1. Why have you chosen to run?
I was sick and tired of seeing the views of the people of Ealing Southall ignored by the Labour Government. Issues such as Ealing-Southall’s appalling traffic congestion, litter problem, increasing drug use, especially amongst the younger members of the community, and increasing crime rates were being ignored by Labour. Even though the facts were there for all to see; for example, drug related crime has increased by 144% since 1999-00.
I truly believe that now is the time for change, and that the community of Ealing-Southall will trust me and the Conservative party to get the job done, to actively represent their interests, and to achieve genuine results for Ealing Southall
2. What do you bring to Ealing Southall?
Having worked here for years in business and as a volunteer for Southall Regeneration Partnership, I bring a strong track record of taking action and delivering results for local people.
I want to use that experience of leadership and working in the heart of the community to tackle the problems of crime and litter and congestion facing Ealing and Southall. I want to work with, not against, the council and to be an energetic MP for everyone in this constituency, representing their views at Westminster.
3. Why should people vote for David Cameron’s Conservatives?
People are increasingly turning to the Conservative Party because they’re tired with the spin and broken promises of this Labour Government. They’ve paid higher and higher taxes each year, but they’ve seen a lot of that money wasted in pointless bureaucracy and middle management. Money that should have got through to our frontline services – into schools and hospitals – just hasn’t got there.
Under David Cameron, the Conservative Party has changed to make the NHS its number one priority. We want to stop Gordon Brown’s cuts to Accident & Emergency departments, and to maternity wards. We want Labour’s cuts to the number of General Practinioners working in Ealing Southall reversed. And we want to give much more power back to doctors and nurses so that they can do their jobs without constant interference from Whitehall.
Conservatives recognise that we need to mend our broken society. And instead of imposing top-down solutions from Whitehall as Labour have done, we want to encourage social responsibility from the bottom, up. So we’re placing an emphasis on families, encouraging families to stay together to give children a stable home in which to grow up. And we want to encourage the charities and voluntary organisations which have nothing to do with the state but which perform incredible services, helping drug addicts kick the habit, or helping troublesome kids get out of a life of crime.
Solutions such as the empowerment of the family, support for community volunteering and social responsibility are totally aligned with the beliefs of the majority of people in the Ealing-Southall community, which shows that the Conservatives are listening to, and willing to support the views of the community.
4. What are the 5 main issues? What are your solutions?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve spoken to many hundreds of people, and the issues that have come up again and again have been to do with crime, with drugs, litter on the streets, traffic congestion, parking and the tram.
Violent crime, such as muggings and assaults, has been going up and people don’t feel as safe as they used to. People are angry that Labour have broken their Election pledge for more Community Police Officers. Thankfully, Conservative Ealing Council is recruiting an extra 50 [community] police officers, and I want to work with the council to get more police out on our streets and to tackle the criminals in our community.
Drugs are not just a massive problem, they are a community tragedy, devastating many families in Ealing-Southall – the number of drug offences has more than doubled in the last seven or eight years. Drug abuse destroys our communities and leads to more criminal activity. We need to crack down on drug use, but we also need to rehabilitate drug users to get them off drugs for good.
Traffic congestion is a major problem in Ealing and Southall – it’s frustrating for people trying to get to work or to the shops, it deters business investment and it pollutes the environment. We desperately need the Government to agree to the Crossrail project, and we should look at extending the underground to Southall.
I’ve been campaigning against Labour’s plans for the tram, and I’ll continue to fight them. It would be massively expensive, and it would increase, not cut congestion.
Litter on our streets is still a problem, although Conservative Ealing Council has made massive improvements in the year since they were elected. I want to work with the council to see how we can clear up flytipping more quickly, and how we can improve street cleaning services even further.
5. Where do you think your support is based?
One of the great things about this campaign is that we’ve been increasing our support in both Ealing and Southall. Traditionally, we’ve had more Conservative supporters in Ealing, but I think through my history of community involvement in Southall, and with five Labour councillors in Southall joining us, people are seeing that there is a real alternative to voting Labour.
And we’ve been campaiging hard in Ealing too, talking to residents about our ideas to cut crime and cut congestion.
In spite of the differences in the ethnic and religious make-up of Ealing and Southall, the issues that people raise are very similar in both – crime and drugs, litter on the streets, traffic congestion, opposition to Labour’s tram. There’s a lot that unites these communities, and I think I am the best candidate to work for both Ealing and Southall, to bring the communities together and work hard for all residents, no matter where they live.
6. How do you think the campaign is going?
The campaign is going extremely well. We’re attracting a lot of people who have previously voted Labour or Liberal Democrat to join us. I’ve met many hundreds of people when I’ve been out canvassing, leafletting, or just talking to voters about their concerns. And so many people feel they’ve been taken for granted by Labour for so long, and that the Labour Party just hasn’t delivered for people in Ealing and Southall.
Almost everyone I’ve met has been really impressed by the improvements made by the Conservative Council in the year since it was elected – the streets are cleaner, the council tax rise was the lowest for 13 years, and they’re putting more community police officers on our streets. People see that the Conservatives are delivering real improvements, and I think they now want a Conservative MP to work with the council to make things even better.
7. Do you think you will win?
Labour have held this seat since 1945, and at the last general election they held the seat with an 11,000 majority. That’s a massive obstacle to overcome.
But I really believe we have a chance of winning here. People are tired of being taken for granted by Labour and they want a change. The Liberal Democrats are no longer a credible party. That’s why seven Labour councillors have chosen to join David Cameron’s Conservatives and to back me to be the next MP.
It’s an incredible challenge, but we’ve had a fantastic campaign so far, more and more people are joining us, and we’re really giving it our best shot.
8. Why have 7 Labour councillors joined your campaign?
I think they’d had enough with the in-fighting and the factionalism within the Labour Party, and they realised that the Labour Party hadn’t delivered for people in Southall.
They saw that under David Cameron, the Conservative Party has changed to be much more welcoming to people from ethnic minorities. They also saw the great improvements the Conservative council has been delivering over the last year, and they wanted to work with the council to improve things even more.
9. If you win what will be the first issue you tackle?
The most important thing is that people feel safe in their own neighbourhood. So I want to work with the police and the council to get more police on the streets for more of the time.
More police will deter people from committing crimes in the first place, will mean more criminals are caught, and will make Ealing and Southall a safer place in which to live.
I also want to tackle the massive congestion problem. I will be pressing Gordon Brown to agree to the Crossrail project which we desperately need, and looking into whether London Underground could be extended to Southall.