As a Parliamentary Candidate I've been approached to support a number of campaigns. Campaign sites like 38 degrees as well as organisations, charities, companies and religious groups all ask candidates for their views ahead of a General Election so that voters can make an informed choice about who to support.
On this page I'll be putting a summary of my views about the main campaigns. If your issue or campaign isn't here please get in touch so I can add it. Thank you.
As a CAMRA member I'm pleased to support CAMRA's campaign to protect pubs, breweries and the interests of people who enjoy a drink responsibly.
As a supporter of CAMRA's campaign I pledge to: support well-run community pubs, promote Britain's 1,150 breweries and represent pub goers and beer drinkers.
I am strongly opposed to fox hunting and will not vote for it to be brought back. I am a long-term campaigner against fox hunting. I was involved in the fight to ban it originally by the Labour Government as a volunteer and if elected as your MP I will vote to keep the ban.
I recorded this video about the Tory plan to bring back fox hunting on the day the PM announced it. When there are still thousands of people using food banks bringing back such barbaric cruelty is simply unacceptable.
In 2015, I lost here by just 523 votes. Your vote and your support could make all the difference in ousting our Tory MP. One less Tory MP is one less Tory MP closer to a vote on bringing back fox hunting.
MAKE EVERY VOTE COUNT
Our political system is broken. Westminster doesn't represent us well and in the South West we get a very raw deal from Government. That's why I think we should change our politics. I back a fairer voting system. There's a lot of different voting systems but I want to see one where every vote counts and where you can maintain a link with a constituency (the Scottish Parliament one is a good example of where this works well).
But I don't think voting reform ends with PR. We also need votes at 16, trialling of electronic voting (if I can register to vote on my mobile, why can't I vote on my phone?), and we should also ask questions about why we need to vote on a Thursday, why polling stations aren't in Supermarkets and how we can get everyone registered to vote.
I know the Tories are trying to change the electoral boundaries to make it easier for them to win, but I agree that constituencies should be the same size. But instead of counting registered voters, they should be equal on population. We know that people from low income backgrounds, BAME communities, students and those in temporary accommodation don't register to vote in the same proportion as those in settled circumstances. I don't want boundaries based on forms, I want boundaries based on people. It's a simple but important distinction.
Politics should be fairer. If you vote for me on 8 June I'll make making politics fairer one of my priorities.
I've been contacted by a number of people asking me to back the Leonard Cheshire campaign about disabled people. I'm happy to do so. Leonard Cheshire has been doing incredible work for over 65 years as the UK’s leading charity, supporting and enabling disabled people across the world. I have signed a pledge for Leonard Cheshire. The pledge is to help create a better world for disabled people by ensuring:
- The right level of social care is made available
- All disabled people who want to work are supported to gain meaningful employment
Charities like Leonard Cheshire helped disabled people realise their dreams. I strongly share their values of Leonard Cheshire as they work tirelessly to create a society in which everyone is equally valued.
Everyone knows someone who has a disability. All disabled people have a right to a normal life with dignity and to have the opportunities and support to live independently.
Locally I have been alarmed by cuts to crucial support services for people with disabilities such as the removal of free parking with a blue badge and Tory attacks on the disabled via their cruel Personal Independence Payments (PIP) assessments. I regularly meet carers and people with disabilities seriously concerned about the future of the support they receive and worried about getting access to the right resources. The Tories have gone too far and are taking money from the most vulnerable in our society. Strange, there's always enough money for tax cuts for millionaires but not to support disabled people.
A world in which disabled people are supported and provided with the right resources to live independently is a better world. If elected MP, I want to make it clear I will always support charities like Leonard Cheshire and will stand up and fight for people with disabilities.
The PCS has been in touch to ask me whether I would be prepared to support their campaigns to protect jobs in the civil service and the public sector. I am happy to support this campaign. Tory cuts in Plymouth - every one of them voted for by our Tory MP - is damaging our public services, risking jobs and hurting our city's economy. As a result I'm very happy to back their campaign:
- The proposed closure of the Department for Work and Pensions office at Old Tree Court and removal of back office functions out to Roborough is bad for staff, the local economy and the environment. I pledge that I will support the campaign to Save Old Tree Court and keep DWP jobs in central Plymouth.
- Civil service jobs have been cut massively with the south west region being the hardest hit with a loss of 31.8% since 2010, around 1,800 of these have been Ministry of Defence civilian job losses. I pledge to oppose further MoD site closures that would lead to job losses.
- As a result of the 1% cap on public sector pay, the value of average civil service pay has fallen by between 8 and 9% when compared to the CPI rate of inflation. I pledge to support an end to the public sector pay cap, with pay increases that make up for the years of falling living standards.
