Ahead of the General Election on June 8, today we focus on candidates vying for the Blackpool North and Cleveleys seat
Blackpool North and Cleveleys has been held by Conservative Paul Maynard since the seat was created in 2010 due to boundary changes.
Previously, Blackpool North was in the same constituency as Fleetwood and was held by Labour’s Joan Humble since 1997 until she stood down ahead of the 2010 poll.
Although the seat crosses the boundaries between two towns under different political control, many of the wards are held by Conservatives at local government level which is perhaps a pointer to how people may vote at national level.
Voters in both Blackpool and Cleveleys opted to leave Europe following last year’s referendum, a move also backed by previous sitting MP Mr Maynard.
In 2015 he held the seat with an increased majority of 3,340 (up from 2,150 in 2010), with Labour’s Sam Rushworth second with 14,168 votes.
This time round there are five candidates vying to be elected.
Among the key battlegrounds will be support for small businesses with both Bispham and Cleveleys relying heavily on tourism.
The area has benefitted recently from investment in its sea defences with the latest cash injection seeing £27m invested in a new sea wall at Anchorsholme to protect homes from the threat of flooding.
Sue Close (Liberal Democrat)
I moved to Blackpool as a student and have lived here over 30 years.
The election was called because P.M. Teresa May is far from confident she can get her proposals on Brexit through.
The Conservatives have and always will be totally divided on Europe.
The Liberal Democrats have always been pro-Europe.
We accept the result of the referendum, but argue for the sake of our economy, we cannot justify simply cutting off our links with the European Union.
The UK needs some form of access to the single market, and only the Liberal Democrats are offering people an opportunity to vote on the outcome of these talks in 2019.
Paul Maynard (Conservative)
This is election is a choice to determine who leads our Brexit negotiations; a tough Theresa May who is determined to make a success of it or a coalition of chaos led by Jeremy Corbyn and propped up by Nicola Sturgeon.
As someone who voted for the UK to leave the EU, I know who I would want batting for Britain.
I’m now in to my eleventh year of living here and I am proud of some of the improvements I’ve driven, sorting out a new A585 by-pass, having St Mary’s rebuilt, having two Enterprise Zone created, forcing the U-turn on NoW cards on the trams, and ensuring both Thornton, and Cleveleys libraries will re-open.
Duncan Royle (Green Party)
My main priority is promoting a thriving green economy that works for everyone.
I’d do this through pushing for a genuine living wage of £10 an hour by 2020, ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax and promoting the interests of local business.
I stand for increased funding for vital public services, including the NHS, local social care and transport, which would create good quality local jobs that service Blackpool and Cleveleys.
We need better green spaces, clean air, water, and beaches, which I would champion.
Naturally, I would strongly oppose the threat of fracking.
Chris Webb (Labour)
I’m Blackpool born and bred, I went to local schools and worked across the constituency, starting out as a Gazette paperboy at 12.
Local schools face £5.8m more cuts. Our NHS is in crisis. Older people face huge cuts to their pensions, 1,300 police and staff have been axed and 5,400 children live in poverty.
We need change.
I will stand up for families and the disabled. Secure skilled jobs and opportunities. Fight to eliminate child poverty, champion older people to protect their pensions and homes from a dementia tax.
Representing my home town would be an amazing honour. Let’s make this change together.
Paul White (UKIP)
I am campaigning for a better Blackpool and Cleveleys, and will put Blackpool before national politics every time.
I am the only true candidate who will fight for a proper Brexit as voted for by almost 70 per cent of the constituency, unlike the soft half baked inadequate Brexit plans offered by the Tories and Labour and the downright undemocratic plans of the Lib Dems and Greens who wish to reverse Brexit.
I will be campaigning for a fairer country for the working clas, abandoned by Labour and never supported, only exploited by the Conservatives.
I will also fight to ensure local services are restored and the NHS is repaired after mismanagement by successive governments.