An Honest, Fair Approach
Having been your MP since 1989 I am seeking your support again and proudly standing on my record. This time looks to be the closest election in memory – closer even than 2010, which delivered no overall majority – so every vote will count.
The past five years have not been easy as public spending was cut in trying to end the deficit. I believe the Government cut too early, choking off the steady recovery that existed in 2010, making the deficit worse through lower tax receipts, and delaying growth that is finally starting to come. This minor improvement is not being felt by everyone. The suffering felt by the poorest has been magnified by cuts to benefits and the imposition of unfair policies like the bedroom tax. Selling off the profitable Royal Mail for a pittance was inept.
I have argued for a fairer approach. My voting record demonstrates that I opposed cuts that would deliver unnecessary pain whilst calling for responsible spending and growth to get our finances in order. As you will know, I am not afraid to challenge party Whips, and I advocated savings through the scrapping of the HS2 railway line. I do not believe that we can simply cut our way to economic health. Our long-term success depends on achieving higher growth through increasing opportunities for our young people - the only way to succeed globally. I have always voted against tuition fees, and continue to believe in free University education. Apprenticeships should be as valid as a University degree and I do not believe in an artificial target of graduates. The Trade Unions have worked hard to protect those at the bottom and I will push for a higher minimum wage.
I will argue for a fairer economic strategy, whilst pushing for ever-improving standards in our schools.
The biggest local issue for so many in Vauxhall continues to be housing. Although warm words are being spoken, action has not followed and house building remains at the lowest level in generations. I continue to support tenants getting a fair deal from Lambeth and Housing Associations, as well as leaseholders whose service charges don’t reflect value for money.
Private renters are easily exploited when demand exceeds supply so I am glad Labour is promising better protections and improved regulation of letting agents. I will push for a greater building programme and for more council housing but not by destroying perfectly good family homes and breaking up communities. I do not favour a mansion tax which in our area would penalise families who bought cheaper property long ago. I do want to see additional Council Tax bands to address exorbitant prices of riverside developments, many bought by foreign owners.
Housing must be a top priority for a Labour Government.
We all recognise the dangers in the world with the growth of international terrorism. I believe that appalling crimes can only discredit the extremists’ cause. We must of course support people when they are threatened, but I oppose military adventures that do more harm than good, and am proud of voting against war in Iraq and Syria. We must also be vigilant that Governments do not use the spectre of terrorism to limit our civil rights, and I continue to oppose ID Cards.
The UK should be a powerful voice for a better world, and I will promote human rights wherever they are threatened, as in Palestine, Tibet and Zimbabwe. I believe strongly in the Commonwealth. We must challenge any nation that persecutes gay people. Climate change must be tackled but we must ensure the poorest are not harmed by higher energy costs.
I still believe that the EU harms our sovereignty and distorts our global focus; I support an in-out referendum to give the British people their first chance since 1975 to decide on the relationship they want with this changed organisation.
I will call for justice internationally where people are oppressed. Our civil liberties must be guarded.
I am proud to represent St Thomas’ Hospital and look forward to a Labour Government reversing the Coalition’s NHS “reforms”. The NHS is nothing without its dedicated staff and we must give them our support, as well as ensuring that our GPs are able to be more accessible, especially at weekends.
I will vote to scrap the NHS changes. I oppose privatisation in our NHS.
I know Vauxhall voters value honesty and independence of thought. I hope I have always lived up to those standards, and if re-elected, I pledge to always put my constituents first.