- Last year the PCS members were among those that successfully campaigned against another attempt to sell-off HM Land Registry. I pledge to support an end to the transfer of public sector bodies, functions and staff to the private sector.
- Workers’ rights have been seriously undermined by the introduction of anti-trade union legislation. I pledge to support the repeal of the Trade Union Act.
- PCS has a strong tradition of opposing racism and we are concerned about some of the negative messages, particularly around immigration that have been promoted which will impact directly on members of the diverse workforce, particularly around immigration. I pledge to sign the Keep Racism Out of the General Election Statement
In 2017, creeping budget cuts mean the progress made against HIV is under threat. This election I am pleased to support the #HIVmanifesto to stand against further funding cuts and support vital support services.
HIV affects over 100,000 people in the UK. Since 2015, research by the National AIDS Trust (NAT) has found an average spending cut of 28% on HIV support services. Some local authorities have even faced cuts as large as 50%.
To address these challenges and stand with people affected by HIV, #HIVmanifesto sets out seven key actions to be taken forward by whoever forms the next UK government.
The HIV Manifesto calls on candidates to:
- Commit to tackling the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV.
- Fully fund HIV and sexual health services to meet the needs of local communities.
- Recognise the importance of prevention to a sustainable health and social care system by increasing investment in public health services.
- Equip schools with the resources they need to ensure that high-quality, age-appropriate, LGBT-inclusive sex and relationships education is taught to all young people in all schools.
- Make PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) available to all individuals at risk of HIV in the UK.
- Develop a fair benefits system that meets the needs of people living with HIV whether in or out of work.
- Ensure that the health and social care system is equipped to meet the needs of a population ageing with HIV.
“For many years I've backed the campaign for greater awareness of HIV. The decline in funding for HIV is increasingly alarming and is a key issue that needs to be immediately addressed across all parties, by whoever forms the next government.
Since 2010, the government has failed to provide the right support in the fight against HIV.
As a candidate in this general election, I am fully committed to investing in further prevention, treatment, care, and educational resources to end HIV related deaths and prevent new infections.
We have made too much progress in the last few decades to start going backwards. We must take action now."
The organisations behind the HIV Manifesto include Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust, Positively UK, BHIVA, HIV Scotland, Prepster, BHA, Brigstowe, MESMAC, LASS, Spectra, LGBT Foundation, Metro, Living Well, River House Trust, Herts Aid, Thames Valley Positive Support, Waverley Care, Sophia Forum and Positive East.
You can find out more about each recommendation by visiting www.tht.org.uk/hivmanifesto.
ABTA'S VALUE TOURISM
Tourism is vital for the south west's economy. I spent five years working for ABTA - the trade body that represents travel and holiday companies and so I'm happy to back their #ValueTourism campaign in this general election.
Travel and tourism is worth more than £127bn a year to the UK economy, and employs more than 3 million people right across the country.
Tourism is a big employer in Plymouth and it's vital that our next MP stands up for our tourism sector. We have a huge potential as a city to create more jobs in tourism and travel. Whether that's attracting more tourists to the city for our excellent summer programme, people enjoying year-round theatre or promoting the excellent food and drink offer we have in the city the potential is there.
As your MP I'll work with the travel trade to get us what we need to realise that potential: better transport links, more investment in our hotels and accommodation, better marketing for our city and its attractions and help to promote Plymouth as a destination in the build up to Mayflower 400 in 2020 and beyond.
I spent five years working for ABTA. In that time he ran campaigns for better holiday protection, for safer and greener accommodation, to cut taxes on holidays and to protect and promote our tourism businesses. You can read more about ABTA's campaign here.
If you work in travel and tourism and have a question please get in touch with me.
VOTE FOR BOB
A number of people have got in touch with me about the 'Vote for Bob' campaign from the RSPB. I sit on the green wing of the Labour Party and genuinely care about our natural environment and wildlife. I'm backing Bob's campaign because I care about nature in our local area. If I'm elected I will work individually and within the Labour party to look after our wildlife and natural spaces, for us and future generations.
I'm backing the Vote for Bob campaign because animals, plants and birds don't have a voice in politics unless we provide one for them. I think it is time we had more MPs who back our natural world and will vote for the environment.
I'm part of Labour's green movement and I care about Plymouth's natural heritage. That's why I won't support any return of fox hunting, will vote to protect wild species, tighten animal and bird protection and also ensure we protect more of our natural environment from pollution and dangerous climate change.
