ELECTION: Don’t Know Who To Vote For? These Women Will Help You Decide

As the 7th May General Election draws nearer (cue suspense music), we meet the women putting everything on hold to improve our country. Their sheer dedication to changing the face of politics will totally inspire you (and perhaps help you decide what box to tick this Thursday)

PLAID CYMRU

“I WON’T LET MOTHERHOOD STOP ME SAVING THE NHS”

Beci Newton, 26, (pictured above) is a firefighter and candidate for Caerphilly, Wales

“I’m a female candidate in her 20s, a mother of two and a fulltime firefighter. I stand out, and that’s great.”

“Mother can relate to me. When I’m out campaigning, my daughter, who is only one, goes in the sling and my son (who’s five) comes along holding my hand. If we want to get more people interested in politics we need to break down the jargon and talk about real things on a real and personal level.”

“Politics have always been at the centre of my household. One granddad was an MP and the other was a local councilor, so I’ve known from a young age that I should do all I can to be involved too.”

“The government is currently letting down a massive proportion of our society and I want to be the voice that turns around and says this has to stop. I feel passionately about fighting for a living wage, helping with childcare and creating more social housing.”

“Our NHS is absolutely vital, too. We need it for our future and for our families’ future. It is one of the greatest gifts our nation has ever been given and we need to support and modernize it. Less management structure, and more training and retraining for doctors, midwives and nurses can do this.”

“Use your vote. Change can happen if people just use their votes. I know we are all taught that if you don’t vote Labour, you’ll just get Tory, but giving your vote to one of the smaller parties can make a huge difference. This is especially the case in Wales and Scotland, because there is an independent party candidate in every constituency. Sure, our countries are small, but by speaking out and saying something as a group, we will and can have a big pull on our next government.”

LIB DEMS

“EITHER I IMPROVE EDUCATION – OR I LEAVE”

Layla Moran is the Lib Dem candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran is the Lib Dem candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon

 

 

Layla Moran, 32, is physics teacher and candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Oxford West and Abington

“I never intended to become a politician – I was a physics teacher in London. But I was shocked to learn, during my Masters, that in the UK, the amount of money your parents have when you’re born has such a strong effect on where you end up. In other words, if you’re born into a poor household, you’re much less likely to do well in school – and I just think that is so wrong.”

“I almost left the country or at least, it seemed it was either that, saying ‘sod Britain’ and fly off somewhere, or I was going to have to change it.”

“I didn’t know what party to join – I just researched which one had the best approach to education and went from there.”

“We’ve really campaigned for equality for women. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of. We’ve established shared parental leave, which came into effect at the beginning of April. Sadly there is still a gender pay gap, which we need to sort out, but I’m confident we can continue to punch well about our weight when it comes to women’s rights.”

“It is scary putting yourself out there! Terrifying in fact. But I think there are a lot of politicians out there who just want power, even if they don’t know what to do with it. I know I might not always make it – I might not be Prime Minister or whatever – but at least I’m fighting for what I believe in and what I think would really work.”

LABOUR

 “I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE WHO CAN’T BUY A HOUSE”

Sarah Owen from The Labour Party Sarah Owen from The Labour Party

 

 

Sarah Owen, 32, is political advisor to Alan Sugar, and a candidate for Labour in Hastings and Rye

“There needs to be more diversity in politics. I was on a TV debate show recently and I was the only woman on a panel of white middle-aged men! We were broadcasting to an audience of teenagers and there was hardly anyone there who they could relate to.”

“I don’t just want to inspire people to vote for me, but to inspire them to be more active and interested in politics. Talking to someone like them helps breaks down the barriers.”

“Politics is a means of changing the things we don’t like. It was when I was 19 and working as a carer, that I became interested in becoming a politician. I was seeing such a difference between the care the NHS patients received compared to the private ones. It wasn’t decided on their needs, but rather on how much money they could pay.  I began volunteering for Labour as I thought that could make a difference, and now, 13 years on, I’m running for the first time.”

“I want to help people on the property ladder. Labour plans to make things a lot easier for renters by implementing a national register of landlords, banning agents fees and introducing three year leases to stop massive hikes in rent.”

