The Labour candidate for South Shields has spoken of her ambition to become a minister in a future Labour government.
Emma Lewell-Buck says she is not taking her re-election for granted as she heads into the final week of the general election campaign.
She was elected town MP after a by-election in 2013 and says she is fighting the campaign this time round on what she has achieved in the two years since.
Mrs Lewell-Buck also admits that Labour can no longer take South Shields for granted as a “safe seat”.
“People are questioning more, which I think is a good thing because I love having a good debate with people. We have knocked on doors where people say they have always voted Labour but are now saying they’re not sure, they’re having a serious think about it. I have never taken it for granted and I never will, even if I am successful next Thursday. It’s about respecting your constituents.”
In the past two years Mrs Lewell-Buck’s office has dealt with almost 5,000 pieces of casework for constituents, on issues ranging from housing and immigration to international affairs.
The MP has also been a vocal figure in the House of Commons, where she has one of the highest records for speaking.
She is also proud of the jobs fair she has held in the town and the campaigns she has backed in Parliament, including her part in helping change the law around child sexual grooming which will make it compulsory for an individual to be arrested after one offence of contacting a child for sex.
And Mrs Lewell-Buck is also unapologetic about her long-term political ambitions.
She said: “I got into politics to make a difference and, yes, you can make a huge difference as a backbencher but if you become a minister or a secretary of state the ability to make a difference becomes even stronger and I didn’t come into this not to make a difference.
“This campaign has been just as busy as in 2013 but it has had less of a frantic feel about it. In by-elections it’s all hands to the deck and you have people coming from all over the country to help out.
“This time it has been the constituency Labour Party and core supporters coming out and pounding the streets.
“It’s been nicer talking to voters this time round because you’ve got that record. You have been in two years and people recognise you, so instead of having to introduce myself they’ll say, ‘oh, it’s our Emma, lovely to see you’ and have a chat about something I have done in Parliament. This is very much my campaign.”
The other candidates in South Shields are: Lisa Nightingale (Independent), Robert Oliver (Conservative), Gita Gordon (Liberal Democrat), Norman Dennis (UKIP), Shirley Ford (Green Party).
Source – Shields Gazette, 29 Apr 2015
SOUTH SHIELDS currently held by Emma Lewell-Buck (Lab)
Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour),
Gita Gordon (Liberal Democrat),
Shirley Ford (Green Party),
Lisa Nightingale (Independent),
Robert Oliver (Conservative)
Norman Dennis (Ukip).
JARROW – currently held by Stephen Hepburn (Lab)
Stephen Hepburn (Labour),
Stan Collins (Liberal Democrat),
Norman Hall (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition),
Nick Mason (Conservative),
Steve Harrison (Ukip),
David Herbert (Green Party).
A prospective MP touched up her grass roots at a South Tyneside hairdressers as part of her political campaign.
Independent candidate Lisa Nightingale, who is hoping to become South Shields MP in next month’s general election, held a question and answer surgery at Jazz hairdressers in Frederick Street, Laygate, on Saturday.
The 34-year-old, who is new to the political scene, has spent her first week on her campaign trail visiting constituents at a number of places including Ocean Road Community Centre, Sight Service in Gordon Street, the People’s Cafe at Central Library in St Georg Square, and the Friends of Patrick Cain House at Laygate.
Miss Nightingale, who grew up in Biddick Hall,said that the public’s response to her campaign has been very encouraging.
She said: “Unlike the other parties, I am the only candidate that’s independent – I’m not bound by a political party’s agenda.
“It’s been very interesting when I’ve been going out and meeting people.
“They’ve been telling me their concerns, and instead of me reeling back statistics and national figures, I have been agreeing with them, that yes, things should be changed, and improvements need to be made, so I think they’ve been quite surprised.”
Miss Nightingale, who is taking a break from working as a Shields Gazette reporter to run for election, says one of the main concerns that voters have been raising with her is the future of the town.
She said: “People have been raising a lot of issues. For instance, they’re asking what’s happening to the regeneration projects.
“People, especially here in Frederick Street, are concerned that the process has been going on for years, yet things seem to have come to a standstill, and it’s having a knock-on effect for traders.
“Residents want to speak to actual people for answers, they don’t just want to keep getting letters – they want to know when the work is going to get started.
“That’s why I wanted to hold a surgery like this, so I could find out what people think an MP should be doing for South Shields.”
Sheena Carmichael, owner of Jazz, said:
“I invited Lisa to come along to the salon because I think she will be able to make a change to the town.
“When she says she is going to do something, she does it. She is filled with tenacity and integrity.”
Miss Nightingale’s campaign is now getting an unusual helping hand.
Mrs Carmichael added: “A lot of my clients use mobility scooters and a number of them wanted Lisa’s campaign posters.
“I gave them out and they’ve attached them to their scooters, so as they drive around town they will be encouraging everyone to vote for Lisa.”
Source – Shields Gazette, 13 Apr 2015