Weston General Election candidates confirmed - here's why they are campaigning for your votes
PUBLISHED: 12:30 12 May 2017
The candidates standing in the General Election in Weston-super-Mare have been confirmed. Here is who you will have a chance to vote for on June 8 - and why they are campaigning to be the town's next MP.
Conservatives – John Penrose
Mr Penrose has been Weston’s MP since 2005, when the seat swung from the Liberal Democrats.
He had a business career in firms including JP Morgan and Pearson, and founded his own software companies.
During his time as an MP, he has been shadow business minister and tourism and heritage minister.
Mr Penrose said: “We’ve made a lot of progress in Weston, Worle and villages over the past few years, but there’s more to do.”
He said he is committed to more investment to build a strong local economy, keeping the countryside beautiful, creating a ‘cleaner, safer Weston’, fairer funding for schools and finding the best and most practical deal for Brexit.
Green Party – Suneil Basu
Mr Basu stood as a Parliamentary candidate in Ealing Southall in 2010.
He teaches computer science at Backwell School, and was formerly a National Union of Teachers representative.
He is a keen swimmer, cyclist and runner, and in his spare time, he is renovating his family’s house.
Mr Basu said: “I would love the opportunity to represent Green Party policy for change in Weston. I feel an affinity with the urban voters there and have enjoyed my canvassing in the constituency, talking to the people and hearing their views.
“I see the lack of decent jobs and the witness plight of the many homeless and destitute in Weston. By saving the planet we will be saving society too.”
Labour – Tim Taylor
Mr Taylor stood in the election in 2015, where he came second to Mr Penrose with 9,594 votes.
He works as a human resources manager and has two daughters who attend local schools.
He was a Weston Town Councillor for eight years, and is a member of St Paul’s Church.
Mr Taylor said: “I will be campaigning for a better future for all local people. We must continue to attract and support businesses, improve public services, particularly NHS services, and address poverty and inequality in the constituency.
“I look forward to building on the good result in 2015 when Labour beat UKIP into third place and the Lib Dems into fourth.”
Liberal Democrats – Mike Bell
Mr Bell last stood for election in Weston in 2010, when there were 2,691 votes between him and Mr Penrose.
He represents Weston Central Ward on North Somerset Council, and is a governor at Walliscote Primary School.
He is also a campaigns officer for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
Mr Bell said: “It’s important for people across Weston, Worle and the surrounding villages to have the opportunity to vote for strong opposition to this Tory government and their hard Brexit.
“I’m delighted to represent that opposition and to continue to campaign strongly on issues including protecting our NHS and saving Weston’s A&E, and opposing cuts to key services.”
UKIP – Helen Hims
Mrs Hims represented UKIP in the election in the Wells constituency in 2015, where she finished third behind the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
She has lived in the constituency for 20 years with her husband and four children and runs a business in Shipham.
She joined UKIP in 2010 and is now chairman of the Wells branch.
She said: “UKIP has increasingly led the way in British politics, forcing the old parties to confront issues they would much rather have avoided.
“As an MP I would hold the government to account on your behalf, and strive towards the return of localism.”
* The candidates have been invited to a hustings event, hosted by the Mercury and Weston College. There is still time to register for a place and submit a question.