Europe & Internationalism
I was a leading player in local Liberal Democrat efforts during the referendum campaign, starting the street stalls which formed the basis of the local campaign. I want an exit from Brexit so the country can retain its EU membership, Cheltenham’s EU population can remain here and local businesses can carry on trading across the world’s biggest free market. If that cannot be achieved, I want the UK to remain a member of the single market and customs union. We cannot afford to lose the economic and cultural links brought by our close ties to Europe.
The NHS & Healthcare
The NHS & Healthcare I have campaigned and spoken against further downgrades at Cheltenham General Hospital, particularly in the A&E department. I will hold the health authorities to account on this point and will fight the prospect of further services being stripped away which would put the future of the hospital at risk. This means campaigning for more funding for the NHS and calling for expanded services locally, including community hospital beds.
I also want to get answers on what the CCG and others will do to cope with increasing populations – a topic on which the health authorities have been silent. We must also resist the current trend of downgrading sexual health facilities, which will disproportionately harm vulnerable people and women.
I know that a good education can define the start that somebody gets in life. As a teenager I attended a failing secondary school which suffered because of Tory underinvestment. That experience means I will always campaign for more money going into local schools. That’s not just extra cash in real terms, but also on a per-pupil basis.
I know that we have some very good schools in Cheltenham, but there's a shortage of secondary school places. This makes lives difficult for families forcing people to move house to new catchment areas and clogging our roads with school-run traffic. We need a new secondary school to solve this problem.We also need to ensure that children in the less affluent parts of town continue to get a good deal.
That’s why I was so proud of the achievements of the Lib Dem pupil premium during the coalition. In addition to this, I’m certain that we must invest in apprenticeships, further education and training, and university education too so that younger people from Cheltenham can get jobs and stay in the town.
Holding power to account
I have a track record of holding power to account and will ensure that nobody and no authority is beyond scrutiny.
In recent months I have held the Tory MP to account over fracking, the NHS and the Conservative party’s agreement with the DUP. I’ve also challenged the NHS on its plans for the hospital and the Local Enterprise Partnership on its commitment to green transport.
I also successfully campaigned for Cineworld in Cheltenham to introduce Cinebabies screenings for families with infant children.