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South Suffolk

South Suffolk is located in the east of England. It was created in 1983 and has been held by the Conservative Party ever since.

The current member of parliament is the Conservative party’s Tim Yeo, who has served since 1983.

2010 General Election Results (Adjusted for non-voters)
South Suffolk

For more information, click here to visit the Wikipedia article.

Candidates

Jane Basham

1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
A better relationship with voters needs trust. Though I can’t determine whether voters trust me, there’s much I can do to invite their trust. I will not have a second home in London, but commute to work in Parliament by train – paying for my own railcard. I won’t employ members of my family on expenses and I’ll publish all my claims for expenses on my website and make them available to the press. I’ll continue to live – full-time – in the constituency and I’ll not take on any second job that adds to my earnings. I’ll hold regular local surgeries in places constituents can get to easily. After that, trusting me is up to them.
2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
I’m not sure I can say I’m the best candidate for this constituency without sounding arrogant, but I’ll do the best I can. I’m Labour because without the NHS, free education, housing and public transport, I and generations of my family wouldn’t be here. I’ll work hard to defend these crucial services against the current Government. I bring energy, humour plus business acumen, wisdom and life skills to the role. I’ve worked in senior management roles in the private, public and voluntary sectors. I was the Chief Executive of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality. Here I founded the Suffolk Discrimination Law Service and also empowered young people to hold the police to account and lead the Stop and Search reference group. Too often ‘consultation’ is with self-appointed community leaders. I’ve worked across communities and understand how, only by working with people, can we bring about change.
3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
Well, I’ve lived in this constituency for 25 years and, frankly, nothing springs to mind – except perhaps the immensely lucrative business career he’s pursued.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
Austerity has only worked for the favoured few, across Europe and here at home. It’s been successfully used by government to ensure that those without very much at all pay for the irresponsibility of those with most power, privilege and resources. Inequality, personal debt and insecurity are the biggest problems we face – and government economic policy has made them worse. Even in its own terms – set by the Chancellor – it’s been a dismal failure. The government likening a modern economy to a household budget and blaming a contagious Wall St. banking crisis on a Labour government says it all – treating people as if they’re fools. We’re not.
5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
Migration needs to be managed – it’s crazy that we don’t know how many, and which, people arrive in or leave the UK to live and work elsewhere or for how long. This country depends on the work of migrants and owes much of its past success to the lives and businesses that generations of migrants have built here. In a globalised world that’s bound to continue. I do not, however, blame either migration or asylum seekers, for the governments failure to organise sufficient affordable housing, school places and other public services needed by all – that scapegoating adds fuel to the fire of prejudice and discrimination. It’s not migrants who undercut wage levels, it’s employers keen to dodge paying even the minimum wage.
6. Many people are concerned with the cost of living in the UK, with wages having failed to rise in line with the price of food, energy and rent in recent years. How can this be corrected?
Whether it’s at home or at work, too many in Britain today are being ripped-off. We need a living wage, worthwhile jobs with better pay, training and more security, an end to zero-hour contracts, free access to tribunals and unions allowed to be effective in representing their members. Privatised industries – now multinational corporations – have become parasites, pocketing subsidies, dodging taxes and conning consumers. The so-called free market isn’t free and in important parts of the economy it isn’t working either. We need to ensure the right checks and measures are in place such as robust regulation and enforcement on issues like the minimum wage and energy prices.
7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
Our NHS is being turned into an empty brand. It’s logo risks becoming just a front for private health contractors. Too many staff, trained at our expense don’t know from one year to the next who their employer will be. I back the immediate repeal of the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act – our NHS needs to be fully returned to public service with ministers accountable for all it does. It’s not just about services free at the point of use, but also saving and improving lives by reducing waits for diagnoses and queues for viable treatments. There needs to be a more integrated approach to Social Care, and equal investment in Mental Health services. The difficult dilemmas raised by needs and resources can only be resolved by full and open democratic debate in Parliament – no longer shrouded in ‘commercially confidential’ contracts.
8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
I work with homeless, unemployed young people, many of whom have fallen out of our education structures. I see the desperation and lack of hope they face daily. There are a range of things we need to do. We need to spread success and tackle the domination of the economy by London and the South-East so that more opportunities arise in – and benefit – the rest of the UK. We also need to re-balance our economy away from reliance on banking, insurance and finance. Infrastructure investment needs to boost domestic employment – manufacturing, engineering and technology employment here, not abroad. These jobs need to be sustainable, ‘green jobs’ The best incentive to skills training, work and study for young people is sufficient fulfilling opportunities in well-paid, secure, long term employment. In rural areas we really need to tackle unaffordable and inaccessible public transport and address the challenges facing education.
9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
Yes. A Parliament that’s dominated by white, middle-aged, able-bodied, straight men, most from relatively privileged backgrounds, will always find it hard to reflect experiences and perspectives of people who have lives significantly different to them. That’s why women for example have been hit the hardest by austerity. Many MPs do a first-class job but the country misses out from the absence amongst their ranks of others whose experience could enrich the work they do and strengthen their legitimacy. The more young people see others like themselves speaking in the Commons the greater the chance they’ll see being an MP as a realistic ambition. That’s healthy for democracy.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I’d encourage them to vote after careful consideration and understanding that there’d be no going back if we withdrew from the EU.
I believe we should stay in the EU and work from within to change it. The EU needs reform, greater transparency, more accurate media coverage and increased democracy. The malign influence of lobbying in the corporate interests of ‘big money'; of multinational corporations whether finance, pharmaceuticals, food, genetic engineering, or bio-technology exists in the EU as much as it does in Parliament. People – consumers, workers, parents, citizens – often come a poor second. It’s not a question of national sovereignty versus EU dictat. National sovereignty is meaningless to today’s key issues – international crime, the regulation of tax havens, global warming, health epidemics, food fraud and internet freedoms. The idea that the world will stop while the UK gets off, is frankly ludicrous.

