General election 2019: this is why Chorley's candidates want you to vote for them

There are just three candidates for voters in Chorley to choose from at this election after the main political parties opted to follow convention and not contest the seat held by the Speaker of the House of Commons - a position now occupied by the town’s most recent MP, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Sir Lindsay boosted his majority back in 2017, taking it to over 7,000 and a 55 percent share of the vote. His new role as Speaker meant that he had to resign his membership of the Labour Party and he will continue not to vote in the House of Commons, other than if the casting vote is required.

The three candidates for the Chorley constituency

The three candidates for the Chorley constituency

CONSTITUENCY BOUNDARIES

The Chorley constituency stretches from Hoghton in the north to Adlington in the south. But some western areas of the Chorley Council area fall within the South Ribble constituency - including Croston, Eccleston and Mawdesley. Check your constituency at ordnancesurvey.co.uk/election-maps/gb

CANDIDATE PROFILES (beginning with the person who held the seat until Parliament was dissolved, followed by other candidates in alphabetical order)

SIR LINDSAY HOYLE (Speaker seeking re-election)

Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker seeking re-election)

Sir Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker seeking re-election)

What are the biggest issues in this election?

Our hospital and the [absence of a] 24-hour A&E. People are, quite rightly, reminding me that’s what we need in Chorley. The other big thing is Brexit - people want an end [to it] and they say they hope I’m going to deliver what the country has voted for when I’m in the [Speaker’s] chair. It won’t be about what I want, but I will be overseeing what Parliament is going to do next.

Doesn’t your role as Speaker leave voters with less choice in the election and less representation afterwards if you win?

In fairness, I don’t choose who stands against me. There is still an election, people still have a choice - and I need people to vote for me. This idea that they will be less represented - it will not be any different to how it’s been during my last nine years [as deputy Speaker]. I’m here at weekends and I’ll be doing my surgeries. The advantage I’ve got is that when I want to meet with the Prime Minister or a secretary of state, that’s available to me. People see no difference, because there is no difference.

Mark Brexit-Smith (Independent)

Mark Brexit-Smith (Independent)

A report into the future of Chorley Hospital has concluded that its A&E is no longer viable. That was supported by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine - so do you now accept it, too?

I can write a report to say how viable it is - if you put the money in, it’s bound to be viable, but if you take the money out, it won’t be.. If you open it 24 hours and fully staff it, it’s then viable. But we need management who can deliver it. If they say it’s not being run [properly], then let’s get it running right. If we don’t have that A&E in Chorley, we end up closing down all the other [neighbouring] A&Es, because we pressurise them.

The government has promised money to develop proposals for a Central Lancashire super hospital.

Great - but in the meantime, invest in the established hospital. Don’t give me a pipe dream 12 years away.

James Melling (Green Party)

James Melling (Green Party)

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

I believe in Chorley, you live in Chorley and you get the best representation from me.

MARK BREXIT-SMITH (Independent)

What are the biggest issues in this election?

The Brexit Party [standing down in the constituency] left the people of Chorley without an effective Brexit candidate to vote for, so I decided to stand as an independent - and to make it clear what I was standing for, I changed my name to Mark Brexit-Smith.

You’ve claimed the unique situation in the constituency has left the people of Chorley without a voice - but you’re not going to offer a voice for Remainers, are you?

There are two ways of looking at it, nothing is completely black and white. But it’s a fact that up until this election, the people of Chorley could elect somebody other than Sir Lindsay Hoyle. In this election, because all the major parties have stood down, they don’t have a vote that will give them a voice - I think they are completely disenfranchised by that. In addition, the majority of people in Chorley voted for Brexit and their voice has never been heard. Given that one of the votes in the House of Commons - which effectively stopped a no-deal Brexit - was won by one vote, that one vote could make a big difference.

Aren’t you conflating the issue of what you say is Chorley’s voice being silenced with your desire to see Brexit completed?

That’s a fair point - there are two parts to the reason I’m standing. One is Brexit and my position on that is extremely clear. The second is that the people of Chorley don’t have an effective vote in the House of Commons if their elected MP becomes Speaker - whether they voted Remain or Leave. Some of the people who have contacted me are Remain voters, who don’t agree with my position on Brexit - but who perhaps accept that they lost and would like a vote in the House of Commons.

What else can you offer the people of Chorley?

Politics has become very tribal and polarised over the last 20 or 30 years. Whenever the Tories bring out a policy, Labour have to be against it [and vice versa] - but nobody has a monopoly on being right. Being an independent gives you the ability to vote for policies [based on whether] they are right or wrong.

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

Democracy requires you to.

JAMES MELLING (Green Party)

What are the biggest issues in this election?

We’re in the middle of a climate emergency - it’s the most pressing issue the human race is facing at the moment and I want to do something about that. The Green Party has a policy to spend £100bn a year until 2030 to get the [response] right. We need to take action now or future generations will suffer.

There hasn’t been enough of a shift in public opinion for people to vote for some of the more radical policies in the Green Party manifesto, has there?

There’s definitely more awareness and a lot of it is being youth-led - I think it’s just a matter of other generations catching up. Once they recognise the dire situation we are in, they will start acting on that and realise that we have got the policies to make this change happen.

Don’t those policies involve some radical lifestyle changes in the near future?

We’re going to have to look at reducing the amount we travel, the way we produce our food and housing. Our flagship policy of addressing climate change and making the country carbon neutral [by 2030] is going to affect every area of the economy and people’s lives. So it’s important we get it right and important that we make these changes now so we’re not paying a bigger price in the future.

The United Nations’ climate change experts say we have 10 years to make a real difference to head off the worst effects of a warming planet. Is that realistic even under the Green Party’s plans?

I think with our investment it would be - the question is whether it would be doable if we went for anything less than that and I’d say probably not. We are facing an unprecedented level of warming and we’ll see so many species lost and [the creation of] climate refugees. People tend to throw around token policies and gestures, but that’s not enough - we need to go above and beyond to make this issue right.

Complete the sentence, “Vote for me, because…”

I want to create a sustainable future that will help future generations and make sure we have a stable economy and climate - and make people’s lives better.

2017 FULL RESULT

Lindsay Hoyle (Lab) - 30,745 (55.3 percent)

Caroline Moon (Con) - 23,233 (41.8 percent)

Stephen Fenn (Lib Dem) - 1,126 (2.0 percent)

Peter Lageard (Green Party) - 530 (0.9 percent)

EU REFERENDUM RESULT (by Chorley Council area)

56.8 percent voted Leave

CONSTITUENCY FACTFILE

Population - 103,800

Ethnicity - White 96.9 percent; Asian 1.6 percent

UK-born population - 96.3 percent

Unemployment benefit claimant rate - 2.9 percent (4.9 percent North West average)

Median weekly wage - £610 (£560 NW average)

Areas of the constituency in the top ten most deprived nationally - 3 out of 66

Source: House of Commons Library