FOUR CANDIDATES are competing for locals’ votes to be elected as Member of Parliament for the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency.
Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, June 8 between 7am and 10pm after a General Election was called by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Incumbent Debbie Abrahams (Labour Party) is standing for re-election to the seat, while the other hopefuls are Kashif Ali (Conservative Party), Ian Bond (UKIP) and Jonathan Smith (Liberal Democrats).
If you are registered and entitled to vote you will receive a poll card before the election telling you where to vote.
On the same day, there will also be an election for an MP in the Oldham West and Royton, as well as an Oldham Council by-election in the Royton North ward.
The counts for all elections will take place from 10pm onwards on Thursday, June 8 in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Civic Centre.
For more information contact Oldham Council’s election office by calling: 0161 770 4718 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Notices of Election, Statements of Persons Nominated and further information can be found on the Oldham Council website: www.oldham.gov.uk/elections
Here, candidates talk about why you should vote for them, in their own words:
Conservative Party: Kashif Ali
I am the only candidate who was born, brought up and who lives in the constituency.
I work as a Barrister in Manchester, was a former law tutor at Manchester University, and am a volunteer Board Member for a national charity providing housing and support services for people with mental health problems and learning difficulties.
The biggest challenge facing the country is securing a Brexit deal in the national interest which honours the spirit of the 2016 referendum result. That means taking back control of our laws, freeing ourselves from the European Court of Justice and controlling our borders by ending the free movement of people from the EU. We need a great Brexit deal but also great trade deals with the rest of the world. Only the Conservatives under Theresa May can be trusted to do this.
At the 2015 general election in Oldham East & Saddleworth the Liberal Democrats were a poor fourth position. They can’t win here and seem to have given up. The UKIP vote has also totally collapsed.
In 2015 the Conservatives were in second position and all current indications are we are neck and neck with Labour. Every vote will count – and only a vote for the Conservatives will help get rid of Labour.
If elected, I will be a hard-working, committed, truly local MP. My record of action includes opposing the Greater Manchester Congestion Charge in 2008 and opposing any current plans by Labour to re-introduce it.
I want to pull out of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and protect the local greenbelt.
I have also campaigned for Metrolink to be extended to the constituency, for a cinema to be built, for free, short-stay car parking and for a freeze on Council Tax and Business Rates.
Labour Party: Debbie Abrahams
I have been so proud to represent Oldham East and Saddleworth over the last six years. During that time I have helped over 10,000 constituents.
I am proud of my record of standing up for local people, fighting for our businesses and jobs, defending our public services and protecting our Green Belt.
I am standing for re-election to continue to be your champion and fight for our communities.
I established and chaired the Oldham Fairness Commission to tackle local inequalities, I have campaigned locally and nationally on late payments to small businesses, for a Dementia Friendly Oldham and for better rail services at Greenfield station.
I have a strong track record on dealing with local issues, from the traffic chaos in Denshaw to the spate of burglaries on businesses in Uppermill and my opposition to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework proposals which could have a real impact on Green Belt and open spaces in Saddleworth.
People on low and middle incomes have borne the brunt of cuts. We have a stagnant economy, only benefiting the South, record levels of Government debt, and wages below 2007 levels.
A third of workers in Oldham are in low paid work and in some parts of the constituency half of children live in poverty, the majority in working families. I promise to act on these and other injustices.
Together with our new Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, I will fight for more police on the beat, an integrated health and social care service, a secondary school in Saddleworth fit for the 21st century, and a cleaner, greener Oldham and Saddleworth.
With your support, I will continue to work for you, providing a strong and experienced voice in Parliament and making a real difference in Oldham East and Saddleworth.
Liberal Democrats: Jonathan Smith
Standing as your Liberal Democrat candidate, I offer hope, where many feel abandoned, and experience, where problems need solving.
I know, from my leading roles in the NHS and Social Services, the challenges that families face.
I am here to fight for a more tolerant, more open, fairer society.
For me, this election is more than being about specific policies. It is about the kind of society, the kind of communities, the kind of people we want to be.
If you elect me as your MP, I will be a new, distinct voice, both at Westminster and locally. I will help change the direction of this country, away from the potential disaster of either a bad Brexit deal, or, even worse, of no deal at all. This country is sleep-walking into Theresa May’s nightmare future, with Labour hopelessly split on the way forward.
I will use my long experience, at the top of Councils and the NHS, to end long waits to see the GP, to end patients travelling miles for treatment, to improve transport services, to prevent flooding, to build long-promised facilities, to find the answers to care in old age, and to create world-class health and social care services.
Working closely with local councillors, I fight to over-turn the Labour-led, developers’ charter, known as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, which will deprive future generations of the open spaces we enjoy and cherish today.
At the centre of my campaign are the needs of our children and young people. I will fight to restore funding to schools, ensure Saddleworth gets the school its young people deserve, and end the scandal of young people with mental health problems unable to get the help they need.
UKIP: Ian Bond
I am standing as the UKIP candidate for the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency. I am a 30-year-old married father of four. I have just completed the third year of my law degree and will be starting a Masters degree in the new academic year.
One of the first issues I will tackle, if elected, is the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. This plan, if implemented, will change Saddleworth and Oldham dramatically.
Not only will the creation of tens of thousands of new homes put more pressure on our already struggling services, but the current plan would see more of our Green Belt destroyed. I do not believe it is necessary to damage our Greenbelt land in order to meet the rising needs for housing. This can be accomplished, easily, using Brownfield land.
UKIP offers the chance to really put Oldham on the map. A UKIP victory here will not only ensure Brexit is implemented, but continuous press coverage starting with ‘Oldham, the most deprived town in the country’, will make the inevitable Tory Government want to act and invest to remove that line.
I will fight for the investment to be highly skilled jobs, not low skilled retail jobs the current MPs seem to focus on. Whilst there is nothing wrong with retail jobs, the area needs investment and money, which comes with high skilled jobs and developments.
To have an MP who will focus on Oldham and Saddleworth and do what is right, not spend their time towing the party line to improve their career prospects, please vote for me.
To have an MP who is willing to talk about the difficult issues other MPs avoid, vote for me.
We’ve had over half a century of Labour representation. It is time for a change.