‘This by election came about most unexpectedly and the local party needed someone to stand here. The party were aware that although I didn’t live in Corby, I had spent 6 years in the area working with unemployed people, and helping pre-release prisoners to get into self-employment.’
What are you going to do about the high unemployment rate in the constituency?
‘This is an area that has a lot of problems and they need someone who is going to fight for them. They don’t need a sort of party puppet, the kind of politician who mouths the party policy and spends all their time in Westminster. That won’t be me. I will attract investment into the area. Corby needs jobs, – I’m sure all the candidates will be banging that drum – I can promise to deliver them, and I have a professional background in working with business and convincing senior managers to invest.
‘For example the Liberal Democrat, Stephen Lloyd MP, has visited and spoken to local employers and increased apprenticeships on his own and in doing so has increased the amount of available opportunities for young people in his constituency.’
Crime is a big problem in Corby, how will you tackle the problem?
‘Clearly there is a connection between higher unemployment and higher crime rates, and I am focused on both of these issues very much. Unfortunately the County Council are withdrawing funding for PCSOs which I think is going to hurt the crime figures as I would like to direct more money towards Beat Bobbies and Police presence. However, Corby will be voting for a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) on November 15th and so – if I were elected -these are some of the matters that I would like to discuss with that person.’
The popular opinion of the Liberal Democrats is that they break promises, what do you think the Liberal Democrats need to do to persuade voters that they are still a credible Party.
‘The Party as a whole has broken some of its promises and that upsets me terribly. I regularly have this debate with people from the constituency and the conversation is well worth having. I recall on one occasion, when I was out canvassing, I knocked on door and out came a man who was down as a supporter. I said “I’m Jill Hope, Lib Dem candidate for Corby.” He instantly replied “Tuition Fees. They are costing me a fortune.” I explained to him that it was Labour who introduced them and that the Liberal Democrats are not the Government, we are a minority party in Government, but as part of our obligations under the coalition agreement we had to vote for the Conservative increase in fees. He started to agree with me and did say that he would still vote Liberal Democrat, so I can change people’s minds. It is really just lacking the platform to be able to speak to thousands of people.’
Can you make any predictions for the Corby by election?
‘I think the votes may not go the way that most people think. I believe UKIP may get the protest vote from further right Conservative voters. I don’t think James Delingpole poses much of a threat and I do feel that Labour are a bit overconfident about this seat. It may not go their way in the end. We shall see on November 15th.
‘I also feel that turnout will be very low, which is a great shame for British politics if it ends up that way. I’m all for compulsory voting, I don’t care if you scribble on the ballot sheet, as long as you go.’
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