Ahead of the general election on Thursday 12th December, five candidates for Enfield Southgate make their pitch for your vote
Enfield Southgate stretches from Bowes to Enfield Town and Hadley Wood, including Palmers Green, Winchmore Hill and Cockfosters. It has a history of shock results, with former Tory defence minister Michael Portillo famously losing the seat in 1997 to Labour. Conservative candidate David Burrowes held the seat between 2005 and 2017, before another surprise win for Labour in 2017.
Enfield Southgate voted 62.1% to remain in the EU at the 2016 referendum.
Luke Balnave, Greens
Two-party politics is bust. We need a new approach that prioritises people and planet over pander and profit. The Greens offer just this.
I stand to end time-wasting bickering at Westminster. Only by telling the truth on a daily basis about the urgency of our climate crisis can we focus minds and put this at the heart of every decision. Only then can we start to deliver the change we desperately need.
I grew up in Enfield and live and work here. I work in education at a local state secondary, have two daughters, and delivered a strong vote share for the Greens before. I stand to secure a future of opportunity for our next generations. This has never been more at risk.
I will relentlessly oppose anything that threatens this future; whether illegal levels of air pollution across our borough, schools and youth support funding cuts, or planned mega-incinerators. Equally, I stand behind anything that enhances opportunities; supports sustainable businesses embedded in innovative green technologies to deliver the necessary capacity for systemic change; protects green spaces and rejuvenates our local high streets as centres of community once more.
I am a fervent believer in social justice. I am excited by what our ‘Green New Deal’ can deliver, such as cheaper energy in well-insulated homes, better local transport, and thousands of new environmental jobs. Greens have led on developing this plan and understand it best.
Greens have always been the leaders. We have the only credible policy to help people and planet in harmony. We have the only viable plan for a sustainable and prosperous future. Others are playing catch up. Time has run out. Greens continue to win in Europe, at City Hall and on councils across the UK. Vote Green in Enfield Southgate to start delivering urgent change.
David Burrowes, Conservatives
From the conversations I have had with many of you, friends and neighbours, I am now convinced Enfield Southgate needs a stronger voice.
Having lived in the area with my family all my life, I know that you need a stronger voice nationally as well as locally; campaigning against the plans for a 17-storey tower block in Southgate, hundreds of flats on Arnos Grove and Cockfosters station car parks, and the Fox Lane district road closures.
Over the last two years out of parliament I’ve been dismayed at the state of politics. We have been let down by politicians who seem to care more about their own views than the national interest. Your vote is crucial. We must move forward to get on with the issues that matter; improving access to health and social care, investing in schools, protecting our environment and fighting crime.
I was your MP for 12 years until 2017 and was known in parliament for working across parties, in the national interest. I have delivered nationally and locally; introducing mandatory knife crime sentencing and securing £120million to redevelop Chase Farm Hospital. I was even willing to stand up to party leaders and the whip, in the best interests of my community and country.
The choice is clear; a vote for Corbyn’s Labour or another party would bring to power the most left-wing government since the 1970s and take us back to the same economic failure – more debt, higher taxes and fewer jobs. It would also lead to more uncertainty and delay over Brexit. Most worryingly, it would give a green light to the racist anti-semitism which has infected Corbyn’s Labour Party.
I hope you support me as your next MP so that together we can deliver more, unite the country, and move it forward.
Bambos Charalambous, Labour Party
I grew up here, I live here and I am fighting for real change for Enfield Southgate. In 2017 I was elected to Westminster on the promise of being an effective and accessible MP. I have kept my word, holding 120 advice surgeries and completing nearly 16,000 pieces of casework.
Representing Enfield Southgate has made things clear; people are anxious about police cuts; the Tory Brexit shambles is causing panic; the housing crisis is affecting young people’s life chances; austerity is tearing the fabric of society; and tackling the climate crisis is urgent.
