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 honoured to stand for re-election in Clwyd South. This is my home. I was born and brought up here, going to Ponciau, Grango and Ruabon schools before going to university in Bristol and Cardiff.
I joined the Labour Party in 1985 because I was deeply concerned at how the divisive Thatcher Government was affecting ordinary communities like ours.
Before being elected to Parliament in 2010, I spent 15 years working for charities, and the experience and expertise honed during that time has contributed hugely to my work as an MP. I have chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group for Charities and Volunteering and played a key role in getting the Government to increase funding for small charitable organisations.
In 2015, I was named Parliamentarian of the Year by national road safety charity BRAKE after winning cross-party support to introduce a Bill to review sentencing for unlicensed or uninsured drivers who kill or seriously injure people. My campaigning on this issue also played a significant role in persuading the Government to undertake a sentencing review for all driving offences.
I am a passionate supporter of the Welsh language and culture and have campaigned hard on issues including fairer funding for S4C and the right to use Welsh in Westminster committees.
After serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary to former deputy leader of the Labour Party the Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, I was a member of Labour’s frontbench team between 2011 and 2016.
Locally, I’m a member of numerous community organisations including St David’s Church, Rhos, and Brymbo Heritage Group. I’m also a Vice President of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
Q2 What do you feel is the top local issue for this election and what is your policy on it?
The Welsh budget has been slashed by around £1.4bn since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. If re-elected as MP for Clwyd South, fighting ongoing Tory cuts which threaten our vital public services will be at the top of my agenda.
I will carry on standing up for our communities and fighting for the things that matter locally – things like improved disabled access at Ruabon Station and a new health centre for Cefn Mawr. For more affordable homes and improved transport links. I will also continue to champion our local businesses, voluntary organisations and social enterprises such as Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.
As someone who was born and brought up here, I will continue to work tirelessly for the area I love.
The Tories don’t understand our area. At the last General Election they chose someone from Chelsea as their candidate, and this time they’ve selected an ex-London banker who doesn’t live here either. The Conservatives also refused to bring in new laws which would have stopped bank closures in Cefn Mawr, Chirk, Corwen, Llangollen, Rhos and Ruabon, which I fought against.
If re-elected, I will continue to promote our local tourism economy to bring in new jobs and I’ll fight to make that sure that post-Brexit farming support helps local family farms and not just rich landowners.
I believe that good governments should stand up for everyone and speak for all on matters of national interest, not just narrow sections of society. I am committed to providing strong local representation for everyone in Clwyd South – not just the privileged few.
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?
Like many people of all political persuasions in Clwyd South, I am deeply concerned by the Conservative Government’s lurch towards a hard-right Brexit which fails to put Welsh jobs first. Even many traditional Tory voters I have spoken to are worried about it.
I have made it clear that, if re-elected, I would never rubber-stamp anything that would short-change the lives and livelihoods of people from our area.
Another major issue is, of course, our NHS. If returned as Clwyd South MP, I will continue to vehemently oppose Tory/UKIP plans for privatisation and will also seek to contribute to the vital public debate about the challenges facing the social care sector.
I also totally oppose Tory plans to bring back fox hunting and will campaign and vote against it.
As someone who has worked for a national disability organisation, I’m extremely concerned about the Tory Government’s policies towards disabled people. I will continue standing up against Tory austerity which hits the most vulnerable, including disabled people, the hardest.
Q4 What relevant experience do you have for the job of MP?
My family roots in this area go back at least two centuries, and I am proud and honoured to have been MP for the beautiful and diverse constituency of Clwyd South since 2010.
In addition to being part of Labour’s frontbench team from 2011-2016, I am proud of my track record of delivering for local communities. I have helped thousands of local people each year on a wide range of issues and I am involved in countless local projects and with local organisations.
Here’s what voters in Clwyd South had to say when I asked them this question:
Student Joanna Stallard, from Llangollen, said: “I have every faith in Susan, who is the candidate most dedicated and best suited to serving us and our area. From a young person’s perspective, I have seen Susan’s commitment to issues facing my generation through her passionate activism – her consistent voting against tuition fees is just one example. Susan has my full support.”
Emyr Davies, from Glyn Ceiriog, said: “Susan has been outstandingly effective – standing up for ordinary people, the Welsh language and our rural communities. She’s been an excellent MP.”
Sheila Dee, from Chirk, said: “Susan has been a huge supporter of local women’s pension equality campaigners like me and has fought incredibly hard for us. She’s been a perfect example of a hard-working local MP who knows and cares passionately about her constituents.”
Cefn Mawr business owner Peter Roberts said: “Susan has always supported local businesses and fought for our best interests. As a local woman, she knows and understands our area and the people who live here. She has done a brilliant job as our MP and we need to keep hold of her.”
Q5 What is the biggest differentiator between yourself and your fellow candidates?
Put simply, I am the only candidate in Clwyd South who can stop Theresa May’s Tories securing a landslide General Election victory.
Her cynical U-turn in calling this snap election – after categorically stating that she wouldn’t – leaves the people of Clwyd South with a stark choice. Ultimately, there are only two candidates who can win this seat. It’s a straight two-horse race between Welsh Labour and the Conservatives, and a vote for Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dems, UKIP or any other party will simply help the Tories sneak in and strengthen their grip on the United Kingdom.
I have the experience of representing our area in Parliament and I am proud to be supported by a wide range of people, including a former Leader of Plaid Cymru. I want to continue to stand up for our area and would ask people to unite behind me as the only candidate who can beat the Tories.
Someone who’s not from our area wouldn’t care as much as we do about the things that matter to us, so how could they represent local people, local families and our communities at Westminster?
Our home area will always come first for me. I have our area’s best interests at heart. I am the local, loyal choice.
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