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High Peak candidates state their views on the General Election campaign trail

Wednesday, 26 June 2024 14:37

By Jon Cooper, Local Democracy Reporter

High Peak’s five Parliamentary candidates have been campaigning during the General Election build-up to become the constituency’s MP and here are some of their hopes and plans for the rural Derbyshire area.

The 2024 General Election is being fought on the economy, immigration and the NHS among other issues and voters will be able to cast their votes on July 4 at polling booths across Derbyshire and the High Peak’s candidates have been outlining their hopes.

High Peak’s recent MP, Conservative Robert Largan who was elected in 2019, is standing against Labour’s Jon Pearce, Liberal Democrat Peter Hirst, Reform UK’s Catherine Cullen, and the Green Party’s Joanna Collins.

Conservative Mr Largan, who lives in Glossop, has stated on his website how he has made improvements across the High Peak during his time as an MP.

He added that these improvements include supporting better access to health care by campaigning to reinstate a breast cancer unit and helping to open two new mental health units while backing the construction of urgent care centres at Stepping Hill Hospital and Tameside Hospital.

Mr Largan says he has also supported schools and families, helped upgrade railway lines, secured more police officers, and helped to bring in upgraded broadband and mobile phone coverage.

Robert Largan

He has also stated that he has helped to deliver jobs and apprenticeships and says he wants to help high streets and business, wants to secure investment for roads and buses and he has expressed support for ‘stopping the boats’ to address immigration concerns.

Labour’s Jon Pearce said: “I am Derbyshire born and bred. I live in Hope Valley with my young family. Fourteen years of chaos and economic incompetence under the Conservatives have hit High Peak hard.

“We will tackle the cost-of-living crisis by creating GB Energy, a clean power company, that will permanently cut energy bills. Labour will rebuild our public services – with a local GP or dentist when you need one. We will recruit more teachers for our schools and take back control of our buses and trains.

“We are lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the country but our rivers are some of the worst polluted. I will hold the local water companies to account – banning their bonuses and making them criminally liable.

Jon Pearce

“I will be a hard-working MP, supporting local people with their campaigns like extending free bus travel for our young people and saving Gamesley Community Centre.”

Liberal Democrat Peter Hirst has stated on his website: “It is a lovely constituency, full of interesting towns and of course the peaks. I have enjoyed climbing Kinder Scout since being at Manchester University in the seventies. I am married with one daughter and two grandsons.    

“I am medically qualified and understand the challenges of obtaining good quality medical care in a timely manner living in beautiful countryside.    

“The important issues in this election are the cost of living crisis, our economy since leaving the EU, education and the environment. Our youth deserve a better deal and our Party should once again become that of education, empowerment and community.   

Peter Hirst

“If you elect me, I will do my best to represent everyone in the constituency. Rural areas deserve more investment in infrastructure and better support for those struggling to make ends meet. Rural industries also need improved connectivity and access to finance when needed.  

“Now is also the time to alter our method of voting to a proportional system that enhances vote choice. Never again should people have to vote tactically or have someone elected on less than half the vote.” 

The Green Party’s Joanna Collins said: “I’m the Green Party candidate for High Peak because I believe we need strong policies on climate change, nature and social issues.

“I hope to see our moorlands restored and farmers supported so they can continue their work to protect our environment and slow climate change.

“I’d like to see far more low carbon social housing developed, with solar panels on roofs, and affordable, reliable public transport connecting our towns and villages, along with provision for walking and cycling.

Joanna Collins

“Green Party policies would make our area more equal, with rises in benefits and the minimum wage and an education system which means our schools can help every child reach their potential without pressure to succeed academically.

“Funding for GPs, dentists and social care will help everyone live healthier lives. I hope to see these policies put into practice to make High Peak a greener, fairer place for everyone.”

Reform UK’s Catherine Cullen has stated on the Reform UK’s website: “I’m delighted to have been selected to represent High Peak for Reform UK. I was born to Irish parents in London, raised in Greater Manchester and have lived in New Mills in the High Peak for the last four years with my husband James. I am the proud mum of two daughters and have six grandchildren.  

“Before settling in New Mills, I spent a year in Glossop, and prior to that I have lived in Ireland, Devon and Spain. I trained as a chef under Manpower in Oldham and later as a classical singer. I am also a competent electrician. My interest in politics is long-standing and I have voted for both the Labour and Conservative parties at different general elections. 

Catherine Cullen

“However, like many others, I have decided to back Reform UK because I truly believe we are the party that puts the country first. Forget the infighting and back-biting of the Westminster bubble – we want to be the voice of the electorate, and campaign on issues that matter to you, our valued voters. 

“If you vote for me, High Peak will have a voice in Westminster, and I will do my utmost to protect what we have and fight for what we need.” 

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