As Luton prepares to go to the polls here’s a rundown of the candidates for Luton North and Luton South and what they stand for...
Luton North - Kelvin Hopkins - Labour
Before being elected to Parliament in 1997, Kelvin Hopkins had a career in industry and further education and then worked in the trade union movement.
He has had the honour of representing Luton North at Westminster for 20 years, winning five elections and is seeking constituents’ support in this election.
After years of austerity, Luton desperately needs a Labour government to rebuild our economy, improve living standards and provide decent public services for all. Labour will build 1 million new homes in five years, at least half of which will be council or social housing and these will help to house many on Luton’s waiting list.
We will abolish tuition fees for students and reintroduce maintenance grants to give everyone a real opportunity to enter higher education.
Labour will increase funding for the NHS and reverse the creeping privatisation of health care.
Kelvin commutes to London and welcomes the commitment to return the railways to public ownership along with a freeze on rail fares.
Labour will again reduce class sizes to at most 30 pupils and introduce free school meals for all primary school children.
Kelvin will defend the fox-hunting ban and support improved welfare standards for animals.
Luton North -Rabi Martins - Lib Dem
Rabi Martins is a retired Management Consultant with a background in Business Development, Regeneration and Information Management Systems. A high-profile member of the Liberal Democrats Party, Rabi has worked at local, regional and national levels He has contributed to Party Policy, on Business, Local Government and Housing. He is an internationalist who campaigns against Human Rights violation and for Fair Trade.
Rabi also has a reputation for campaigning on diversity and equality. He recently introduced the Liberal Democrats Diversity Compact for Local Parties in East of England. He is a local Mental Health Champion.
Rabi contested Luton North in 2010. He returns to the constituency to challenge Corbyn’s Labour MP who voted leave in the referendum. Rabi says: “I invite Luton North voters to help give Liberal Democrats a strong voice in Parliament to challenge Theresa May’s hard Brexit which will damage our jobs, health services and schools. As MP for Luton North I will address the housing problems faced by our young residents struggling to rent or buy thanks to the policies of successive Labour and Tory governments.
As MP for Luton North I will help improve the quality of life for all.”
Luton North - Caroline Kerswell - Conservatives
I come from a humble working-class family. To fund my education, I worked in a fish and chip shop for 5 years, I know what it is to battle for a better life, I will fight for Luton. Today I live in Lewsey Farm ready to work for the community. I’ve worked in professional legal services for 10 years so know how to tackle difficult problems. I will be a hands-on MP running local weekly pro bono legal clinics giving advice and assistance. My common-sense 6-point plan:
1. Make Brexit work for Luton North: focusing on the economy and immigration.
2. Invest in health: introduce cutting edge technology, reduce waste at L&D and support mental health services.
3. Create local jobs: bring apprenticeships, champion Luton Town Football Club’s 2020 plan for Power Court and secure jobs at Vauxhall’s van plant.
4. Crackdown on crime: work with grassroots community outreach to tackle terrorism and attack the root causes of crime.
5. Inspire the next generation: bring Onside Youth Zone to Luton – a worthy charity I support giving kids “a place to go, something to do and be part of”.
6. Build a stakeholder society: create more affordable homes for everyone.
Luton North - Simon Hall - Green Party
I’m Simon Hall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Luton North.
I am a Lutonian, having lived and worked in Luton for most of my life, and I’m currently living in Bushmead. For the past fifteen years I have run a small business in Luton, employing local people.
I have chosen to make Luton my home because of the education and employment opportunities the town has given me, and the vibrant, multi-cultural community here.
Locally, key issues for me are the regeneration of the town, including investment in public transport to ease congestion and reduce air pollution for our residents. I’m keen to improve outsiders’ perception of the town, and to continue to make it a town in which people are proud to live and work, and to attract new business to the town.
Nationally, I am keen to address the root causes of terrorism to prevent further attacks. I also believe – as do the majority of world leaders – that the single biggest threat to our planet’s security is climate change.
Only the Green Party can offer the change that we need. In increasingly unsettled times, the Green Party offers a message of hope for a safer, fairer, and economically stable future.
Luton South - Gavin Shuker - Labour
For the past seven years, I’ve been working for you.
In that time, I’ve learnt that having a strong Member of Parliament fighting your corner can make all the difference.
Because politics isn’t a game. For me, it’s about you and your family, your job, and the security of our country.
Unlike some candidates, I’ve lived in Luton all my life - and still live here today. That’s why I wake up every morning thinking about how best to fight for our community - standing strong for our NHS, police, local schools and our armed forces.
