General Election 2015 – Profile of Wyre & Preston North

Ben Wallace ' Conservative
Ben Wallace ' Conservative
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Conservative Ben Wallace stormed to victory in the first Wyre and Preston North poll in 2010, with a massive majority of almost 16,000.

Labour’s Benjamin Whittingham and Liberal Democrat John Potter will stand against Mr Wallace this year, who took 26,877 votes in May 2010, as will Anne Power of the Green Party, and UKIP’s Kate Walsh. The seat was created following boundary changes before the last election, drawing in part of the old Lancaster and Wyre and Blackpool North and Fleetwood constituencies, which were scrapped. The affluent constituency includes rural villages and desirable living areas including Poulton and Garstang.

Ben Wallace – Conservative

I live in North Lancashire with my wife Liza and our three young children.

As a former soldier and aerospace worker who has served as an MP for the last 10 years, I offer pragmatic and strong leadership to help get things done.‎

I passionately believe in rewarding aspiration and hard work, but not protecting privilege.

As one of Preston’s MPs for the last five years I have helped secure the £430m funding for the City Deal, superfast broadband, major road improvements and investment in Preston’s local skill base, as well as championing a booming apprentice scheme.

Every day I use my past experience of working in the real world to ensure that my constituents’ needs are not just heard loudly in Whitehall but are also acted upon. ‎ ‎

Regretfully, whether it is NHS services, schools or infrastructure, Preston and Wyre will always have to compete for resources against Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

It is essential we get our fair share.

Despite having inherited huge debts from Labour, a Conservative government will continue to invest in our NHS and schools, while encouraging business to flourish.

The plan is working: economic growth in the North is now faster than in the South and unemployment in Wyre and Preston North is down by over a half.

Anne Power – Green Party

I have watched as our rights, which have been hard won all my lifetime and before, are now being dismantled before my eyes.

All the accumulated wisdom, justice and freedoms that we hold dear is being systematically erased.

We are being returned to a Victorian society of a few very rich owners and dis-empowered subordinates.

I want the opportunity to challenge these things as best I can and fight for the common good.

Realistically I may not win but people need alerting to the dangers of voting Tory.

Fracking will ruin our water supplies and health to say nothing of the noise and air pollution.

Accidents and earthquakes cannot be ruled out.

The NHS has to be saved from their secret sell offs.

People need warm secure homes, free education and worthwhile jobs with decent pay.

No more secret deals by the very rich. Much more public scrutiny.

Ben Whittingham – Labour

As our only local candidate, and one of the youngest in the country, I was born and raised here, growing up outside Garstang.

I went to school in Lancaster before studying languages at the University of Edinburgh, where I was a special police constable for two years, and then moving back for teacher training in Preston.

I’m standing because we all think politics needs to change.

Too many people are left out of the conversations that matter whilst career politicians enjoy generous allowances and lucrative second jobs.

We deserve better, and with your vote, I can help change it.

I worked in the NHS and it’s shameful that the Tories and the Lib Dems have wasted £4bn on a dangerous reorganisation and carved up our NHS for private companies run by their friends and donors; I’ve been a vehement opponent of fracking and will continue to resist it; I want to see more affordable homes for our young people to be able to make their future here.

Above all else, I want whoever wins here to work hard for us.

I’m from here, I live here, I love here and I want to fight for our area and our future.

John Potter – Liberal Democrats

As a member of Preston City Council, John Potter has campaigned on a number of issues in the city and previous to that he was a community based campaigner.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of taking on politicians and political parties who have got too comfortable in their seats.

“Helping local residents has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Working with the police, community groups, council staff and the local Liberal Democrat Focus team to make a difference to peoples lives is hugely satisfying.”

Born in West Cumbria to parents who both worked in the NHS, John Potter moved to Preston over a decade ago to study at the university.

He describes himself as always passionate about liberalism and fairness.

Outside of politics and his work as an corporate cameraman and editor, he says his other passion is rugby and he plays socially for Preston Grasshoppers.

Kate Walsh – UKIP

I was born and bred in my constituency.

I live in Whittingham. I have a degree in Human Resource Management and a postgraduate Certificate in Education.

I own a traditional toy shop and am a committee member of my local business group and also teach part time.

I enjoy fell and trail running, having successfully completed three 50-mile Lakeland ultra marathons.

I also enjoy climbing and supporting local animal charities.

I am campaigning for direct democracy and use of referendums on contentious issues.

I am concerned about the massive amount of unsustainable house building which is taking place on greenfield land, destroying wildlife habitats in the process.

Fierce local campaigns in protest have been ignored by remote government, whose planning policies favour developers.

I am also concerned about the reduction in frontline policing, putting public safety at risk, as well as small and medium sized businesses being overburdened by ever-increasing legislation.

I believe that UKIP is a party that offers a vision of hope and aspiration. The old political order has now lost its way, being too far removed from those it claims to represent.

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