With just one week to go until the general election, here is the Citizen’s special report on the candidates competing to represent Milton Keynes in Parliament.
Milton Keynes North
Mark Lancaster - Conservative
I have been the MP for Milton Keynes North since 2005. Before politics I ran the family firework company and am still working as a qualified bomb disposal officer in the Army Reserve, having served in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Bosnia.
> Build on our recent investment £2.9m in our A&E by delivering an upgraded hospital and improved GP services.
> Help people get an affordable home of their own, by extending the help to buy scheme and cutting taxes on buying homes.
> Ensuring that everybody benefits from the economic growth delivered by the Government by continuing to deliver ‘infrastructure before Expansion’, creating local jobs and keeping MK as a great place to live and work.
Jenny Marklew - Green Party
I was born and raised in Milton Keynes, leaving briefly to study International Politics and the Third World at Aberystwyth University. I was brought up by my dad, he is my inspiration and my hero.
> Supporting and encouraging local businesses- I believe they bring a vibrancy and character that certain parts of our city are really lacking.
> Ensuring innovative, practical and low environmental impact social housing solutions form a basis of residential development going forward.
> Ensure that minorities of all descriptions (including the disabled and young) are given a louder voice, making sure their needs are being heard, their opinions represented and their contributions recognised and encouraged.
David Mortimer - Independent
My background comes from my own personal experience of going through the family court system twice and my efforts to raise awareness of the inherent problems non-resident parents have with maintaining contact with their children after separation or divorce by using the family court system with members of parliament & the public through e-mail groups, websites & social media over the last 20 years.
n I will help the people of Milton Keynes by asking the right questions & publishing the replies I receive so everyone can see I’m raising the issues which are important to my constituents.
Emily Darlington - Labour
I am married with one daughter who is four years old and moved to Milton Keynes to be close to family. I have campaigned for more GPs in Milton Keynes, the Living Wage, ending child poverty and fairness at work. My career includes starting a small business, working with charities and in the public sector.
> The NHS is my top priority: we need a hospital fit for MK. No more delay. New buildings. More doctors. More nurses. More midwives. And a guarantee that you can get a GP appointment within 48 hours. I will fight for the resources our growing city’s public services need.
> More free childcare: as a working mum, I understand how tough it can be to juggle work and family. Labour will double paternity leave, extend free childcare for working parents and guarantee a childcare place for primary school children to help mums and dads balance work and family life.
> A different kind of MP: I think Westminster politics is broken. I want to go to Westminster to change it. I want to be a different kind of MP: a local champion, not a career politician. I will never take a second job and will focus 100% on MK and North Bucks.
Paul Graham - Lib Dem
I was born in Leighton Buzzard but have lived in quite a few places in the UK, Germany and Italy. I spent nearly twenty years in Scotland, where I was a lecturer at Glasgow University. In 2003 I stood against Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament election. Currently working at Buckingham University I have been living in Central Milton Keynes since 2013.
> Work to make Milton Keynes the regional capital for knowledge industries and logistics.
> Ensure there are improved rail services to and from Milton Keynes.
> Guarantee that we bring down the deficit and stay in the European Union.
Katie Simpson - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
I was born in MK General and grew up in Milton Keynes. After graduating from University Glamorgan in 2009 I suffered a long spell of unemployment and moved back in with my parents in Milton Keynes in 2012 where I found work as a Support Worker/Carer.
> Fight against all cuts. Reversing the cuts already made.
> Fight against all privatisation. For health services, railways, buses and utilities to be brought into full public ownership.
> Campaign for £10 an hour minimum wage NOW.
All affordable by collecting £120bn unpaid evaded and avoided tax, cancelling PFI contracts and ultimately fully nationalising the banks.
David Reilly - UKIP
Being a member of a non-whipping party, I am at liberty to represent the interests of Milton Keynes without fear of reprisal, even if it was to contradict the parties’ conventional wisdom; however UKIP’s platform gives the public awareness of my core beliefs. Having lived, worked and played in Milton Keynes my entire life parallel to engaging in politics I have swiftly learnt that we have two ears and one mouth, so to listen twice and speak once.
Milton Keynes South
Iain Stewart - Conservative
I have been proud to serve as the MP for Milton Keynes South for the last five years. I first moved to Milton Keynes in 1993 where I worked as an accountant in CMK and lived in Walnut Tree. I have lived in Tattenhoe since 2004 and, before being elected to Parliament, I served the community as a parish councillor.
> Stick to our long-term economic plan which will produce more jobs and apprenticeships and generate funds for local services.
