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News Archive > General > Former MP in fight to retake seat

Former MP in fight to retake seat

By Warren Wilkins 3rd May 2017

Former MP in fight to retake seat
FIGHTING BACK: Stephen Gilbert

THE TOWN’S former MP who lost his seat in the 2015 Tory landslide, has announced his plans to fight to win back the seat and give local people a voice in a Parliament expected to be dominated by a large Conservative majority.

Stephen Gilbert, 40, who has spent the last two years training as a schoolteacher at Penrice Academy, is set to pass up a job teaching history to attempt to retake the St Austell and Newquay seat on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Gilbert believes that with Theresa May almost certain to win a large majority in the June General Election, the only way to prevent an “economically disastrous hard Brexit”  will be having enough MPs able to stand up against the May Government, and speak up for  the needs of local people.

The former MP  is unequivocal in his view that the result of the independence referendum must be respected, but says he wants to fight to get the best possible deal for his constituents, which he believes current MP Steve Double has failed to do. He told the Voice that whatever deal Theresa May gets from Brussels, the people should get a say in whether it is good enough.

Mr Gilbert said: “I want to be clear, I voted remain and believe that Britain is stronger in Europe, but I respect the referendum result.

“What I don’t respect is our current MP who has consistently voted to put his party’s interests ahead of the interests of our farmers, fishermen and the interests of our vital tourist industry.  

“We need an MP who is capable of standing up for Cornwall, but what we have is a weak Tory ‘yes man’.”  

Mr Gilbert believes that Theresa May will ignore the needs of Cornwall as big business and London lobby groups battle it out for their own sectors.

He said: “Any final Brexit deal needs to be put to the British people because there is just too much at stake to give May a blank cheque and then just stand back and trust politicians in Westminster to look out for the people of St Austell and Newquay, 250 miles away.  

“We may have voted for departure but we didn’t vote to have no say at all about what that departure would be like. These are the people who brought us the lie about £350m a week for the NHS.”

Stephen Gilbert served as the area’s MP from 2010 to 2015 and was a councillor before running for Parliament. Mr Gilbert lives in St Austell and is from a clay-mining family from Nanpean.

Mr Gilbert won his seat for the Liberal Democrats in 2010 with a majority of 1,300 over Conservative rival Caroline Righton securing 43 per cent of votes cast.

But in the 2015 General Election Lib Dem support across Cornwall slumped, and local businessman Steve Double took the seat for the Conservatives with 40 per cent of votes cast.

The 2015 General Election also saw a surge in support for UKIP whose share of the constituency vote jumped from 3.7 per cent in 2010 to 16.9 per cent in 2015.

By Warren Wilkins 3rd May 2017

Paul Roberts 3rd May 2017 19:05
I have to say that I find Stephen´s comment about our current MP not putting the needs of the constituents above his own somewhat laughable.

You have to remember Stephen´s voting record and he did not oppose The health and Social Care Act which has now filtered down to local level under the guise of a potentially damaging Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Cornwall, voted for a massive hike in student fees despite having very publicly signed a pledge saying that he would not.

These decisions have had a profound and long lasting detrimental effect on many residents of St Austell and Newquay.

In all but name he was acting as a Conservative for the majority of his tenure and this is evidenced by his voting record. That is what we ended up with when people voted tactically in 2010.

Young people and families in St Austell deserve an MP who will really stand up for them. Not an MP who votes systematically against local people´s needs.

Since 2015 Labour membership in St Austell and Newquay has increased by about 700%! Labour are now a major force in this area and will be challenging the Conservative´s hard in this General Election.

Only Labour offer a real alternative at this election. 10,000 more police on the beat, free school meals for all primary school children, building a million homes with at least 500,000 council houses over next five years, a fully funded NHS that fully publicly owned, investment I´m the rail link to Bristol and London and bringing rail back into public control, scrapping Theresa May´s grammar school plans and instead investing in high quality schooling for all.

Please do not be taken in by our Liberal Democrat Candidate again! If you vote Labour, you get Labour. If you vote Liberal Democrat...who knows? It depends which way the wind is blowing in my opinion.

In Kevin Neil we have a very strong and capable candidate who works in Cornwall and sees the sometimes catastrophic effects of austerity on a day-to-day basis. I know that if elected he will have the interests of the whole constituency at heart.

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