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Carole O’Toole – Welsh Liberal Democrats – Wrexham

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, May 1st, 2017.

Wrexham Candidates:Ian Lucas – Welsh LabourAndrew Atkinson – Welsh ConservativesCarrie Harper – Plaid CymruCarole O’Toole – Welsh Liberal Democrats

We have invited all candidates to complete a very brief bio / question set ahead of the General Election.

You can also view our live debate on the evening of 30th May.

Are you able to tell us a little about who you are, any political history and about your political leanings.

I was born and raised in Cardiff but have lived in Wrexham for 38 years. I joined the Liberal Party in the 1980s and have been involved at all levels of the Party ever since. One of the main reasons I joined the Liberal Party was because then, as now with the Liberal Democrat Party, it was the most pro-European of the British political parties. I have stood in several elections over the years, including for the former Clwyd County Council, Wrexham County Borough Council and Acton Community Council. I stood in Wrexham for the Welsh Assembly in 1999 when I came second. I was a member of Wrexham CBC for nine years until May 2017. I was a member of Acton Community Council for approximately 20 years also until May 2017.
Until recently I was Deputy President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and I am now the Chair of the Welsh Liberal Democrats National Executive Committee.

I want to live in a society which is open, united and tolerant; a society in which everyone can prosper, be treated equally and in which poverty is eradicated. I believe in devolving political power as much as possible, whether at national or local level, and have championed local community politics throughout my political career to date.

What do you feel is the top local issue for this election and what is your policy on it?
I do not think there is one top local issue. The NHS, the town centre and anti-social behaviour are issues which are topical in the media and with some residents. I think the economy and issues related to growing the local economy are my top local issues. I am concerned about how a Hard Brexit will affect Wrexham’s economy and indeed that of the whole of Wales. I wish to promote policies which encourage businesses and industry to settle in towns like Wrexham, policies which improve Wrexham’s broadband connectivity and also improve the infrastructure, road and rail connectivity for Wrexham with the rest of Wales, London and the North West. Also, policies which promote investing in the town’s workforce and excellent college and university are also of paramount importance to growing Wrexham’s economy..

What do you feel is the top issue for Westminster in the forthcoming parliament term, and briefly explain how you would like to see your desired outcome achieved?

Unquestionably for me, it is Brexit. I am a firmly committed Remainer. Out of Europe, I fear for Britain’s future and I fear for the young.

My desired outcome would be to stay in Europe following a referendum on the Brexit deal.

Failing that, I hope that the Brexit negotiations result in a Britain which remains open and tolerant, establishing the closest possible cooperation with Europe on all matters, but particularly about borders and trade.

What relevant experience do you have for the job of MP?
If some part of the job of being an MP is sitting in meetings, sometimes chairing them, listening to debates, making difficult and unpopular decisions, then I have had over 30 years of experience of doing just that within the political, educational, charity and voluntary sectors both in Wrexham and further afield. I have considerable campaigning and lobbying experience, sometimes on issues relevant to Wrexham, other times more national or international issues.

The last nine years I have spent as County Borough Councillor have provided me with invaluable experience of working with people who approach politicians for help, and then representing their views in the hope of resolving the problem. I understand the importance of effective listening skills and an empathetic approach which I believe are necessary for an aspiring MP.

As a retired social worker I am aware of the growing numbers of people who for whatever reason do not thrive in our society, an awareness which would be of benefit to anyone wishing to join the institution which carries so much responsibility for legislation which directly impacts on their lives.
There are not many social workers in Parliament.

What is the biggest differentiator between yourself and your fellow candidates?

I am Carole O’Toole………. they are not. I do not know my fellow candidates well enough to really be able to comment.

I do know that I have spent 38 years working in and contributing to the life of this town which I have made my home. I am aware of the challenges facing the town locally and nationally, but also of the opportunities which can be seized to enable the town to prosper and its citizens to thrive. I believe that Wrexham has the potential to be a vibrant town, the gateway to North Wales. It would be an honour to represent Wrexham as its next Member of Parliament.

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