As Britain gets ready for the General Election on December 12, we asked all seven Parliamentary candidates for Luton South to tell us why they are standing and what they will do for you.
INDEPENDENT - GAVIN SHUKER
"I've lived in Luton all my life. I’ve been hard at work for you, for nearly a decade. In this coming election, I’m standing as the Independent candidate. That means I don’t work for the political parties: I only work for you.
"It’s clear that the two main political parties have changed beyond measure. All they offer is hard-left or hard-brexit. Labour has been taken over by a hard left clique and Jeremy Corbyn’s hand-picked candidate in this seat backs him all the way. Labour thinks this is a safe seat, and are taking your vote for granted - even choosing someone that backs Brexit, despite the harm we know it will do to our town and the jobs it puts at stake.
"The Lib Dems have stood aside and backed me as the Remain candidate here. I’m for a deal that protects Luton’s jobs, and opportunities for young people."
LABOUR - RACHEL HOPKINS
"I’m local and love my diverse home town. I was born in the L &D hospital, went to Denbigh High and Luton Sixth Form College before Leicester University. Having spent my life in Luton, I am Luton through and through.
"Having worked for over 20 years in the public sector, in roles ranging from policy, project management and human resources, I will bring real life experience to being an MP.
"As a Luton councillor for over 8 years, I understand the issues affecting Luton South after 10 years of unnecessary Tory austerity, and how Labour’s policies will bring real change to our town – from 30 hours free childcare for 2-4 year olds, to building the council houses we need, to a £26bn rescue plan for our NHS, to tackling climate change issues while creating 1m high-skilled jobs under our Green Industrial Revolution. And I fully support the new Power Court stadium."
CONSERVATIVES - PARVEZ AKHTAR
"As an engineer with 20 years in the car industry I am saddened by the decline of the car industry in Luton. I hope to use the experience and industry contacts I have to bring electric car production back into Luton.
"I am from a working class background. My father came to the Uk from Kashmir and worked at the brickyards at Stewartby. I know what it is like to be poor which is why I will always promote policies which help the less well off.
"I am also father of grown children and I understand issues young people face in terms of job opportunities, apprenticeships, and housing.
"But none of what I have said matters unless we get Brexit resolved. I hope for these reasons and more people will support me."
BREXIT - GARRY WARREN
“I am delighted to be standing as a Parliamentary candidate in the constituency of Luton South.
"The constituents of Luton South have been let down by Labour too many times. Parliament has failed us. They don’t respect democracy and it’s not just about Brexit. For decades the political class has let down Luton South.
"I believe it is time to change politics for good and it is this that has motivated me to stand to become a Member of Parliament for Luton South. I am not a career politician but as the MP for Luton South I will fight for the region to reap the benefits from Brexit and to restore trust in politics."
GREEN - BEN FOLEY
“I’m standing fundamentally because the climate breakdown we are now experiencing is killing people, whether through floods in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, through wildfires in Australia and California, or through desertification. Because I love my children, who will vote in their first general election this year, I must do what I can to make sure the planet they inherit is fit for ordinary people to live comfortable lives with decent life-spans. As part of my work towards that goal, I am offering myself for election.
“The people of Luton South need the opportunity to send the clearest possible message that runaway climate breakdown must be stopped, and Parliament must take action to stop it. Voting for the Green Party sends this message.
"If we haven’t done enough by 2030 to fix climate breakdown, it will be too late. That’s what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said – a panel the British Government have agreed with."
BEST4LUTON - JOHN RODNEY FRENCH
"In this climate of devious mainstream politics, far left and far right as well as the "brexit" divide, as a party, focussing on the real issues that face us locally, we aim to fulfil the will of the people of Luton, with a commitment to make our town's future better and with a social conscience.
"As your Best4Luton MP in parliament my vote could be crucial in our future, and I will pursue the will of the people of Luton. In return I expect and demand that we as a town are treated with the Government support we need for Luton and our surrounding villages.
"I have lived in Luton over 35 years now, and whilst accepting that we have some issues, I love our town. We will continue to promote our agenda for a better Luton with more job creation, better funding for our schools and health services as well as better wealth for our residents and better transport links whilst ensuring a greener future for our children."
INDEPENDENT - MOHAMMED ASHRAF
"I am standing for Luton South as an Independent Candidate to bring back respect within our communities for politicians. The voters are sick of the deadlocked Westminster and the blatant disregard for the electorate by MPs
"With no party whip I can if elected vote at all times what is best for Luton. Our area has a large crime rate, a hospital bursting at seams and infrastructure ready to collapse. If we do not stand up for our local area in Westminster then Luton will continue to decline.
"We need more houses ,an environment audit of our area to change the way we interact with it, Schools need funding properly and an a managed immigration policy the assists the area not just full it to bursting point.
"Hope this short statements gives you a flavour of how and why I believe I can bring Change to Luton South."