Southgate and Wood Green candidates make their pitch for your vote

All seven people standing for election in the constituency have explained what their priorities are should they win on 4th July

Southgate and Wood Green is a new constituency merging the former Enfield Southgate seat with a chunk of Haringey borough to the south. From the old seat, most of the western parts of Enfield are retained, with the exception of Winchmore Hill. This means it now contains seven Piccadilly Line tube stations, from Turnpike Lane in the south up to the terminus at Cockfosters.

Enfield Southgate was marginal, having been traded between the Conservatives and Labour three times between 1997 and 2017 – most famously when Michael Portillo lost his seat during Tony Blair’s landslide. Bambos Charalambous also reclaimed the constituency for Labour seven years ago and defended it in 2019.

While the Enfield Council election two years ago suggested local voters were again swinging back towards the Tories, the new boundaries implemented for this election now include several Labour-voting areas in Haringey.

Charalambous previously served in numerous shadow cabinet roles between 2020 and 2023 but was suspended by Labour last year following a complaint made against him by a fellow MP. After a ten-month investigation, the complaint was not upheld, allowing Charalambous to stand again as a Labour candidate.

Challenging him is Tory Eric Sukumaran, a renewable energy entrepreneur, while Lib Dem candidate Lauren Fulbright will be hoping the new constituency boundaries favour her party, which previously held the former Hornsey and Wood Green seat up until 2015. Interestingly, the Green Party has picked a former Labour councillor as its candidate – Charith Gunawardena defected to the Greens in 2021 but lost his Southgate seat at the following year’s election. Meanwhile, there will be two smaller left-wing parties competing for votes alongside the right-wing Reform UK.

Below, each of the seven candidates for Southgate and Wood Green make a pitch for your vote. They are presented in the order they were received.

Charith Gunawardena, Green Party

In the upcoming general election, our choice transcends mere political affiliations; it’s about shaping the trajectory of our nation towards a more sustainable and equitable future.

Electing me would signify a commitment to sustainability, environmental stewardship, and social justice.

As someone deeply invested in these values, I see an opportunity to make a significant contribution to our political landscape. Concerns linger about the ideological direction and ability of a majority Labour government to address pressing issues like climate change and social inequality without robust scrutiny.

If elected, I bring a progressive voice, an alternative perspective, and a dedicated commitment to address urgent social and ecological challenges. My experience as a local councillor in Enfield, where I challenged policies on housing and environmental issues, demonstrates my proactive approach to addressing community needs.

With a background in high-tech manufacturing and as a director of a not-for-profit enterprise supporting small and medium-sized businesses, I offer a unique blend of business acumen and social responsibility.

Having lived in Enfield for three decades, I am deeply connected to the community and understand the local concerns first-hand.
In this pivotal moment, as we stand at the crossroads of our nation’s future, I urge constituents to consider the values and vision that I embody.

Together, we can forge a path towards a more resilient, compassionate, and sustainable society. Your vote for me as the member of parliament for the Southgate and Wood Green constituency is a vote for real hope and real change.

Lauren Fulbright, Liberal Democrats

Enfield has been home to me and my family for the last twelve years. During this time, I have been actively involved in the community and have become increasingly aware of the issues facing Southgate and Wood Green residents, including the steady decline in public and social services and of the local area itself, and the resulting strain on people’s everyday lives. The pandemic and cost-of-living crisis served to highlight these issues even further, demonstrating the vast inequalities within the borough.

In 2022, I stood as a Liberal Democrat council candidate, campaigning against the ill-thought-through low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) imposed on Southgate by Labour-run Enfield Council: as well as fighting to protect our local Green Belt, enhance essential green spaces, and regenerate local high streets. Conversations on the doorsteps revealed a strong desire for political change, a shift away from two-party politics, and despair at the declining state of public services.

Many people felt hopeless; grappling with a cost-of-living crisis that forces them to focus on day-to-day survival rather than striving for a better future for themselves, their families, and communities.

The Liberal Democrats offer sensible, forward-thinking solutions to these fundamental issues. Our commitment to fairness and equality can help bridge the gaps within our community, empowering individuals to aspire to a better future. By addressing these critical concerns, the Liberal Democrats will work to restore faith in the political system and inspire a renewed sense of possibility for Southgate and Wood Green residents.

Lucy O’Sullivan, Reform UK

I am a modern languages graduate, mother of three and proud grandmother, and a former successful small business owner.

We have great policies in all areas. For health reform, we will give tax relief on private health insurance, incentivising people who can pay more to leave NHS waiting lists, meaning the same number of NHS doctors and nurses can treat people without insurance quicker; and we will cut student fees for nurses and doctors that stay in the NHS.

For families reform, we will support marriage through the tax system, and front-load the child benefit system for children aged one-to-four to allow parents to spend more time with their young children.