Robert Lindsay

Background
Ever since I was a teenager I have been convinced that the way politicians are running the world – driving for infinte GDP growth above quality of life – is not achieving happiness and is wrecking the planet. I am a former national newspaper journalist but for the past four years have lived in South Suffolk with my wife and two young boys running a smallholding. I am also a PR and media consultant.
1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
Change the voting system so that those seeking election have to properly compete for votes rather than take them for granted. Three in ten of the South Suffolk electorate didn’t bother to vote last time. This is because they knew, under the first-past-the-post voting system, that the Conservative will win, so what’s the point? I would also end union and corporate funding of political parties – all the other parties are in hock to their donors which is why they all sound the same. The Green Party is, very deliberately, free from corporate and union funding.
2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
I guess that’s for others to decide. But those who elected me a Babergh councillor know I will fight and work hard for my constituents, all year round. I’m doing this because I passionately believe we need a change. It’s not a career choice.
3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
Tim Yeo had many faults but he did attempt, albeit not very successfully, to get the government to tackle climate change. Until his last few years he did do some good constituency work for individuals.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
We only have austerity for ordinary people. Meanwhile, under quantitative easing, the government has printed billions of pounds of cash to buy up financial assets from banks and investors. This has benefited the elite in the City with inflated house prices, stocks and commodities, has not reduced the deficit, and it is sowing the seeds for another debt-fuelled bust further ahead.
5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
We do need a debate around what level of population is desirable for the country given that we have finite natural resources. I don’t know what level that is but it has to stop somewhere.
6. Many people are concerned with the cost of living in the UK, with wages having failed to rise in line with the price of food, energy and rent in recent years. How can this be corrected?
State investment in proper insulation and renewables will bring down the costs of energy. Councils being allowed to build new council houses and scrapping the right to buy will bring down rents. Improving food security by growing more of our own food here, using organic and less oil-dependent methods, will reduce the price of food.
7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
It was perfectly successful and very cheap to run before “internal markets” and creeping privatisation under successive Labour and Tory governments. Privatisation has brought in the additonal costs of putting services to tender, paying shareholders and paying a pack of consultants, lawyers and accountants. I would support the NHS Reinstatement bill to reinstate the NHS as a purely publicly run service.
8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
Investment in energy saving measures such as insulation and renewables are already creating jobs all over the country. Automation means that not everyone will be able to work all hours. Introducing a 35 hour week would mean that more people can work fewer hours.
9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
Yes. The first-past-the-post voting system has created hundreds of “safe” seats into which the big parties parachute careerist apparatchiks, rather than people who are truly representative of their constituents.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
The Green Party is in favour of holding an in-out referendum and we would use it as an opportunity to pressure the EU to become more democratic. We would support a vote to stay in. It’s better to negotiate with your neighbours than turn your back.