I’ll work constructively to get the best possible Brexit deal - one that keeps easyJet flying, our airport growing, and Vauxhall building vans. I’ll fight the cuts to our NHS and our schools. And I’ll work tirelessly to regenerate our town, move our football club, and rebuild our station.
I have deep Labour values. But I’m my own man - and I’ve always stood up for Luton South.
Whoever is the Prime Minister, I’ll do what is right by Luton. Because now, more than ever, we need an MP who is an active local campaigner, a strong national voice, and the experience to stand up for our town.
Luton South - Dean Russell - Conservative
Dean Russell, Conservative Candidate for Luton South says...
I have been married 12 years and have a young daughter. I am the son of a lorry driver from a working-class family in Birmingham. To fund my university education I worked in factories and at an airport doing every job going from cleaning toilets to nigh shifts patrolling car parks. It wasn’t glamorous, but the lessons I learnt there were as valuable as my formal education.
Since those days I have worked hard to forge a successful career in digital and communications. I have advised global brands and government departments; including coaching local government, charities, the NHS, and university leaders. I am a volunteer champion for a national charity and I have been a school governor, regional vice chair of the Federation of Small Business, and was a Councillor too.
In 2015 I ran as the candidate in Luton North. Shortly after the election I set-up my own business in Luton.
I am passionate about Luton, and see the potential, but feel local people are being let down by the current local MP and council. I intend to hold local services to account, drive business growth and work across the whole Luton community to be a strong voice for all.
Luton South- Abid Ali - Independent
Married with four children.
>Support improvement of health care provision working closely with the Luton Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure budgets are efficiently managed for getting our medical services. Fight to protect our GP services being outsourced to large corporations.
>Fight for fully-funded Police and Law Enforcement.
>Resist reduction in Education budgets.
>Resist closure of our parks and libraries .
With our revenues from Luton Airport better directed at a Youth Opportunities (Yo!) program, we could make Luton a better place for young people who just can’t wait to get away right now!
>Fight Youth and Pensioner Poverty in Luton.
>Collaborate with council and businesses to support under 21’s being productive in searching and taking up work opportunities.
>Cheap, accessible, and sustainable transport.
Luton South - Marc Scheimann- Green
I have lived in Luton for over thirty years. I’m self employed in computer services. I am a member of the GMB Union, sitting on the regional equalities group – ensuring equal rights and treatment within the workplace.
When I was an elected councillor, I soon realised the total lack of honesty within other political parties. I couldn’t change them so I changed to the Green Party – and what a refreshing difference it has been!
I want to stop cuts to Bedford Hospital services, particularly to children’s care.
I also support local Food Banks and want to see action to address poverty. Nobody should be going hungry in Bedfordshire.
I love playing with my five-year-old son and being fully involved with his life as he grows up. I also enjoy swimming, tapping my walking stick to any live music, cooking and of course eating, and visiting the quiet corners of our countryside.
Luton South - Andrew Strange - Liberal Democrat
I am extremely worried about the effects that Theresa May’s pursuit of a hard Brexit — crashing out of the single market — will have on Luton’s economy. In particular how it will damage opportunities for our young people.
Born and brought up in Luton, I have lived my whole life in the town. I was a councillor on Luton Borough Council for a time and now run a small digital consultancy business here. So I know the dynamism of Luton’s economy depends on the ability of our manufacturing and engineering businesses to trade freely, the jobs and income we make through the airport, and how we welcome people from Europe and across the world who want to come here to work, to learn, and to contribute.
All that is being put at risk. My priority is to fight the Conservatives choice of a hard Brexit — supported by both UKIP and the Labour Party — which will lead to a poorer Luton. Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting to keep the UK in the single market and give the final say on whether to accept the deal or remain in the EU to the British people.
Luton South - Ujjawal Ub - UKIP
I am married with a 3 year old. I gained a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from Leeds business school, Bachelor of commerce (B.com).
I am an excellent communicator, active ex-Labour Party member, with experience of student leadership, experience in election campaign, actively involved in the brexit campaign, up to date with current affair and political issues.
I have worked for commodity traders, stockbroker, financial services, media houses, IT services and New media management and working with small businesses.
I am passionate about politics and want to make changes in people’s lives so they can improve their standard of living and educate their loved ones. I believe if I want to change the system then I have to be in it to make any substantial change. I am an internet entrepreneur who believes in growing together.