NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, May 1st, 2017.
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.
Q1 Are you able to tell us a little about who you are, any political history and about your political leanings?
I am married with two children, moved to Wrexham in 1986 and am a qualified solicitor. I ran my own business for the years before I was first elected in as Wrexham’s MP in 2001. I have been a volunteer for the Labour Party since I first moved to Wrexham.
I am the son of a worker in a cable factory and a housewife, who worked part time as a cleaner. I was the first in my family to go to University and studied law at New College, Oxford. My family is very important to me and I believe strongly that those who succeed owe obligations to help others, but that we all must do our best to get on.
My family were strong Labour supporters, influenced by working in coal mining and manufacturing.
Q2 What do you feel is the top local issue for this election and what is your policy on it?
The decline of Wrexham town centre is a constant local theme. Reductions in police numbers as a result of Conservative cuts have combined with a failure to work together to address the problem of Novel Psychoactive substance use to create a negative impression of central Wrexham. Things are beginning to change – I was pleased to go along to a session a couple of weeks ago http://www.wrexham.com/news/groundbreaking-approach-to-tackling-substance-misuse-being-trialled-in-wrexham-131247.html which went well. I am pleased that agencies are working together in this way and I will continue to work alongside them.
The issues we have in Wrexham are intensified by increase in empty shop units as a result of a planning policy that leaves people confused as to where the Town Centre is. We need to build on the positive work being done with local events, including weekends like Focus Wales as well as the street festivals and Choir Festival and engage the Council much more actively in a constructive discussion on the future of the Town Centre. I worked closely with the previous Council to secure investment by broadband businesses in Wrexham – something which will benefit thousands of homes in our area – and that same inclusive approach needs to be followed in addressing the complex issue of our Town Centre.
Q3 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 ?
Jobs and living standards are always important and, as the UK is leaving the EU, ensuring local employers like Airbus, Magellan and Kellogg’s have trading rules that do not prevent exports is very important.
We also need to make Wrexham more competitive which is why I have worked long and hard to secure world class broadband services, essential in the modern economy, and for improvements in transport links.
In short, the U.K. Government needs to invest to create more prosperity and we need to secure more investment locally from both the public and private sector.
I have helped to attract private sector investors to Wrexham and we have secured transport investment from the Labour Welsh Government. We are also working on a cross-party basis to put forward radical transport proposals across North Wales and North West England to boost our regional economy. However, these proposals need support – and the Tories in Westminster have yet to commit to supporting Labour’s vision of the North Wales Metro which will create huge job opportunities in our area.
I will fight for that overdue investment to happen.
Q4 What relevant experience do you have for the job of MP?
I was an employer of a dozen people on the private sector and ran a small business of my own. I know what it is to be the last person to be paid in a business. I have been Wrexham’s MP since 2001 and, in addition, served as Business Minister where I was responsible for Labour’s successful Car Scrappage Scheme in 2009-10.
I am an experienced, active Parliamentarian and promote Wrexham in Parliament at every opportunity. I hold the Government to account, especially using the cases from my constituency surgeries – whether that is local policing or passport problems. I am a listening MP and found my background as a solicitor helpful in preparing for acting as an advocate for my constituents either in Parliament or outside. I have worked on Select Committees, cross-examining to find truth and to help make better laws – and have also used these Committees to promote Wrexham organisations like the excellent Disabled Supporters’ Association at our football club.
Q5 What is the biggest differentiator between yourself and your fellow candidates?
I am determined, resilient and am prepared to stand up for what I believe to be right. Though committed to my Party, I have, on rare occasions, such as on the Iraq War and on the introduction of tuition fees, voted against my Party because it was the right thing to do.
I also campaigned against the Labour Government’s proposal to close the Remploy factory in Wrexham in 2008 and persuaded them to reverse the decision. I have the independence of mind to act in the best interests of Wrexham and the experience to enable me to make the right judgements about the future of the people of Wrexham who I have been very proud to represent.
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