Urban and rural mix of Fylde constituency

Villages like Wrea Green make up the battleground in Fylde
Villages like Wrea Green make up the battleground in Fylde
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Today our General Election special focuses on Fylde.

Fylde has been a Conservative stronghold since the constituency was formed in 1918.

In recent times the seat was held by Michael Jack between 1987 and 2010 when he stood down from Parliament, making way for Mark Menzies.

The latter retained Fylde for the Tories last time round in 2015 with a majority of 13,224.

Four candidates have put their names into the hat for the June 8 poll.

The constituency comprises of a mixture of urban and rural areas, boasting some of Lancashire’s more affluent towns and villages such as Lytham and Wrea Green.

Residents are committed to maintaining the attractiveness of this part of the Fylde coast, which is perhaps why environmental issues are the main priority for many.

The pros and cons of fracking for shale gas have been well documented.

Those against the process believe it will cause environmental harm, while those in favour say providing the work is well regulated, it will bring economic benefits.

Another key issue has been residential development, with some of the rural villages being extended and new house-building schemes sparking concern about loss of countryside.

At last year’s EU referendum, Fylde voted by 57 per cent to leave Europe.

Mark Menzies (Conservative)

One of the most rewarding aspects of my seven years representing constituents has been helping individuals with their problems, and I am delighted to have helped hundreds of people with a variety of issues.

I am also delighted that after years of campaigning, questioning the Prime Minister and meeting ministers, the tendering process for the M55 link road to St Annes is underway and we will see work begin this year.

I will also continue to support jobs on the Fylde coast, fighting for BAE Systems in the constituency, in Parliament and further afield, unlike Labour whose manifesto commitments would lead to thousands of job losses because of its ban on defence exports.

Tina Rothery (Green Party)

Green MPs will hold government to account to preserve our NHS, say no to fracking, restore services, put genuine care and dignity back into services for our elderly, return to free education, advance clean affordable energy solutions and the long-term jobs that come with them.

The Greens have led the way on wisdom, honesty and integrity in politics, raising important issues others have too long ignored.

The reality of fracking, air polution and threats to agriculture happened under Conservative and Labour governments, along with austerity and huge cuts to services. In Parliament we challenge broken electoral promises and just as Caroline Lucas has done since day one continue to sound the alarms that need to heard.

Jed Sullivan (Labour)

I am a local man, raising my family and founding a successful social business in the are, and I am an experienced campaigner.

I understand the issues facing the Fylde, as well as its vast potential.

I am campaigning on the key issues for Fylde residents; adequate funding for the NHS and education, equality for WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women, defence budget spending allocated to UK firms, and banning fracking.

Labour will ban fracking.

A vote for Labour is the only way to stop fracking on the Fylde at this election.

While other parties oppose it, Labour is the only party that can and will stop fracking.

Freddie Van Mierlo (Lib Dem)

I grew up on the Fylde before studying geographical sciences at Bristol University, and I currently advise companies and charitable organisations on EU environmental and health issues.

My priorities will be to stop fracking in Fylde, stop extreme Brexit, protect the NHS and schools budgets, and ensure services like doctors surgeries are built alongside new homes.

I am the only pro-Europe candidate in Fylde. The Conservatives are pursuing extreme Brexit that will damage the economy and remove environmental protections, including on fracking. Fylde doesn’t want fracking. It’s costing police time at Lancashire’s expense.

It’s time we moved away from dirty fossil fuels and invested in sustainable energy.