With the campaign for votes entering its final stages, we look at the five candidates who are standing for election in North West Cambridgeshire.
Shailesh Vara (Conservative)
This is the most important general election for a generation.
Regardless of how people voted in the European Union referendum, the fact is we are leaving the EU and we need a prime minister who will get the best possible deal for us in the tough and complex negotiations that lie ahead in Brussels.
I firmly believe the best person to lead Britain in these difficult negotiations is Theresa May.
Voting for me helps to give Theresa May a strong public mandate and it strengthens her hand as she negotiates for Britain.
More locally, North West Cambridgeshire is a huge constituency – from the borders of Lincolnshire, through south Peterborough, down to the border of Huntingdon and villages beyond. It has one of the largest electorates in the country.
I live in the constituency and have worked alongside many local groups and organisations on a variety of issues and have also helped thousands of people on a personal basis, on a broad range of subjects.
In parliament, I have introduced two private member’s bills - one to try to increase the age range for breast cancer screening and the other to provide more rights to householders when they are faced with intruders in their own homes.
I have also served as a justice minister and a minister for work and pensions.
It has been an enormous privilege serving the local community as your MP for the past 12 years and I ask that you vote for me to allow me to continue serving you.
Gregor Guthrie (Green Party)
I have lived and worked in the Peterborough area for nearly 20 years. I have a degree in civil engineering from Liverpool University and have worked as a civil engineer since then.
I have a strong principal commitment to the area but also a commitment, more widely, to developing a fairer society within the UK; where we show respect for all individuals and for the environment within which we live.
As your Green Party MP I would work hard with local businesses in North West Cambridgeshire and in Westminster to create a local economy that delivers the services, jobs, housing and infrastructure that we need without exploiting either the environment or the people who live here.
I would fight on your behalf to make sure the NHS is not broken up and sold off to private commercial interests. I would deliver what patients need with due respect for the NHS workers who are the beating heart of this service.
I would oppose the creation of exclusive grammar schools, campaign for the abolition of tuition fees and resist the endless testing our children currently endure.
The Green Party offers an alternative to the political complacency that people in North West Cambridgeshire have endured.
You can now vote for a forward-facing Green Party candidate who truly understands our environmental issues and who will put people, our communities and our future at the heart of everything I do.
Iain Ramsbottom (Labour)
Iain and his wife and three children live in Oldhurst. He is the chairman of the North West Cambridgeshire constituency Labour Party and has been for seven years. He is self-employed as a market trader in local towns.
Speaking after his selection, Iain said: “Cambridgeshire is my home. It’s where I live and work and I am proud to be Labour’s candidate for
June’s general election.
“This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. The NHS and social care is in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk. They are sacrificing our hard won public services on the altar of their tax cuts for the wealthy and big business.
“People here in North West Cambs need a local representative who will put them first. I will work tirelessly between now and June to let local people know that this general election will be a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for the people of North West Cambs or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few.”
Graeme Watkins, treasurer, and Kevin Minnette, secretary of the North West Cambs constituency Labour Party, said: “We welcome the appointment of Iain as Labour’s candidate for North West Cambs.
“As someone who lives in the constituency, we know that if elected, he will put this area first and will be a committed and local MP – that’s what North West Cambs deserves.”
John Whitby (UKIP)
I’m proud to have been selected as the UKIP parliamentary candidate for the North West Cambridgeshire, the constituency that I both live in and work in.
This is a tough and supposedly safe Tory seat, and the sitting Conservative MP knows that he has to do nothing, or very little to get re-elected. I intend to change that. There are two important things about this general election. Firstly, Brexit is a vital part of it, and we need a strong, pro-Brexit MP to reflect the vote to leave the EU in the referendum. The current MP is a staunch remain campaigner. The Conservatives are not the only Brexit party, UKIP’s success in the European elections forced David Cameron into promising he would hold a referendum if he got a majority.
He got a majority, then lost the referendum and promptly ran away from the responsibility. Now we have Theresa May, pretending to want a hard Brexit, but already backsliding, we possibly will remain under the European Court of Human Rights among other concessions. We must apply the UKIP six-point test on any Brexit deal, otherwise we don’t actually leave.
Secondly, the country’s next five years is dependent upon this election result, and a totally Conservative-dominated parliament will not be good for the ordinary people of North West Cambridgeshire, or of the UK as a whole.
UKIP stands for the ordinary people of this country, their hopes and their aspirations as we move into the post-EU world.
Bridget Smith (Liberal Democrat)
Bridget Smith launched her general election campaign with speeches in Peterborough and St Neots.
She talked about the importance of a Brexit deal based on facts and not fictions, saying: “People voted for Brexit but they didn’t vote for price rises and fewer jobs.
Everyone has a right to know how much any deal is going to cost them”.
Bridget received enthusiastic responses from audiences when she promised to use her knowledge of the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ to secure local jobs for local people by levering business and industry into the constituency, attracted by good quality premises, affordable housing and good transport links.
She highlighted the need to train young people locally for the new 21st century employment market.
She talked passionately about the role of education and the need for adequate funding, high quality schools and motivated and valued staff.
She spoke also of her vision to create strong communities with state of the art community facilities for everyone.
She said: “Strong communities mean less crime, cleaner streets and happier and more engaged residents. I have achieved this in my own village and I can do it again in North West Cambridgeshire”
Bridget plans to take this message of a return to truth and kept promises across the constituency but acknowledges it is a huge geographic area. She said: “We are going to be doing a lot of miles. But it will be worth it to prove to people that we can do so much better than the current government.”