General Election 2010 campaign kicks off in Saffron Walden
A DATE for the general election has been set and in four weeks time people in the Saffron Walden constituency will head to the polls to decide who they want to represent them in parliament.
A DATE for the general election has been set and in four weeks' time people in the Saffron Walden constituency will head to the polls to decide who they want to represent them in parliament.
In the build up to polling day on Thursday May 6 the Reporter will be speaking to all of the candidates about the biggest issues affecting this region - from the expansion of Stansted Airport to the demand for more housing, we will put the big questions to the people who are vying for your vote.
In this first article we introduce the candidates who have put themselves forward so far. The deadline for nominations is April 20.
Sir Alan Haselhurst (Conservative)
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Incumbent MP Sir Alan Haselhurst, 73, has held the Saffron Walden seat since a by-election in 1977.
He lives in Duddenhoe End with his wife and has two sons and a daughter. He is a keen cricket fan and has published several books on the subject.
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Sir Alan was embroiled in the MPs' expenses scandal in 2009 when The Daily Telegraph accused him of claiming �12,000 of gardening expenses over four years - a sum which he later paid back "out of respect to his constituents".
Despite holding the seat for more than 30 years, the MP is not taking anything for granted and said he was looking forward to campaigning.
"Getting out there and knocking on people's doors is at the heart of the general election," he said.
Favourite tipple: white wine
Favourite holiday: safari in Africa
Last book read: Winston's War, Churchill 1940-45 by Max Hastings
Peter Wilcock (Liberal Democrat)
Peter Wilcock lives in Henham with his wife Shirley. A retired manager within the private retail sector, he now carries out social research for government departments.
He is a governor at the local primary school, and last year was appointed onto Essex Probation Board.
Mr Wilcock won a seat on Uttlesford District Council in 1995 which he has held ever since.
The candidate believes that only his party can challenge the Conservatives. He said: "The Liberal Democrats have come second at every general election in Saffron Walden since 1974. Labour and the other parties are out of the race and cannot win here."
Favourite tipple: Saffron Blonde sold at The Cock, Henham
Favourite holiday: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Last book read: The Storm by Vince Cable
Barbara Light (Labour)
Barbra Light works as a university lecturer in London and is a mum-of-three. She has lived in Saffron Walden for six years and says she loves the relaxed and welcoming community atmosphere and the special quality of life throughout the rural constituency.
"There is always room for improvement in our local communities," she said. "So when there was an opportunity to become your local Labour candidate for the next general election, I put my name forward, determined to support local people in areas such as employment, housing, health, better facilities for our young people and the elderly, sustainability, and integrated, affordable transport."
Roger Lord (UKIP)
K Independence Party candidate Roger Lord is the managing director of a property company and an arable farmer.
He is married with two step-children and is an active member of the Church of England. He has been a member of Tendring District Council and Essex County Council. His hobbies include hill walking in Cumbria, skiing, travel and mountain climbing.
"UKIP are not 'opportunist' as some are now saying," said Mr Lord. "I personally have been fighting the cause since 1997; but there is now a big opportunity for UKIP. We do have some of the answers to the deficit, by saving the billions wasted by the EU.
"We have answers to the restrictions on our liberties and we have the answer to honest politics by saying exactly what we really think
Favourite tipple: Edradour Whisky or Old Growler ale, brewed in Essex
Favourite holiday: Rural Spain
Last book read: Absolute Friends by John Le Carre
Reza Hossain (Green Party)
DR Reza Hossain is a community GP who runs a busy surgery in Little Waltham in the south of the constituency, and is also a skin specialist at Broomfield Hospital. But healthy people need a healthy planet, and when the call comes, Reza is the first to swing into action, whether it is to protect a local archaeological site or to preserve precious habitat on the other side of the world.
Now he will be campaigning to let the voters of Saffron Walden know of the Green Party's manifesto of sustainable jobs in a green economy, under the slogan 'fair is worth fighting for'.
Dr Hossain said: "Uttlesford may be miles away from the South East Asian rainforest, but how we live here is just as relevant to life on Earth
Chrissie Mitchell (BNP)
British National Party candidate Chrissie Mitchell, 68, has three children and five grandchildren.
As a coach driver she is well-travelled throughout the country and Europe, which, she says, has given her a broadened perspective on the changes altering the structure of our society.
She said: "For the love of my family and country and in memory of my beloved son-in-law, I feel compelled to fight to save the NHS from the ultimate decline which it currently faces due to the disastrous meddling by the present politicians who are out to rid us of a safe and sound health service that we once were proud of and envied by the rest of the world for having."
Previous election results for Saffron Walden constituency:
2005 - Conservative (Sir Alan Haselhurst)
Conservative 27,263 51.4
Lib Dem14, 25526.9
2001 - Conservative (Sir Alan Haselhurst)
1945 to 1997 - Conservative wins