Grace Weaver

Background
Grace Weaver, 25, has been selected to represent South Suffolk Liberal Democrats in the General Election 2015. Having lived in East Bergholt for the first 20 years of her life, Grace has a strong knowledge of local issues including housing, education and transport. She will be working with local councillors and residents over the coming months to deepen her knowledge of issues affecting local people and to help develop potential solutions to local problems.
Grace was first attracted to the Liberal Democrats at the age of 16 by the party’s emphasis on social mobility, liberal values, and the environment. She wants to become an MP so that she can fight for those values in Parliament. As a young candidate, she aims to engage more young people in politics. Grace is a Young Ambassador for the Diana Award, which recognises the achievements of extraordinary young people and aims to promote a better image of young people in public debate. She has also volunteered as a Youth Leader for the gay rights charity Stonewall.
For the past three years, Grace has worked with health and disability charities, helping them to realise their public affairs and campaigns strategies. She is particularly interested in mental health, and has campaigned for better visibility and advocacy for mental health in the workplace.
1. What do you plan to do in order to make sure you remain ‘in touch’ with the electorate?
My priority is to engage young voters, so I will be aiming to work with local youth representatives, for example from the UK Youth Parliament, to stay ‘in touch’ with young voters. More broadly, I will be working with local councillors on the ground to speak to as many residents as possible and gather their views on local issues.
2. What makes you the best candidate for this constituency?
I grew up in South Suffolk and lived there for 20 years, so I have a strong attachment to the constituency and an excellent understanding of local issues. I have a passion for the values that I think many local people hold, such as the need for an outstanding education system. Finally, I have a strong background in advocacy and leadership, so I have the skills with which to fight for local people’s needs.
3. What has the current Member achieved that you believe has been successful?
I don’t believe he has achieved anything.
4. In your opinion, is austerity working? What should we take from the state of the economy during this Government’s tenure?
I believe that this Government’s economic policies have brought the UK’s economy up from a very worrying situation. They have had particularly positive effects on employment.
5. Does (legal) immigration need more limitations or is it vital for the UK?
I believe that legal immigration benefits the UK, particularly in agricultural areas such as South Suffolk. However, I am mindful of the burden that it places on public services in certain areas, so I support carefully thought-out limitations on immigration within EU law.
6. Many people are concerned with the cost of living in the UK, with wages having failed to rise in line with the price of food, energy and rent in recent years. How can this be corrected?
The rise in food, energy and rent prices is deeply concerning. I think we need to work with these industries and their regulators to ensure that consumers are being treated fairly. We also need to work with employers to encourage them to pay workers a living wage.
7. How would you like to see the NHS change in the future in order to become more successful?
There are three key things that I think will improve the NHS:

– an increased emphasis on prevention
– the roll out of innovation, and sharing of good practice
– integration and coordination of services

8. What measures do you think need to be taken to decrease unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and those who have never been employed?
I think people’s prospects need to be improved right from the beginning, with early intervention methods such as free school meals for infants, to improve children’s performance at school. Young people also need to be given better careers’ advice at school. When a young person leaves school, they should have the option of going to university or going into vocational education. Employers should be encouraged to pay interns so that anyone with the right skills feels able to apply.
9. Does the lack of diversity in Parliament equate to a lack of representation?
To a certain extent, yes. I think you need to have a strong group of representatives from each of the main communities in the country in order for Parliament to be representative. For example, if there are no young people in Parliament, I don’t believe it can properly represent the interests of young people.
10 . If an EU Referendum were to take place, how would you encourage your constituents to vote and why?
I would encourage them to vote to stay in the EU. We live in an era of globalisation, where the issues we face are best solved through cooperation with other countries. The EU also benefits our economy immeasurably.

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