It’s been a long journey, but polling day is finally upon us in Bracknell. In 24 hours time it will all be over and the results will be in.
As I pause briefly this afternoon it’s good to reflect on all that’s gone by.
For me one of the greatest privileges of standing as a Parliamentary Candidate has been the correspondance and communication with voters. I set out after my selection to begin as I would intend to go on if elected as your MP, which is why I am proud to be able to declare that every single voter who has contacted me about any issue has had a direct personal response.
It’s been hard work, particularly whilst holding down a full time job and having recently become a new father, but if you’ve taken the time to write to me I feel that it would be disrespectful not to write back. Sadly not all of the other candidates have taken the same view; I’ll not name and shame, but many voters have written back to thank me for my responses and note that several of the other candidates have not bothered to make the same time for them.
In total I have received (and replied to) 532 emails or letters from my prospective constituents in the last 100 days!
So what are the really big issues for Bracknell residents that I hope to tackle if elected today?
1. The largest single issue has been the protection of our NHS (172 emails). I have stood up consistently throughout the campaign for the fundamental principles of an NHS that will always be publicly funded and free at the point of use, for all British citizens, for all medical needs. In particular I am proud to have stood up and challenged our Conservative incumbent, Dr Phillip Lee, on some of his abhorent positions of the future of the NHS – you can read my open letter to Dr Lee here.
2. The second issue has been tax avoidance (129 emails). It is clear, and I agree, that many hard working Bracknell residents feel rightly angry that a small number of super rich individuals and corporations are not paying their fair share. I am proud of the work the Lib Dems have done in government to crack down on tax avoidance and eliminate loopholes – in total making over 40 changes to the law in this area during the last five years – and of our strong proposals going forward.
3. I am really encouraged that the third most significant concern for the people of Bracknell was the protection of our environment (67 emails). We’ve made some massive acheivements during the last government, for instance we have secured binding EU agreement to ambitious new decarbonisation targets, and we have almost tripled renewable electricity generation in the UK in just five years. The Liberal Democrats have been the only major party to put the environment front and centre in the 2015 election with our ambitious plans for a zero-carbon Britain and Five Green Laws.
Remember, if you’ve questions get in touch. I’m still answering emails today so will endeavour to get every voter I possibly can an answer before polls close.