Candidates react to a 4 July General Election

By Jamie Hill - 23 May 2024

  • North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland celebrating after their 2019 General Election win

    North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson and South Swindon MP Robert Buckland celebrating after their 2019 General Election win

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set the date for the next General Election for Thursday 4 July.

  • Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Swindon Will Stone and Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Swindon Heidi Alexander

    Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Swindon Will Stone and Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Swindon Heidi Alexander

Reacting to the news of a General Election, North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “I am the experienced, local candidate, having represented our community for 24 years now, firstly as a Councillor and now as the MP.  

“I was voted the 2nd most helpful MP out of 650 on casework and one of the highest voting and speaking records in Parliament.  As I have shown with recent votes on unnecessary targets, the infected blood scandal and tighter rules for holding MP’s to account I will always vote for what I think is right, not what I am told.

“Locally, I have worked closely with businesses, community, sports and charitable groups – helping raise over £300,000. 

“This election will be fought on who will be trusted to maintain economic stability, which is crucial for rising wages, good jobs, investment in public services and the defence of our country.  Here in Swindon this has made a real difference: 12,000 more people in work, the new Urgent & Radiotherapy Centres, the new £30m A&E which will open shortly, the £21m Institute of Technology, brand new Primary & Secondary schools, 164 additional Police Officers and the £900m Panattoni development on the former Honda site.  

“Whether it is national, or local issues – I have, and will continue to always be a strong voice for our community.”

His opposite number in North Swindon is Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Will Stone, who said: “"I am beyond delighted that the General election has finally been called.

“The public have been crying out for it. It's time for change. It's time for Labour and I am proud to be the candidate for Swindon North - the town where I was born and raised."

South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland said: "“I have lived here in Swindon for the best part of twenty years, bringing up my family and being part of the community. First as a candidate, and then as a Member of Parliament.

“It has been the honour of my life to represent you as your Member of Parliament since 2010. I’ve spent those years fighting for you, campaigning for you, representing you, and speaking up for you in Westminster.

“I didn’t come into politics to just talk, I came into politics to do things, and I believe that we’ve done that here in Swindon.

“I’ve held hundreds of advice surgeries for residents, I’ve handled thousands of pieces of casework, and I’ve spoken up for those who don’t have a voice.

“We’ve come so far together since 2010, investing record amounts in our health services, including a brand new £26m Emergency Department at the Great Western Hospital and an £18m Government investment in the Radiotherapy Unit, which stops the need for that journey to Oxford for anybody who requires that vital treatment.

“The Railways made Swindon great, which is why I am glad that the Government has invested in the electrification of the Great Western mainline.

“We have invested yearly in that perennial issue of potholes, and in Swindon, we have upgraded major interchanges, including junction 15 and junction 16, and a host of other important roads.

“Serving our town as your MP, but also as a Criminal Lawyer, I have continued my life’s work of supporting our justice system and working to make our streets safer. Which is why, as Justice Secretary, I passed laws to make sure that serious, violent, and sexual offenders stayed in prison longer and made the sentencing system simpler and more straightforward. Plus, reforms to the law of domestic abuse and child cruelty.

“Here in Swindon, we’ve seen an extra 160 police officers locally and I will continue to work with the police and local residents to help make our town a safer and even better place to live.

“I’ve fought hard to help restore our much-loved industrial heritage here in Swindon, including £5m from the Government’s Towns Fund to start the refurbishment of the Health Hydro, and restoration of our community assets in the Railway Village and of course, the Carriage Works as well.

“Like many fellow residents, I am concerned about the future of our town centre, which is why I was proud to secure £26m in investment for the regeneration of Fleming Way, which will act as a real spur to growth and change in our town centre.

“Through the Towns Fund, we have also used that money for the regeneration of our weekly market, which has also been an example of the success we have achieved through getting that Government investment in our town centre.

“Recently, the Prime Minister broke ground on the new development at the Honda site, which is going to bring around 11,000 new jobs and billions of pounds worth of investment into Swindon. I worked hard with the council and the developer to make sure that site got the planning permission that it needed, in order to see our town embark on a new generation of jobs, investment and growth.

“But of course, there is much more work to do, and as your local MP, I will continue campaigning on the issues that matter the most to you. Issues like free car parking here in the town centre, a better deal on rail fares for Swindon, more housing for younger people at a better cost, a workable plan to bring the Oasis back to life, and more investment and jobs of high quality. To make Swindon and even better place to work, live and play.

“We’ve come a long way as a town and a community since I was elected as your MP. But in order for me to continue that important work, I need your support, your vote at the election."

His South Swindon opposite number is Labour candidate Heidi Alexander. She said: “This General Election is undoubtedly what the country needs.

“It’s been one thing after another in the last few years. The lies of Boris Johnson. Liz Truss sending mortgage rates soaring. Nothing works any more.

“Swindon’s crying out for investment and we can’t limp on the way we have been. It’s time for some fresh energy and fresh ideas.

“I’m really looking forward to the campaign in Swindon. It would be the privilege of my life to represent my home town in Parliament and I hope that over the next few weeks I will be able to convince people that a vote for me - and for Labour - is a vote to give our town its future back.”

One other party in Swindon that has been very quick to react to the news of a General Election is The Green Party.

On hearing the announcement, Andy Bentley, the Green Party candidate for North Swindon, said "It's about time. I look forward to promoting the Green Party's positive message of real change. We are the *only* party telling the truth about the enormous challenges that the country faces, and the only Party with the policies and commitment to tackle them."

According to the Greens, the Conservatives are breaking Britain by  destroying public services, wrecking the climate and ruining the natural environment. They say that Keir Starmer's Labour Party has shown none of the ambition or commitment that this country needs to make a real difference.

Nationally, the Green Party has said that the need for powerful Green voices in parliament has never been greater in what is a now or never decade for global warming. According to them, only Greens can be trusted to fight for people and the planet, to have the courage to hold the next Government to account, and push for real climate action.

Rod Hebden, standing for the Greens in Swindon South, said "The past 14 years of Conservative Government have been disastrous, with Labour now on track to win by a landslide as people are desperate for change.

“But Labour have failed to convince anyone that they will provide a real difference, with Keir Starmer flip-flopping and watering down policies. Only the Green Party have the policies and plans to tackle climate change, create a fair tax system and put people and planet first."

With a big gap in the polls, the Greens believe that there will be less pressure on people to vote tactically.

According to Rod Hebden: "This year, people will be free to vote for the issues that really matter to them. You don't have to vote for the least worst option. This year, you can vote for what you believe in."

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