For education reform, we will scrap interest on student loans and extend the capital repayment period to 45 years. We will increase technical courses and apprenticeships. There will be no VAT on school fees, and additionally we will give tax relief of 20% on independent education, incentivising parents who can pay more to significantly ease pressure on state schools. Bringing more competition in independent schools will reduce costs, improving education for all. There will still be the same number of state teachers; having less children in state schools mean they will also benefit.

For foreign aid reform, we will cut the foreign aid budget by 50%, allowing the money to be spent in the UK instead.

Unlike Labour or Conservatives, we won’t bankrupt the country but will get the economy moving again.

Karl Vidal, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

We, the people of Enfield, can do something unprecedented on 4th July, in the year of our Lord, 2024. We the people of Enfield have decided we need a voice; for we have had enough!

You have pushed and pulled, pinched and gouged, ripped and torn the fabric of our society for far too long; and we say ‘no more’!

We are not woke, or just woken; we have been watching, and digesting the vision of the worst of mankind; that force us to watch on a lifetime basis!

There are groups of people across the borough of Enfield waking up to the fact that here we stand on the brink of real change.

A people’s representative, for all the people of Enfield; no matter who you are, your sex, race, religion, just a community of people who all want the same things.

A nice place to live, to work, to play; to enjoy weekends with real friends and family, in a real community, run by the community.

Bring back services free at the point of contact; hospitals, dentists, A&E; change the curriculum to suit learners, and not the other way round; complete take-back of the social care system.

Basically all public services – stop selling them off! Give the power back to the unions; ordinary people are being treated like animals, we treat our pets better. Allow people to come together; it helps community.

Stop the secrecy, no need for it now!

Bambos Charalambous, Labour Party

Since 2017 I have been the member of parliament for Enfield Southgate and have supported

constituents on over 50,000 issues. I would like to continue this work if I am re-elected as the MP for the new constituency of Southgate and Wood Green.

My priorities for the local area are, firstly, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour – we need more police officers so that our communities can feel safe. Crimes should be properly investigated and victims should have faith that justice will be delivered and criminals punished.

Secondly, health; the 18-month waiting list for a hospital appointment is far too long and needs to

come down drastically. The shortage of dentists and GPs is also scandalous and needs to be addressed with more recruitment. Our care sector is also stretched to breaking point, which is why we need a ‘National Care Service’ and better standards of care.

Finally, revitalising our high streets; we need greater investment in our high streets by supporting small local businesses and encouraging growth and prosperity on a local level. We need to reform business rates, tackle empty properties and support entrepreneurship.

The Tories have created chaos and uncertainty over the last 14 years and it is now time for stability and change that only Labour can deliver. As someone who grew up and lives in the area, I know what matters locally, and I will work with you to help bring about change for the good of our community.

Eric Sukumaran, Conservative Party

It is an honour to run for parliament for Southgate and Wood Green. People are disillusioned with our politics, so I’m entering now to restore the trust; to ensure that not only are people listened to but action is taken to improve their lives.

Nationally, my passion is cheaper energy for all. I work in renewable energy and I want to expand our energy infrastructure to allow for cheap and clean energy. We desperately need this, not just to bring our bills down but to create good, long-lasting jobs.

Locally my priorities are, firstly, protecting the Green Belt. I support the development of new housing in urban brownfield areas, of which there are plenty in our constituency. Such homes should also be cheap enough for our young people to get on the housing ladder. Building on the Green Belt would lose us a precious resource in return for housing built in the wrong place for young people.

Secondly, helping local businesses grow. Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Times are tough, especially since Covid, and I want to work with local and national government to ensure that if you want to follow that dream and start a business, or grow an existing one, that your government has your back.

Finally, standing up for motorists. Suburban London needs its cars – and sensible road traffic measures. Low-traffic neighbourhoods and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) unfairly penalise working people by increasing emissions as well as their costs. I’d work to scrap them.

Geoff Moseley (Workers Party)

If I wanted to concentrate on local issues I’d join the local council, because there are few local issues Westminster has the power to resolve.

But we can resolve national issues that overlap with local issues, most notably affordable housing, climate change, and proper funding from central government. Plus, should you have a problem the local council is unwilling or unable to resolve, my door is open.

But on a national and global scale, I’m determined to reverse the disaster that is privatisation, reintroduce super taxes for the super rich, reinvigorate the unions so working people can live comfortably, and help build a modern, progressive economy that works for everyone, not just those with mountains of capital.

For 45 years, governments of all stripes have presided over the complete destruction of the post-war consensus, which is a massive betrayal of the generation that defeated fascism.

And look! They’re back! You know this country is being run by fascists (unopposed by the gutless opposition) when they not only refuse to condemn Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza, they support Sunak’s provision of arms to the IDF in defiance of international law

We’re on the wrong side of history, and I’m determined to steer us back to the right side of history before and after the war, where people come before profit, and war is waged in defence.

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