Six Lincoln candidates standing in the June 8 general election answered questions on their pledges to local residents as well as national policies and issues in a series of one on one interviews with The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Reporter.
All seven candidates standing in the Lincoln constituency were invited to take part in the video interviews. Incumbent candidate Conservative Karl McCartney was the only one to refuse the invitation, citing unfounded accusations of media bias against him.
The interviews with the six candidates were initially scheduled to be streamed live on The Lincolnite‘s Facebook page on Tuesday and Wednesday but the interviews were pre-recorded instead, in line with the pause in campaigning observed nationally after the Manchester terrorist bombing on Monday night. Party leaders announced campaigning resumes today (Friday), when we are publishing all the interviews at once.
Watch the candidates debate live on June 5th at Lincoln Drill Hall from 7pm. Join the audience on the night.
Karen Lee – Labour
Labour candidate Karen Lee opened the interview by championing pledges by the party to invest in areas such as education and healthcare, giving also her full support to the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn as a “strong and stable leader”.
She said the party’s commitment to scrapping tuition fees was a necessary pledge to help young people with “crippling debt”. When questioned about claims made on social media that she had once referred to students as a “disease”, the Labour candidate flatly and repeatedly denied the accusations. “I deny making any comment like that. In fact I’ve helped students.”
Lee, who works as a nurse in Lincoln, pledged to stop the ongoing Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) on NHS services in the county, stating “there’s no funding to put services into the community as they suggest”.
Iain Scott-Burdon – Independent
Iain Scott-Burdon is the first deaf MP candidate to stand in Lincolnshire. He uses British Sign Language and sits on a number of disability boards and committees locally and nationally. Iain explained that he was campaigning for “access for all” and acting on issues from the grassroots such as discrimination.
He added that he would like to see British Sign Language added into the national curriculum to break down communication barriers. “If someone said ‘what would you like to see in Lincoln?’ I would say for it to be the first fully accessible city.”
Iain added that he voted Leave in the EU referendum stating that “British identity was partly lost” when the country joined the union and a lot of “control was coming from over the borders”. He added he would not support a second referendum as “the people have already voted”.
Caroline Kenyon – Liberal Democrats
Local business woman Caroline Kenyon said that her priorities for the constituency are economy, education and health, promising the area would get a share of her party’s £7 billion pledge for education and £6 billion pledge for health. Quoting her experience in the food industry as organiser of an international awards company, she condemned Conservative proposals to scrap free school meals.
When asked if the farming county of Lincolnshire could become the new cannabis capital of the UK under the party’s legalisation plans, Caroline said she thought that was unlikely and that she had never smoked cannabis. She stated that legalisation of the drug would receive the strain on courts systems locally.
She admitted media focus on the faith of leader Tim Farron was a challenge, and that she had faced questions on gay sex and abortion from voters. She added while she was not comfortable with Farron’s “inner thoughts”, she was happy with his voting record. She added that she viewed abortion as a “necessary evil”.
Ben Loryman – Green Party
Green party candidate Ben Loryman said a key focus for him would be investment in sustainable transport options in the city, stating Lincoln must build on its first park and ride and offer more options to those travelling from further afield. He also praised Conservative initiatives to invest in the electric car industry.
Ben also told The Lincolnite he would campaign for more support of and investment in renewables in the city and said that he would welcome more wind farms and tidal projects.
On Brexit, Ben added that the job of an MP is to represent the people of Lincoln, who voted to leave the European Union. “Personally I think we should be fussing on not making a pig’s ear of it. As an A&E consultant, most of the jobs that I’ve offered over time have been from overseas and over half have been from the EU.” He added he would opt for a ‘light touch’ Visa system, but would support a second referendum.
Phil Gray – Independent
Well-known busker and Independent candidate Phil Gray brought his guitar and his politically influenced songs along when he visited The Lincolnite for his interview. He began by saying that people should take him seriously, admitting he’s “not the usual candidate”: “I don’t model myself on the Monster Raving Loony Party, but I do take inspiration from them.”
Phil explained that a vote for him was a vote to “end party politics”, suggesting that the system would be better run by Independent candidates representing themselves.
From his performances and conversations with residents on the streets of Lincoln over the years, Phil said he has a sense of the problems people in the city face on a daily basis and stated that he would want to decrease the number of homeless people in Lincoln, linking the issue with the country’s current prison system.
As a sweetener, Phil also promised to give the recent MP’s pay rise of £7,000 back to the community and proposed that all other members of parliament should do the same.
Kevin Harrington for Nick Smith – UKIP
Kevin Harrington, who was standing in for UKIP candidate for Lincoln Nick Smith due to conflicting work commitments, opened the interview by telling people that a vote for UKIP was a “change from the career politicians running the country at the moment” and a vote for the “ordinary person”.
When questioned on the role of UKIP now the referendum has passed, Kevin said the party had a role to play in “how we leave the EU” and added the party needed full control of boarders with a visa system.
He said the party ‘listens to the people’ and “although we have a set of policies and a manifesto, we are quite willing to change them depending on the will of the people.”
Aside from Brexit, Kevin said the party wanted to improve traffic infrastructure in Lincoln and dual the city’s existing bypass as well as the ongoing Eastern bypass.
Watch the candidates debate live on June 5 at Lincoln Drill Hall from 7pm. Join the audience on the night.