Oldham East and Saddleworth candidates' pitches
Date published: 27 November 2019
The Polling Station
As the country prepares to go the polls next month, candidates in Oldham East and Saddleworth have been setting out their stalls as to why they should secure your vote.
The largest constituency in Greater Manchester for sheer geographical size, it has been Labour since its inception with incumbent candidate Debbie Abrahams representing the seat in Parliament from 2011.
The constituency voted by more than 59 pc to leave in the EU referendum, a hot topic in what has been dubbed the ‘Brexit election’.
But for the seat to change hands, another candidate will need to overturn Ms Abraham’s 8,000 vote majority.
Now each candidate has made their pitch for why voters should back them at the ballot box come December 12.
Debbie Abrahams, Labour party
I’m proud to have represented Oldham East and Saddleworth over the last nine years, handling over 33,000 cases.
Poverty is a political choice. I created the Oldham Fairness Commission to tackle inequalities, creating a Living Wage borough.
My award winning Be Fair – Pay on Time campaign saw my recommendations incorporated into 2014 small business act. As a result, late payments to SMEs have fallen from £41.5bn in 2014 to £14bn.
Locally, over 2,000 people live with dementia. My Dementia Friendly Oldham campaign created 8,500+ dementia friends to support them. I will continue to champion the rights of all disabled people.
Since 2014, my annual summer school has brought Oldham’s young people together, teaching them about politics and public service.
I’ll continue to fight for improved access at Greenfield station; reliable, affordable bus services; and funding to build on brownfield sites first, tackling the housing shortage while protecting green spaces.
Sam Al-Hamdani, Liberal Democrats
I am a local councillor, as well as a freelance designer and editor, born and bred in Saddleworth.
We need to build more engaged communities and society. Too many people in Oldham have been left behind by years of national governments too focused on London and the South East.
A brighter future for Oldham requires changing our thinking. We must ensure that national policies and EU membership deliver for our town.
Oldham should be a place of opportunity. Right now it isn’t. We need to celebrate the hard-working people who live here and who can make this a diverse, thriving town.
We also need a green revolution. We should be ahead of the curve – leading the world in environmental technologies – a greener economy is a growing, positive economy.
This is just the start. I promise to be an MP who is engaged in the community, and who delivers for that community.
Paul Brierley, Brexit Party
I am a company director, born in Bolton with family living in the constituency.
A widower, who has a son and three grandchildren, I served an apprenticeship as a joiner, before becoming a qualified quantity surveyor by profession.
My initial priorities:
We need to leave the EU unleashing endless opportunities by returning accountability and democracy.
We need to regenerate our high streets by scrapping business rates.
We need to overhaul the postal vote system.
We need to protect our precious greenbelt.
We need to give the constituency a voice in Parliament.
The Labour MP has on numerous occasions voted against the wishes of her constituents including the 59.92pc who voted to leave the EU.
Oldham’s decline is a disgrace under Labour, it’s time to remove the Labour MP from office.
Paul Errock, Proud of Oldham & Saddleworth
I am a successful local businessman who has lived and worked my entire
life in Oldham and Saddleworth.
Brexit must be followed through or democracy is fatally undermined.
In the referendum of 2016, the people of Oldham voted overwhelmingly to leave and yet our local MPs consistently vote against their constituents’ mandate.
Borough investment and spending must be brought back in to Oldham in order to provide jobs for local people and businesses.
Our environment and green spaces must be protected for future generations.
Current planning regulations are destroying swathes of our open green spaces at a time when environmental issues are foremost.
We will put people before politics and party decisions will prioritise local needs and not the needs of career politicians and national parties.
Oldham’s headlong race to the bottom must be halted and reversed.
Amoy Lindo, Independent
I would have exactly the same rights as other MPs and I would work cross party to achieve my manifesto pledges.
We now have more independent MPs in parliament than ever before.
One of the benefits of an independent MP is I have no party whips to tell me how to vote, I can listen to you, I am free to speak and free to act and free to fight for the issues you care about the most.
Oldham council has been represented by one political party for over 20 years, we have seen in many of those years that they are not working for you, the
constituent and often you are being ignored.
A vote for an independent is a vote for your voice.
Elect an MP who truly cares about a town where she was born and raised in
and is prepared to put you first.
Tom Lord, Conservative Party
I’m a Leave voter and a member of the public frustrated with MPs doing exactly the opposite of what the majority of their constituents asked them to do.
That’s what’s happening in Oldham; our vote to leave the EU is being ignored.
My case is simple – change the MP and install a candidate who voted leave but who can also deliver on issues that go beyond Brexit.
On that point, I’ve lived in Oldham since 1992 and now see the town I grew up in at the centre of a worrying set of allegations surrounding child sexual exploitation.
I’m a criminal barrister. I’ve prosecuted and defended in serious cases.
I have the expertise others do not when it comes to understanding the evidence and prosecution of these types of crimes and the impact they have on the victims.
I will address this issue with the thoroughness our community demands.
Wendy Olsen, Green Party
In the new Parliament, we will be voting on housing, education, and Brexit.
On housing I support renters and tenants who need better cheaper housing.
This means not building on green belt but more in city brownfield sites.
I am not in the hands of developer companies. We need good amenities around any new housing.
I have long supported the campaign to rescue colleges. Further education and sixth forms are under enormous pressures.
Why anyone votes for the current government leaders is a mystery to me.
They started austerity which means cuts. Still doing it! I am against it.
Lastly in Brexit I am for remain but reform the EU. So that puts me protecting immigrant families.
Best wishes – see you in Facebook, Oldham and Saddleworth Green Party.
Do you have a story for us? Want to tell us about something going on in and around Oldham? Let us know by emailing email@example.com , calling our Oldham-based newsroom on 0161 633 2121 , tweeting us @oldhamchronicle or messaging us through our Facebook page. All contact will be treated in confidence.