I will go to Westminster to support a Boris Johnson-majority government, which will deliver Brexit by 31st January and the implementation period will be finished by the end of 2020. We will move on to look at things like law and order, education and a strong economy.

GILES BRIDGE (Labour)

What are the biggest issues at this election?

The NHS - we need to keep it free at the point of use, with no privatisation. In relation to Bamber Bridge and Lostock Hall, we’ve got to ensure we keep and expand the facilities at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital - which means re-establishing a proper A&E department.

Labour is promising a “rescue package” for the NHS - but there’s nothing specific for Chorley and South Ribble A&E, is there?

No, but there is a commitment to invest £30bn in the five years of a Labour government and that will mean we can invest in services - including district hospitals like South Ribble’s. You’ll then need someone in the Ribble Valley constituency who can fight the cause for that hospital - and I’m best placed to do that.

Labour is planning to spend £6bn more than government has already committed to the NHS - but that money doesn’t seem to match the party’s rhetoric, because it is dwarfed by some of your other spending commitments.

That extra £6bn will mean we can at least meet the demands on the service - and do some more. The main thing for me is mental health services and providing support to teenagers - because child and adolescent mental health services have been cut drastically.

Isn’t Labour’s plan to negotiate a new Brexit deal and then put that or remain to a second referendum really just cover for the fact that you are a party of Remain - with the possible exception of Jeremy Corbyn himself?

No, the Labour Party has a range of opinions, but the vast majority of members want to remain. We’ve got to try to heal the divisions since the Brexit vote - and that means dealing with the underlying problem which is austerity. Once we’ve got that deal renegotiated, we can then move on to let people have a final say.

Isn’t the uncomfortable truth for Labour that the Conservatives have got the country in pretty good economic shape, with unemployment at 40-year lows?

You’ve got a number of people in this country who are working and still resorting to foodbanks - that’s just wrong in the fifth-largest economy in the world. Labour will bring in a £10 per hour national living wage for all workers.

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

Ribble Valley needs to change - we need to move away from austerity. We need to try and unite ourselves, because we are so divided - the current MP feeds off that division. We need to move away from that and move forwards, invest in our economy and bring about a green industrial revolution.

CHANTELLE SEDDON (Liberal Democrat)

What are the biggest issues in this election?

For a lot of people, this election is really about Brexit - we’ve had three years of indecision and chaos and we really just need to get it sorted now so that people can get on with their lives. But there are many domestic issues that I’m really excited to discuss as well.

You talk about people wanting Brexit over with - but for the Lib Dems that means cancelling it completely, which isn’t what people voted for.

We are unapologetically a Remain party and democracy dictates that people be given a choice. From the Conservatives, they have the choice of what we would consider too harsh a Brexit that will bring instability and we’re not quite sure on Labour’s position - will they vote for a people’s vote when the time comes? In the event of a hung parliament, we will fight for a people’s vote.

Where are the 48 percent of Remianers who should have been flocking to you with your position - you’ve not pleased anybody, have you?

In this constituency, I’m hearing people who are completely aghast at the positions of the two traditionally main parties - and we are trying to cut through that.

The Lib Dems want to scrap SATS tests for school pupils and replace them with “lighter touch” tests - but a test is a test and they are necessary, aren’t they?

There is a big difference - a SAT is designed to appeal to a specific learning style and recalling of information. We want a more creative curriculum, including life and work skills. Teachers know their pupils best - this archaic form of ranking is just not appropriate for children, they’re still forming.

Aren’t the Lib Dems at risk of being seen as soft on low-level crime with their policy to have a presumption against short-term prison sentences - don’t some people just want to see a proper punishment handed out?

Our justice system isn’t about revenge - it should be about rehabilitation where that is possible and protecting the public. For people who cannot be rehabilitated, prison sentences are an option. We are an evidence-led party and have seen that giving short-term sentences can exacerbate the situation for people who otherwise wouldn’t go into a deeper life of crime.

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

I will be candid with you - if you ask me a straight question, I’ll give you a straight answer. We are open about what we stand for - we are Remain and so vote for us if you want that.

PAUL YATES (Green Party)

What are the biggest issues at this election?

