General Election 2019: Rundown on the candidates for the Calder Valley

Economic growth, improved transport links, climate change, and Brexit are the main talking points for candidates up and down the country, and topics for debate in the Calder Valley constituency mirror those nationally.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 12th December 2019, 10:57 am

The Conservative candidate Craig Whittaker will hope for re-election as the constituency’s MP - a position he has held since first winning the seat in 2010.

Mr Whittaker, who received 26,790 votes in the 2017 General Election, beat current Labour candidate Josh Fenton-Glynn by a slender 609 votes; a tight deficit Labour will hope to overcome this time roun

Liberal Party, who have put their faith in candidate Richard Phillips to contest the seat.

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Calder Valley candidates, from top left clockwise Craig Whittaker (Conservative), Josh Fenton-Glynn (Labour) Javed Bashir (Liberal Democrat) and Richard Phillips (Liberal Party)

Also on the ballot paper is Calder Valley resident Javed Bashir, who is standing for the Liberal Democrats.

Here are the candidates

Josh Fenton-Glynn (Labour)

Labour candidate Josh Fenton-Glynn, said: “It’s an honour to be standing as Calder Valley’s Labour candidate, to be your next MP.

“This is where I grew up and I love the area, but I believe our towns and country could be better.

“We have urgent tasks to tackle.

“Climate change poses a real emergency for everyone on the planet, but climate change also gives us an opportunity to create new jobs.

“Labour’s plan for a green industrial revolution shows how we can create much-needed jobs from developing renewable energy technologies.”

After the recent floodings in South Yorkshire, Mr Fenton-Glynn wants to see more government funding for defence work.

He said: “I’m chair of Calderdale’s flooding scrutiny panel.

“So I’m only too aware of how vulnerable many parts of the Calder Valley are to wilder, wetter weather.”

“We need investment to recover from the ravages of austerity.

“Our schools have suffered terrible cuts (£39.5 million) in four years.

“We must have new buildings for Todmorden and Calder High School, due to be replaced in 2010, but cancelled by the coalition government.

“We’re losing too many good teachers.

“We want to provide more support and less pressure by abolishing Ofsted.

“Our railways are a mess.

“Labour is promising to abolish the private system and create modern reliable service.

“I hope you feel as I do that we need change, and will help me overturn the Conservative majority of just 609 votes.”

Craig Whittaker (Conservative)

The Conservative Party’s candidate Craig Whittaker will hope to win his fourth General Election for the Calder Valley constituency since 2010.

On November 26, Mr Whittaker welcomed Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid to Elland to discuss plans for Yorkshire if the Conservatives win on December 12.

Mr Whittaker said: “The first job is to get rid of the biggest blockage to getting anything done in Parliament, whether it’s the NHS, schools or policing.

“That blockage is Brexit.

“Whether we like it or not, we have to get Brexit done.

“Quite simply if we don’t, we’ll have more paralysis in Parliament, which means more delay and dither over the things that are really important to us in our communities.

“The last two years have shown what happens when Parliament refuses to take responsibility.

“On a personal level, I’m proud to stand on my record of achievement for the Calder Valley.

“Over £500m investment brought in from government alone to invest in things that will make our lives better.

“Over £110m for flood defences and the wider catchment plan; £196.5m investment into our hospital trust for reconfiguration and building work; over £25m in new buildings in our local schools and a share of the £3.9billion Trans-Pennine transport investment into our new trains, extended platforms and complete signalling upgrade for the Calder Valley line.

“Finally, there’s distinction between the Conservative management of the economy and the Corbyn ‘credit card’ approach to economics. People saw what happened last time we tried to spend our way out of a crash. This would not only cause a crash economically, but is hugely irresponsible. A vote for me as a Conservative is the only way to get Brexit done and ensure a strong voice fighting for the Calder Valley.”

Javed Bashir (Liberal Democrats)

The Liberal Democrats are bidding to shake up the Calder Valley election result by toppling the constituency’s main two parties - the Conservatives and the Labour Party.

The party have put forward Elland-based candidate Javed Bashir.

He said: “I always thought I’d join politics as I got older, but didn’t expect to be part of the most vital election in a generation.

“My position as a Liberal Democrat is well known.

“I want to acknowledge and recognise the true grit, hard work and sense of community everyone has shown over these difficult years.

“It’s time for change. For too long the old two parties have dominated Calder Valley, each making promises it cannot fulfil and shifting the blame for their convenience.”

In his spare time Mr Bashir helps at food banks and has spent his career creating jobs working in industry and community engagements.

He said: “If the people of Calder Valley elect me to represent them as a Member of Parliament I’ll secure a Yorkshire devolution deal, to address the underlying funding crisis - from schools, NHS, and transportation - allowing priorities to be addressed locally.”

Regarding education, Mr Bashir said: “One of the Liberal Democrats flagship plans is to bring in a £30,000 salary for each teacher, which will increase by3% over a period of time.

“We want to give options to schools and communities to choose what lessons they want to learn, which includes the arts. This will be done through devolution of power to local government.”

“I’ll tackle the climate challenge through the circular economy model making Calder Valley the best place to work and live, while reforming politics.

“Vote Javed Bashir Lib Dems to fly the White Rose high and take back control.”

Richard Phillips (Liberal Party)

The Liberal Party (not to be confused with the Liberal Democrats) are respecting the referendum result of 2016 and are aiming for a “pragmatic deal” to leave the European Union (EU).

Liberal Party candidate for Calder Valley, Richard Phillips said: “As The Liberal Party candidate I believe Calder Valley and the UK needs a different approach, and I want to be that alternative vote.

“The party stands for the rights and opportunities of the individuals and - in all its spheres - it sets freedom first.

“I wish to return the powers back to the local community, to devolve control of schools and the NHS back to local authorities so that issues can be identified and resolved easily and effectively.

“The referendum result must be honoured to leave the EU and we must leave with a pragmatic deal.

“If that’s not possible then we must prepare to leave with ‘No Deal’ as a last resort.

“I’ll fight for the UK to take lead in the environmental crisis and push for investment in green, alternative and clean methods of storing and generating energy.

“(We will) stop HS2 and reinvest in our railway network with a priority of electrifying the lines on our local railway line.

“Finally, I want a fairer democracy for our country and will fight for proportional representation in our voting system and to introduce a constitutional bill of speech that supports a free-minded and liberal society.”

Regarding education, the Liberal Party candidate pledged to abolish Ofsted, and regarding a question on small schools, Mr Phillips said his party would make sure classes do not exceed over 30 pupils.

Mr Phillips wants to provide a consultation process within secondary educational schools so children can discuss topics such as uniforms and break times, which he states will “help them integrate more into society by being given choice”.