“There is the odd impassioned debate in the pub, with my friends. But more often than not, after a long day of canvassing they know to give me a break from politics!”

CONSERVATIVES

“IT’S HARD – BUT CREATING MORE JOBS IS WORTH IT”

Michelle Donelan for is the Chippenham candidate for the Conservatives Michelle Donelan for is the Chippenham candidate for the Conservatives

 

 

Michelle Donelan, 31, is a freelance marketing consultant and candidate for the Conservative Party in Chippenham

“People don’t picture a women like me when they think of the Conservatives. I was the first of my family to go to university, my friends aren’t political and my dad doesn’t even vote because he’s so disillusioned. But that’s exactly what inspired me to get involved.

“We all need more jobs in our local areas. People really care about how much money they’ve got to spend, and having the choice to spend it themselves. They don’t want the economy to fold again. They want security and stability – and I agree with that.

“It’s great fun, but it’s hard too. Running for election is a massive, all consuming commitment, to the point where you barely have a life. This campaign is my life – but this is the most important election in a generation, and I think that makes it worth it.”

“There are far too many career politicians –  people sat on a Westminster board that come from Westminster families – and not a broad enough cross-section of society. I personally don’t feel like I can relate to all of the politicians who we currently have in, and I think we need people who have managed a household budget – people who know what it’s like to struggle. So I’m standing to challenge that.”

GREENS

“THE ECONOMY CAN’T EXIST ON A DEAD PLANET”

Ameiia Womack is the Deputy Leader for The Green Party Ameiia Womack is the Deputy Leader for The Green Party

 

 

Amelia Womack, 30, works in projects and events management, and is Deputy Leader for the Green Party. Her constituency is Camberwell and Peckham

“I remember the first time I ever got to vote. I was 18, and my mum gave me the leaflets for every single party – telling me to just vote for whatever I believed in. When I read the Green Party leaflet, something clicked. I truly agreed with their values and I have voted for them ever since.”

“Politics wasn’t ever my chosen route, career-wise. My degree is in environmental biology and as a scientist, I really believe that tackling climate change is vital for everyone’s future.”

“We currently have a generation that feels like it doesn’t have a voice. I want to inspire young people to get into politics, whatever the results of the election are. There are cuts in benefits and increases in tuition fees, and it’s all because they’re implemented by MPs who people didn’t vote for – simply because they didn’t go out and vote at all.”

“We need parties that inspire people, and which make them feel like they’re being heard. Everyone in the Greens has a voice and has the opportunity to come to conference and vote on our policies and be included in the debates about the direction of our party and that makes me prouder than anything.”

SNP

“WE HAVE TO REFLECT OUR COUNTRY’S DIVERSITY”

Hannah Bardell is from the Scottish National Party Hannah Bardell is from the Scottish National Party

 

 

Hannah Bardell, 31, is a candidate for SNP in Livingston, Scotland

“I used to moan that everyone in government was boring. And my granddad simply said ‘get up off your backside and do something about it’ – so I did.

“I’ve seen all sides of politics: from working as a producer on GMTV’s Political Sunday programme, to managing Alex Salmond’s constituency office. But I also worked in senior management of an oil firm for three years.”

“It’s hard for working women. We can’t be taken seriously and be promoted at the same rate as their male counterparts. It didn’t seem fair – and it meant I was always banging on about how we needed to see more young people and women in government. Until eventually I realized that, like my granddad taught me, I had to become the change I wanted to see.

“It’s a brilliant time to be a woman in politics, Scotland has its first female First Minister in Nicola Surgeon, and we’re one of just three gender-balanced cabinets in the whole world.”

“Government will become boring if its just Imade up of all the same people and all the same faces, and we’ll keep getting the same broken policies again and again. We need it to reflect the diversity of our country.”

“I make an effort to have a wide range of views in my circle of friends. It’s good to be challenged and I grow with it.”

“A stronger Scotland is better for everyone. If we get more of our MPs in Parliament, then we can fight for more progressive policies across the whole of the UK, such as the free prescriptions and education that we’ve already implemented in Scotland. Because no matter where you’re from or who you are, the person standing next to you is just as important – and if you ask me, that’s what the SNP is all about.”

 

 

 

Catriona Innes and Corinne Redfern