There is a climate emergency - the planet is warming and our weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable. Flooding is becoming a matter of course. Science tells us we have to do some significant by 2030 - and it’s only the Green Party that’s promising net zero carbon emissions by then.

Aren’t the Greens the only party committed to a 2030 net zero carbon target, because the other parties see that it is actually unachievable?

Not at all. Think of when President Kennedy said he would put a man on the moon - everybody got behind him and, when you get that belief, you can do it. Unless we put that stake in the ground, we just will not hit it.

Doesn’t the explosion in renewable energy in recent years show that governments get there in the end on tackling climate change and that we don’t necessarily have to move as quickly as you say?

That’s absolute rubbish. You’ll hear the Conservatives saying we are doing our bit, but we’re outsourcing all our manufacturing industry which is polluting the atmosphere in other countries and we’re sending our waste abroad as well. That’s just messing with the figures.

Isn’t the idea of a universal basic income of £89 per week for every adult just disincentive to work?

Whichever benefits system you have, there will be someone who wants to sit on their backside and do nothing all day. But I’d argue that there will be more people who will change their lives - set up a business or do something in the community. There are so many more things people can do once they realise they’ve got this safety net under them.

You think it will make people more productive?

Absolutely, but I think it will also make people more happy. If you look at economic growth over the past 30 years, it’s increased by 50 percent - but since 1990, I don’t feel 50 percent happier and I don’t think an awful lot of people do either. We need to look at the way we measure success - and health and wellbeing should be high up that agenda.

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

Every single vote counts. Every opposition party gets money for campaigning and that comes from the number of votes they get - so everybody that votes Green is contributing to that Green campaign fund and that’s what allows us to put legislation forward and hold the government to account.

TONY JOHNSON (Independent)

What are the biggest issues in this election?

Brexit and austerity. I voted Leave and it would appear I gave the wrong answer, because Theresa May can-kicked the Brexit decision down the road with a deal that was never going to make any sense. I’d rather we leave the EU, not pay them any money and just get on with our lives - and use the money we have for ourselves.

It sounds like you want to walk away from the EU with no deal.

Correct - we pay billions into the EU and have done for 40 years. The referendum should be honoured and we should leave the EU, stop paying them billions and use the money that we would give to them for us. If you put the EU and overseas aid budgets together, that’s £30bn pounds a year. The government is starving us of our own money.

No deal would be deeply damaging to the economy, wouldn’t it?

Wrong - we may take a hit, but Europe would take a bigger hit. We’re a buying nation - we buy many things from European countries.

So you are happy for the UK to take a hit to its economy as long as the EU suffers more than we do?

The reality is they will suffer if we leave and don’t pay them any more money. Having said that, we need the money that we’re giving to them. So unless someone can come up with an amicable agreement and we don’t pay them any money, but just carry on trading as normal, then inevitably we will leave.

That amicable agreement is what the country has been trying to work towards for the past three years, isn’t it?

No, it’s not - and why are we paying £39bn to Europe? In Article 50, it doesn’t say we have to pay them that money. We should see a detailed list of who’s going to get the money. Let’s see a list of the commitments that were made and then we should ask why they were made.

Do you want to cut overseas aid completely - aren’t the nations which receive it in need of it?

I’d cut it drastically - because we need our money as well. Aid used to be grain, wheat and planting equipment - but now aid has been turned into money.

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

I’m an independent candidate, I have no allegiance to any party and we need people in Parliament who will speak up for us.

2017 FULL RESULT

Nigel Evans (Conservative) - 31,919 votes (57.8 percent)

David Hinder (Labour) - 18,720 votes (33.9 percent)

Allan Knox (Liberal Democrat) - 3,247 votes (5.9 percent)

Graham Sowter (Green Party) - 1,314 votes (2.4 percent)

EU REFERENDUM RESULT (by Ribble Valley Council area)

56.4 percent voted Leave

CONSTITUENCY FACTFILE

Population -100,348

Ethnicity - White 97.6 percent; Asian 1.3 percent

UK-born population - 96.4 percent (European - 1.9 percent)

Unemployment benefit claimant rate - 1.8 percent (4.9 percent North West average)

Median weekly wage - £600 (£560 NW average)

Areas of the constituency in the top ten percent most deprived nationally - 0 out of 40 (Ribble Valley Council area)

Source: House of Commons Library