There are five candidates running in the election for the position of Member of Parliament for Oldham East and Saddleworth.
The MP represents the area in the Houses of Parliament and will vote on all laws put before the House of Commons. MPs also provide a crucial, local service to residents who are having trouble accessing public services, eg benefit claims or immigration issues.
Oldham East and Saddleworth has been held by Labour since the seat was formed in 1997, with the Lib Dems coming second in each election, missing out by only 103 votes last time round.
If a party has a majority of MPs across the country, they form the government; otherwise two or more parties may have to come together to form a coalition government.
You have one vote for your preferred candidate and the candidate with the most votes will win.
Here, the candidates talk about why you should vote for them, in their own words.
Conservative: Sajjad Hussain
I have lived in Oldham for over 20 years and I brought up my family here. During that time, like you, I have seen our area go through both good and bad times. And I use the same schools, hospitals, shops and local services as you.
It is why I know how important the NHS is, especially with my own son who had major heart surgery, which thanks to the NHS saved his life. It is why I will always defend it being free at the point of delivery.
Having been Chief Executive of a local housing association, helping many with their housing needs, I know how important a home is. Which is why I support plans to give our young people the opportunity to own their own home, by subsidising 20 per cent off a new build starter home.
I know that having security in retirement is important. So it is why the Conservatives have increased the basic state pension by £950 since 2010 and have pledged to protect pensioner benefits. I believe you have worked hard for it, paid taxes for it so it is only right you have security in retirement.
But only by voting Conservative can you guarantee any of this. Only with a long term plan can we ensure Britain is financially secure. So that we have a strong NHS, better housing, security in retirement and a country which can balance the books and not hand on debts to the next generation.
So please think carefully about how your vote will change our country. For a strong stable government, vote Conservative on Thursday 7th May.
Green Party: Miranda Meadowcroft
I have been involved in urban regeneration and community development for 30 years, as a volunteer, as a worker and as a manager. This includes experience of a range of sectors, having worked to support co-operative businesses, co-operative housing, and credit unions.
I have collaborated with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and have managed a day centre for people with dementia and I am currently supporting deaf and hearing impaired children at a local school.
I have been very lucky in the work I’ve been paid for. I believe everyone should be paid a decent wage, whether they love their job or not.
The Green Party looks toward a different way of running our communities; we promote a balanced life where people are treated with respect regardless of where they come from and what they ‘do for a living’.
The Green Party’s key policies for the coming parliament are to end austerity, reverse the privatisation of the NHS, tackle the housing crisis by creating a new generation of social rented homes, and take real action on climate change by investing in renewable energy and flood defences.
We want to create a fairer society in which the most vulnerable aren’t made to suffer through austerity whilst the wealthiest receive tax breaks. We would end austerity and balance the books by creating financial transaction taxes and closing tax loopholes.
Labour: Debbie Abrahams
I have been so proud to represent you over the past four years, during which time I have helped over 6,500 constituents.
Look at the Tories and Lib Dems’ appalling record. They have borrowed over £200 billion more than planned, national debt has increased and they’ve failed to eliminate the deficit.
They’ve wasted billions on a chaotic NHS re-organisation, created a year round A&E crisis and longer waiting lists. GP access is more difficult and treatments are rationed. Average earnings are down £1,600 a year; there are 1.8 million zero-hour contracts and energy bills are up £300.
Increased VAT is costing hardworking families £450 each, but they’ve given a £3 billion tax cut to people earning over £150,000 a year. We’ve had rail fare increases of 20 per cent since 2010, 1,300 bus routes cut and under-investment in local rail services.
In contrast, Labour will balance the books, cut the deficit every year and deliver a fairer recovery. We’ll transform the NHS and social care with our £2.5 billion per year Time to Care fund.
We’ll deliver more and better paid jobs for all by introducing the Job Guarantee, raising the minimum wage and banning exploitative zero hours contracts.
I will continue my work to reduce inequalities, develop a Dementia Friendly Oldham and tackle late payments to small businesses. I will fight for fair rail fares and to improve rail services at Greenfield station.
Above all I will continue to work hard for all residents in Oldham East and Saddleworth, not just a privileged few.
Liberal Democrats: Richard Marbrow
I am the local and campaigning choice for MP in this election and I am the only candidate who can beat Labour locally and help stop Ed Miliband becoming Prime Minister.
I have inherited a great Liberal Democrat tradition in Saddleworth and I hope to lead the team of local Liberal Democrats in a way that will get even more done for our area in the next five years. The race in Oldham East and Saddleworth will once again be a two horse race between the Liberal Democrats and Labour.
I live in the constituency and if residents trust me with their votes in May I can safely promise I will not go native in London. I will live here no matter the result in May and will be a community MP first and foremost.
Saddleworth needs an MP who will put local people first and who will speak out on the need for affordable housing rather than more executive mansions.
I will also campaign for a better future for Saddleworth including support for the new school at Diggle and opposition to Labour’s cuts to the local youth service.
I will push for improvements to Greenfield station, including disabled access to both platforms and more frequent trains stopping at the station.
I am asking for your trust as well as your vote on May 7 and I pledge that I will work as hard as I can every day to repay that trust if you put your faith in me.
UKIP: Peter Klonowski
I was born and raised in Oldham and have lived here most of my life. I was educated at St Albans School and Oldham College of Technology where I obtained qualifications in mechanical and electrical engineering. I later got a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Manchester.
I started my working life as an apprentice at Platt’s and have worked in various engineering rolls since then. I currently work for a major telecommunications company.
I am standing for UKIP because we are the only party with common sense policies designed to benefit British people. Policies such as investing an extra £3 billion a year in the NHS in England, abolishing income tax on the minimum wage, cutting the foreign aid budget and spending the money at home, introducing an Australian-style, points based, immigration system to control immigration and holding an immediate referendum on EU membership.
Local UKIP policies include giving priority to local people for social housing and holding referenda for important developments such as the Saddleworth School. The latter would make councils much more accountable to the electorate they serve.
If you choose me to represent you in parliament you would get an MP that knows and understands your problems and concerns. I know them because I am like you, a hard working, conscientious Oldhamer, not a professional politician without experience of the real world.