Election candidates in their own words

VOTERS in North East Somerset and Hanham are heading to the polls on July 4 to elect their new MP.

The new constituency sees much of the western half of the North East Somerset constituency – including Keynsham and Saltford – join parts of South Gloucestershire across the River Avon, including Hanham, Longwell Green and Bitton.

But though the battlefield is new, it is set to be the site of a rematch of an old political battle.

In 2010 Jacob Rees-Mogg unseated Labour’s Dan Norris to become the Conservative MP for North East Somerset. Now 14 years later, the pair are standing against each other once again. But its a crowded fight. Also in the mix are candidates from the Monster Raving Loony Party, Green Party, an Independent, Reform UK, and the Liberal Democrats.

Here are the candidates in their own words:

Barmy Brunch, Monster Raving Loony Party

As the Official Monster Raving Loony Candidate for North East Somerset and Hanham, this is a constituency I’m passionate about. I believe I could make real change. I’ve lived in BANES for 24 years and I’m ready to shake up the STATUS QUO (not the band) with some truly innovative policies.

First and foremost, I pledge to put an end to the tyranny of the traditional workday. No more dreary lunch breaks spent munching on soggy sandwiches at your desk! Instead, I’ll fight for the establishment of a statutory brunch hour, from 11am to 12pm, where work and play will harmoniously converge. No more soggy sandwiches at lunchtime, or Moggy sandwiches for that matter.

During this sacred hour, all places of work will pause to serve up delectable brunch delights, or allow employees to indulge in an hour of compassionate mindfulness (for those on a diet). Because, let’s face it, kindness is the most important ingredient in any political recipe! You can say what you like about this, but I believe mental health is important. It needs radical change and I’m the person to use it. There is still stigma around it and this needs to change. I believe I’m the person to do it.

Remember, a vote for Barmy Brunch is a vote for a brighter, brunchier future! Let’s flip the script on politics and bring a smile to every constituency. Together, we can make brunch great again! Vote to give the constituency a Portillo moment and put an end to monkey politics!

Edmund Cannon, Green 

I moved to Keynsham in 1997 to work at the university and have never wanted to leave this area. I love the beautiful countryside and the amazing pieces of industrial heritage. And there are some excellent dance floors in Bath, which matters as my wife and I are ballroom dancers (even if not as good as Strictly).

I am an economist and have provided advice to Labour and Coalition government departments. I have the skills to evaluate policies that are made in Westminster but whose effects are felt here in Somerset and Gloucestershire. If elected, I would relish the chance to get involved in the detail of policy to provide better health care, better social care and better housing.

Finding the money to repair public services will not be easy. The Green Party has an original and credible plan to tax the super wealthy so that our society becomes better and fairer. Obviously, billionaires are saying that it won’t work (they would, wouldn’t they?) but the evidence I have seen makes me confident that this is the best way to sort out the terrible mess that we are in.

We know that the Labour Party will win this election. If you vote for me, you will get someone who will hold Labour to account and be a committed local MP. Please vote Green, to bring new and exciting ideas to our political system and make a difference for us and for our children. Real hope, real change.

Nicholas Hales, Independent

I stand, in this election, to take water supply back into public ownership. Legally companies involved in water supply have to look after shareholder interests, in other words, provide maximised profits. So we the customers lose. They cannot repair the water infrastructure and provide profits so costs to supply will rise. Southern Water wants a 91% increase by 2030.

Bolivia has managed to change back to a public ownership of water, so can we. Humanity must survive the ecological crisis. We are showing the world a truly awful model of water supply and must change back. In some places, people living next to water utility production facilities go without. Shareholders know they are onto a good thing because everything living needs water. VOTE FOR CLEAN WATER.

Our rivers are full of crap, industrial effluent and agricultural chemicals. How can there be competition, that idiotic conservative policies said would better run utilities, if we cannot choose whom we buy from? Privately owned water is madness. In the Bond film Quantum of Solace, the Spectre villain is trying to do exactly what privatisation has done, get a monopoly on water. 

(Nick has three engineering degrees; served in the Royal Navy Reserve on fishery protection and 5 weeks in the Falklands; worked his holidays on conservation projects; worked for a long period with the Samaritans, Oxfam, the RUH and Save the Children; has now retired from engineering and works for Children’s Hospice South West, STC and Mind. He is supported by a loving wife Waheeda. He continues to write on safety critical issues including environmental issues for scientific publications.)

I am not the best person in the world but I have the best intent. I have no interest in more money than my pensions so cannot be corrupted. I will put half my MP salary back into the community.

Paul MacDonnell, Reform UK

Nothing works in Britain. Every organization has ‘decolonised’, committed to ‘trans inclusivity’, and is (not) working from home. Brexit? That’s not even a thing. What’s happened?

Here’s some background. In the 1990s, universities in America subjected professors and students to bans against speech that might offend newly-identified ‘victim’ groups. When the madness got to Britain, every university had a diversity bureaucracy to bully students and fire professors breaking the new rules.

Law was the first degree course to include it (remember this when you contemplate Prime Minister Starmer). New courses were created to indoctrinate students into believing that the British, their empire, and Americans were racist scum. By the 2000s it had spread to nearly all university courses, even physics! 