Tory austerity has reduced police numbers by 400 in Enfield since 2010 [Fact check: Police numbers fell 15% on average since 2010, with Enfield losing 97 officers and 144 police community support officers]. We need urgent action to restore our police. We must guarantee every young person access to youth services and restore access to justice with investment in community lawyers and people’s law centres.
I believe the UK is better off in the EU. Regardless of how people voted in 2016, the divisive Tory Brexit shambles has let everyone down. We must bring the country back together with a referendum, including an option to remain.
A decade of austerity has done untold damage to our communities. Headteachers tell me frequently how cuts have forced staff losses. Our NHS faces another winter crisis while being cut to the bone. We urgently need investment in all public services, an end to austerity and truly affordable homes.
Labour’s green industrial revolution will make the UK carbon neutral. We must tackle traffic pollution and improve local transport. I will continue my work holding Govia Rail to account and campaigning on pollution.
The battle in Enfield Southgate is a two-horse race between Labour and an austerity-loving hard Brexiteer. Only Labour can reunite us and heal the wounds of austerity.
Parag Shah, Brexit Party
I’m the son of an immigrant and a local boy. To me, Brexit stands for ‘British Renewal with Excellence, Integrity and Trust’; qualities which politicians of all parties lost over recent decades. Brexit brings opportunity to regain balance in British society and honour in politics – a chance to change.
Change is exciting but scary. If you fear, I empathise and trust you’ll find wisdom in my words. As a community, we must care in co-operation. We must also embrace chance-taking. My vision is guided by these balanced principles. To deliver change:
- Care for the NHS; I will strive to heal and protect our dear NHS hospitals and GPs so they can serve you better – free at the point of need.
- Care for the community; a strong local community with shared values builds cohesion. This reduces crime and homelessness. I support tax policies to nurture thriving high streets.
- Crime; boost police numbers and stations.
- Climate; our planet needs help. I’ve been actively green for 15 years. Environmental challenges are a priority.
- Care for children; to have a chance to flourish, be fed, safe and loved.
- Chaos; the chaos of our roads and bin collections must be vanquished.
- Cash; we must slash loan interest for students.
A clean break from EU bureaucrats gives us full control to achieve the above and enjoy global opportunities. The Brexit Party loves Europe’s people and cultures. Our young will still enjoy easy travel, social life and opportunities in the EU, just as I did in the 1980s.
Parliament is ravaged by today’s failing politicians. Our system is broken; we will reform it. We tried Bambos and David and got this mess! If you want worthwhile change, forget reds and blues – take a chance on the Brexit Party.
Rob Wilson, Liberal Democrats
I live in the east of the constituency with my wife Claire and our young daughter. I want her and all our children to grow up in a safe, prosperous area with every opportunity. So how do we do that?
Enfield must become a community once again, not a mix of individuals who happen to live here.
Our manifesto has many great opportunities for people and families that will make a real difference to our lives. These include provision of free childcare from nine months, addressing the climate emergency, proper NHS funding, creating parity between mental and physical health, giving every adult £10,000 to spend on training throughout their lives, and to stop Brexit.
But we are nothing if we and our families are not safe. Knife crime is becoming normalised, this is wrong and must end. Even Sadiq Khan’s former policing advisor has quit the Labour Party and joined the Liberal Democrats, citing the failure to tackle knife crime. We will fight knife crime by taking a public health approach, properly funding local police and reopening police stations.
Now are we a wasted vote in Enfield Southgate? The world has changed from two years ago. According to [Dr Chris] Hanretty’s election modelling breakdown, the Liberal Democrats won this year’s EU election in Enfield Southgate with nearly as many votes as the Labour and Conservative parties combined. Many former Conservative and Labour voters are telling us they are voting Liberal Democrat. We can win.
The other parties say if you vote for me their opposing party will get in. How poor and low has a party fallen not to lead on ideas, policies and vision but on the fact that they are slightly less bad than someone else? They do not deserve our vote.