We gave Rugby's parliamentary candidates 300 words to tell you why you should vote for them - here's what they said

This week the Advertiser has given Rugby’s four parliamentary candidates room for 300 words each to tell you, in their own words, why they should have your vote in the December 12 General Election.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 12:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 12:28 pm
Above L:R, Mark Pawsey, Debbie Bannigan. Both: L:R, Rana Das-Gupta and Becca Stevenson.

An issue highlighted by all candidates is, of course, Brexit – and for some voters, this election may be almost completely about that.

But, as the statements from your candidates demonstrate, there are plenty of issues here in Rugby that you can have your say on.

Among these local issues are the level of services at the Hospital of St Cross, as well as the way forward for the town as a whole given its rapid growth.

Top, L:R, Mark Pawsey, Debbie Bannigan. Bottom, L:R, Rana Das-Gupta, Becca Stevenson.

The environment also appears to be of significant concern, with candidates suggesting ways in which they might move towards tackling climate change.

So here are your candidates, in no particular order:

Debbie Bannigan - Labour

"Rugby is growing rapidly, but you wouldn’t know it from the lack of services and infrastructure here.

"Whether it’s the transfer of services from St Cross to UCHW; reductions in police numbers, lack of school places and average cuts of £169 in per pupil funding in school budgets, Rugby people have had enough of Tory austerity.

"That’s why I’m standing in this election, because I believe it’s time for change. We need someone who will stand up for Rugby and Bulkington, instead of an MP who stands by as our community loses out.

"I know that people can be cynical about promises from politicians – it’s understandable after nine years of inaction from our MP – so let me tell you about what I’ve done so far.

"I’m passionate about protecting jobs and helping our local economy grow, that’s why I’ve successfully campaigned to keep the GE factory open on Technology Drive, lobbied to save our

"Blood Bikes service and opened negotiations to bring the Rugby 7s here for the Commonwealth Games.

"I want to be your MP so I can carry on this work and do much more. I live locally and I have a track record of running successful businesses, so I know how public finances work and how to get the best deal for Rugby.

"I’ve already started to making the case to reinstate services at St.Cross through Labour’s rescue package for the NHS, because I know how important it is for us here in Rugby to have access to the services we need.

"From tackling the Climate Crisis through a Green New Deal which promises to bring high quality jobs to Rugby, to giving you the final say on Brexit to ending Universal Credit, only Labour have the policies to reverse 9 years of Tory decline and only a vote for Labour can beat the Tories here."

Mark Pawsey - Conservatives

"The election on December 12 will define our nation’s future. A Conservative government will get Brexit done and move on. We can then focus on your priorities: more money for schools, more environmental protections, record funding for our NHS and more police officers to keep our streets safe.

"By contrast Labour does not have any credible plans for our country and does not respect the result of the EU referendum. If Jeremy Corbyn seizes power he will delay, and potentially cancel, Brexit.

"It has been an honour to serve as Rugby’s Member of Parliament over the last nine years. In that time, I have been able to help and engage with over 10,000 local residents, and in recent weeks it has been humbling to receive so many messages of support.

"I have lived in Rugby all my life and I love our town. That is why it is so disappointing to see the local Labour Party talk it down every chance they get.

"In my time as your MP, 1400 new businesses have started up locally and unemployment has fallen by 27%. This has changed lives. It means more people have the security of a job and can provide for their families. Also, 1800 families have benefited from the Conservatives’ Help to Buy scheme and now have a home of their own.

"Despite these achievements there is still much more to do. We can’t risk Corbyn wrecking everything we have worked so hard together to achieve.

"So, let’s get Brexit done. Let’s ensure every child gets the best start in life. And let’s make sure that the Hospital of St Cross gets a fair share of the record NHS funding.

"Only the Conservatives can deliver on these priorities, and I hope on December 12 I will get your support."

Rana Das-Gupta - Liberal Democrats

"I have been a member of the party since 2015, I was brought up in London but have worked as an NHS Consultant Surgeon for the last 15 years in Warwickshire including at St Cross Hospital, Rugby.

"I am not a career politician but am a person who people have trusted with their lives for many years.

"I was brought to the UK as a baby and as an immigrant, my father a surgeon in Myanmar (former Burma) escaped a military Coup d’état, to set up as a GP in Hackney, in London.

"I then qualified as a doctor and have enjoyed a fruitful career spanning over 35 years within the NHS. I have also lived, worked and trained in various EU countries including Norway and Denmark.

"I am a Liberal Democrat because I believe it is best for the UK and the best for Rugby and Bulkington.

"The best end to the Brexit farce is the best deal in town; to remain with is economic benefits and implications for peace in our time. Russia, China and America would love to see a weakened Europe, which strengthens their economic and military influence, to remain and to lead Europe is our best chance of a bright future.

"It is often argued that we are ignoring a referendum, we live in a parliamentary democracy, not a referendum democracy, where complex decisions are made by our paid servants (also known as MPs).

"In societies where decisions are made by referenda (such as in Switzerland), a full document covering all of the issues is published, like a manifesto about that subject before a vote.

"No such balanced information was available.

"We therefore supported a second referendum, unless an election was called first, in which case our manifesto would clearly state that we want to remain, and the population can vote democratically aware of that decision."

Becca Stevenson - Green

"I have always been concerned about environmental issues and consider the Green Party my political home.

"For the last twelve years I have grown organic vegetables and during that time I have seen how the changing climate is affecting our ability to grow food.

"From pests moving to areas of the country where they have never been a problem before, to droughts and floods affecting our ability to maintain reliable harvests.

"This election is our last chance to turn the tide on the climate and ecological emergency.

"By creating the Green New Deal, the Green Party want to spend 100 billion a year for the next ten years to take us to net zero carbon by 2030.

"As well as improving public transport, insulating homes and planting 700 million trees, the Green Party want to tackle inequality by introducing a Universal Basic Income to lift people out of poverty and give everyone more financial security.

"Brexit has been dragging on for so long without any real headway. I see the only way to resolve the issue would be to hold a peoples vote to ask whether people wanted the deal the government has arranged with the EU or to remain.

"I would campaign to remain and reform the EU, as I believe we are better placed to tackle the climate emergency within the EU.

"I want to make the lives of people in Rugby better by properly funding schools, the NHS and the police.

"I would do all I could to improve the lives of my constituents and help them to achieve their best.

"The challenges that we face in the coming decades, I believe, are best handled by coming together for the common good."