From the 1990s on, employment and criminal law created protected status for ‘victim’ groups, something not seen since feudal times. Business school graduates and corporate lawyers then wove it into organizations. It wasn’t optional. Companies could be fined for breaches of equality legislation and offending consumers. Activists emerged to threaten the reputations of those not bending the knee. 

The safety-obsessed children of this sorry history now run Britain.

The Conservatives, Labour and, most rabidly, the Liberal Democrats have all promoted this madness. American psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, describes how media hysteria and campus dogmas are the emotional battery that charges this safetyist culture—now led by the most ‘educated’ (and indebted) part of the population.

Want to know why no one cried “stop” when the Conservatives shut down the country leaving us at the brink of fiscal ruin? Look no further. It is my mission to help end the madness, restore sanity to the public finances, and lead our institutions back from the brink and, in particular, back from their passive-aggressive opposition to Brexit.

There is a reason why my opponents’ in North East Somerset and Hanham are not going to solve the problem in this country. They created it and their political survival depends upon its continuation.

Dan Norris, Labour

I’m standing to be your MP to turn the page on 14 years of unacceptable chaos and decline.

North East Somerset and Hanham has been hit hard. Little is working properly – think record high hospital waiting lists; the shortage of NHS dentists; local shoplifting at epidemic levels; and a cost-of-living crisis with most of those depending on food banks being people in work.

The alarming knife incident in Keynsham reminds us of the shockingly high levels of violence – including against women and children. That’s not to mention sewage polluting our rivers, farmers undermined by poorly negotiated trade deals, and too few mental health services.

The Conservatives crashed the economy, are ignoring the climate emergency and partied through the pandemic. They know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. Integrity and honesty have become strangers to them, with Party coming before country.

If I have the honour to become your MP, I’ll help tackle the cost-of-living crisis, get the NHS back on its feet, and take back our streets. I’ll protect our green spaces, tackle the climate crisis and create more green jobs. As a former child protection officer, I’ll always prioritise the safety and education of our young people. I’ll be working hard to protect animals and ban fox hunting once and for all.

My top priority is to be a strong voice for you, your family, and our communities – as I did before as your MP for 13 years. And to listen carefully and bring back integrity.

I’ve also been doing this as your West of England Mayor, and I’m proud of everything we’ve achieved – together. Whether it’s securing record sums of investment for our region, rolling out my anti-shoplifting grants to help local shopkeepers, reducing bus fares and starting to plant the biggest new wood in the West near Pensford.

The choice here in this election is very simple – Labour or Conservative. This is a highly marginal seat, which has swung between both for 30 years. Every vote counts. Let’s turn the page, and get Britain’s future back.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative

The past few years have been difficult for this country, with the covid pandemic closely followed by the war in Ukraine.  However, we have now turned a corner, with inflation back down to normal levels and the future is looking bright.

The economy has grown by 0.6 per cent this quarter, the joint fastest growth in the G7 and inflation is down to 2.3 per cent from its peak of 11.1 per cent. Brexit Britain has leapt above France, Japan, and the Netherlands to become the world’s fourth biggest exporter. 

It would be a great mistake to change course now and risk harming our route back to prosperity.  Keir Starmer has admitted that Labour would ‘raise specific taxes’ and his plans to de-carbonise the energy grid by 2030 would cost £116 billion, leading to much higher energy bills.

We cut small boat crossings by 36 per cent last year but we must go further – flights are ready to take off to deport illegal migrants who have no right to be here. In contrast, Labour’s open door immigration policy would see 250,000 more migrants come to the UK a year. 

We will deliver the biggest strengthening of our national defences in a generation – spending 2.5 per cent of GDP on defence by 2030. In a more uncertain world, we need a clear plan to secure the future of Britain. However, Keir Starmer refuses to meet this target and his shadow Foreign Secretary wanted to scrap our nuclear deterrent, showing Labour are simply not serious on defence.

The Labour record in Wales shows what life would be like under a socialist government, with waiting times for NHS treatment 40% longer than in England, and collapsing rankings in education. A typical failure was changing 30mph speed limits to 20mph, only to reverse the decision after record levels of opposition.

It is likely that every vote will count in this election. That’s why I am asking for your support – please vote for me to ensure a secure future for the country.

Dine Romero, Liberal Democrat

I am delighted to be the Liberal Democrat candidate standing in North East Somerset and Hanham. This is a new constituency so the only election data covering this area is from the last local elections where 12 Liberal Democrat councillors were elected, 9 Conservatives, 4 Labour and 1 from the Green Party, this suggests that the Liberal Democrats have a great opportunity to win, as we are building on recent success.

As a party we are campaigning for a Fair Deal for people across the country, and are focusing on the NHS crisis, the cost of living crisis and environmental concerns such as water companies dumping sewage in our rivers and sea.

I hope that voters across North East Somerset and Hanham will see that I offer a real alternative to the two main parties battling it out for this constituency, and will vote for me for positive change!

John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Pictured, the candidates (clockwise from top left) Barmy Brunch (Monster Raving Loony Party), Edmund Cannon (Green), Paul MacDonnell (Reform UK), Dine Romero (Liberal Democrat), Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative), Dan Norris (Labour). Not pictured but also standing is Nicholas Hales (Independent).