> Having already helped to secure extra investment in the NHS locally, I will continue to campaign for improvements to our hospital and GP surgeries.
> Help more people to buy their first home and campaign for transport and other infrastructure improvements to serve our growing population.
Samantha Pancheri - Green Party
I am a mother-of-four who moved to Milton Keynes from London 5 years ago with my husband after studying Anthropology at university. Parts of my degree focused on human rights issues, and it was this that prompted me to take an interest in politics.
> Bringing academies and free schools under local authority control so that we can ensure enough places are available where they’re needed and that all children’s educational needs are provided for.
> Pushing for more social and affordable housing in Milton Keynes, instead of yet more developments of very expensive houses that are pricing out ordinary families.
> Protecting our hospital from privatisation, and ensuring that it actually receives the much needed investment to expand.
Stephen Fulton - Independent
I am no career politician. I am a local family man, school governor and youth rugby coach with three children. As a young man, I left school with 3 O’Levels, but was saved by an engineering apprenticeship with part time study, and developed into a technologist who has run business Start-Ups and worked for Global Technology companies.
> I will be only accountable to the constituency electorate. No party whip with a voluntary agreement with the electorate to pursue and vote for the key initiatives that are needed for MK, the City Deal Investment, Infrastructure, NHS Investment, Incentives for Traineeships and Apprenticeships to improve and create more job opportunities, and attract high tech companies that require this.
> I will proactively listen to constituents’ opinions on parliamentary votes using e-polls. Respect the people: Provide 100% transparency on all resources (financial or other) received and spent. Trust the people: Poll constituents on key parliamentary decisions – and vote accordingly. (When called for by a minimum 10% of constituents.) I will volunteer easy Recall if the constituency are unhappy with my work.
> I will support the MK Smart City Strategic plans and go further, by lobbying for MK to use its position between Oxford, Cambridge, London, Birmingham to be the Innovation and Digital Hub for SE Midlands, London & SE England, supported by Data Centres and an MK University. A real alternative to the London Tech Hub to drive greater innovation and small business supporting Global Technology.
Matthew Gibson - Keeping It Real
I am experienced in business, life and love. Now I’m doing politics and I think Milton Keynes is awesome.
> Get at least one new employer and one new shop into Bletchley Town Centre
> Improve the frequency and comfort of the bus service
> Organise a major, annual festival where we do lots of dancing
Andrew Pakes - Labour
I am standing to be the first home grown MP for Milton Keynes having grown up in the borough. I have worked for government, in business and in the charity sector and am currently an environmental consultant helping businesses on green issues.
> Fight for the NHS we need as a growing population in MK. That means no more delays on expanding our hospital. More nurses so that the NHS has the time to care. Better care for the elderly. And more doctors to improve waiting times at GP surgeries.
> Help the next generation by improving school standards, cutting student fees from £9,000 to £6,000 and working with business to create more decent apprenticeships.
> Speak out against the expansion of MK on the cheap. We are a great place to live but can be so much better. MK only works when we get the infrastructure to go with expansion. No more cutting corners. We need the school places, broadband, transport links and affordable homes for a
Lisa Smith - Lib Dem
I have a background in nursing, education, local Government and the voluntary sector and have gained a wealth of experience in supporting people from different cultures and backgrounds which is my passion. I have been working as an education officer for children with Special Educational Needs for the last nine years.
> To work to encourage the building of more affordable homes in Milton Keynes and ensure more can access the housing ladder. Our national policies would definitely support this.
> Push the use of Apprenticeships to ensure more young people have jobs and access to training which would not only help the students but the businesses of Milton Keynes.
> As I have a good understanding of eduction and the need to fund it appropriately I would ensure that the Lib Dem policy for funding education is carried through.
Vince Peddle - UKIP
Having lived in Milton Keynes for 38 years, since it’s early development, I have enjoyed living here and feel passionately that it is a wonderful town to live in, and should remain so into the future.
> Increase spending on public sevices, by removing the cuts in central government funding to Milton Keynes Council. This would be funded with the money saved from costly EU membership and by reducing the UKs foreign aid budget.
> Take more control of the decision making process on major housing developments, giving local residents more say in what is built and where, by offering local referendum. Also I would give priority to local people for social housing.
> Fully represent the constituents of Milton Keynes South as a Member of Parliament should. An MP should not turn their back on the electorate for 5 years, to be whipped (forced) into voting for their political party. I would not take a second job, and you would have the right of recall, if you felt I did not perform.