VOTE BIKE - CYCLING CAMPAIGN
A lot of people have been getting in touch about cycling and encouraging me to back making cycling safer and promote it to more people. I'm happy to support cycling.
I'm a cyclist and know from my own personal experience how enjoyable and healthy cycling can be. I also know what it is like being knocked off my bike by vehicles that don't see cyclists, or navigating roadways that aren't designed for cycling. I've swerved around posts and other obstacles placed on cycle lanes. All of this has shown to me that we need to do much, much more to get more people cycling and cycling safer.
Locally, when we had a Labour Council we introduced more cycle lanes - including a new dedicated lane around the Hoe and the new cycling bridge across the river Plym. We have introduced more cycle storage and are consulting on more improvements to our roads to encourage safer cycling.
If elected I'll be pleased to support efforts to make cycling safer and promote it to more people.
MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE MANIFESTO
MND is an issue very close to my heart as one of my friends was diagnosed with MND. I've seen first hand what is happening to him and also where the services he relies on works and don't work. It is clear to me we need better support for the diagnosis and care of people with MND.
Like many people, I did the ice bucket challenge in the summer to raise money for the MND Association. The picture above shows Firefighters from Devon and Somerset Fire Brigade poring ice cold water on me and Mike Sparling, Labour Councillor for Stoke ward.
I have also backed the Gordon's fightback campaign that raised thousands of pounds to fight MND before his death. There's details of Gordon's fightback challenge and a video of the ice bucket challenge I did on my website here: http://www.lukepollard.org/icebucketchallenge
RIGHT OF RECALL
I support the principle of right to recall when an MP has done something wrong. I think it is one of the ways we can empower the electorate, and help restore public trust in politics.
I don’t think the Tory Government's Recall Bill is strong enough. It would still fail to hold to account MPs for certain serious acts of misconduct like the Tory MPs who took cash for questions in the 1990s. I don’t think that is good enough so I want to see it strengthened so it would capture this type of wrong-doing.
Labour supports recall where an MP has done something wrong, but I wouldn’t want to see recall being used by well-funded interest groups to pressure MPs into supporting their agenda with a constant threat of recall petitions. I believe it is critical that MPs are able to vote with their conscience on the issues of the day and then face the electorate at a General Election. A balance must be drawn between giving the people the opportunity to recall an MP for misconduct and allowing MPs to make difficult decisions that might anger certain organisations or groups.
I think a balance can be found but not if the Government insists on a weak piece of legislation. It needs to be strengthened so that there is a genuine power of recall that is strong enough to be used. I don’t think people want the threat of recall to be used as leverage to get an MP to vote one way or another but I certainly want to see it there for when an MP does something wrong.
Let me know what you think about the introduction of proper recall powers by getting in touch.
CROSS OUT CANCER
I used to work for Cancer Research UK a decade ago when I helped work on a campaign for a new cancer plan from Government. We won that campaign and cancer treatment and funding was improved to reflect more modern techniques. I’m a firm believer that political pressure can deliver results and so I’m pleased to support the Cross Out Cancer effort.
- I support efforts to raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer. This is especially important in groups for whom early diagnosis is possible and can deliver better chance of survival.
- I support efforts to increase bowel cancer screening.
- I’m happy to support efforts to increase the use of innovative methods to treat and diagnose cancers. It is important the UK remains at the forefront of medical research into cancer treatment and diagnosis. I also believe we need to ensure that there isn’t a postcode lottery for certain cancer drugs. This postcode provision has been made more problematic recently due to the Government’s failing NHS reforms that has increased regional and local variations in the quality and type of care on offer.
Locally, I’m very concerned about plans by the Tory and Lib Dem Coalition to privatise NHS services. The reorganisation and privatisation of the NHS has so far cost over £3billion and, in my mind, this money should have been spent on frontline services not costly and unwanted reorganisations and redundancy payments. I oppose further privatisations of our health service. I oppose privatisation of the NHS and if elected I would vote to scrap the law that allows this.
I am also pleased to support efforts to increase NHS spending on doctors, nurses, midwifes and care workers as part of a NHS that works more closely with social care services. This would make a big difference in Plymouth where I’m aware of many people waiting much longer for GP appointments and longer for operations. NHS staff do an amazing job but we can't keep asking them to do more and more with less and less. Labour created the NHS, we saved it in 1997 and we will need to do this again if we win in 2015. I genuinely fear that the NHS will not exist if there is another Tory government elected in May.
Cancer treatment greatly improved under the last Labour government. We need to invest in the NHS again if we are to protect local cancer services.
I’m pleased to back the Cross Out Cancer campaign and I hope that all candidates in the General Election in this constituency can do likewise.