General Election 2019: North Thanet candidates answer our questions

Elections Photo John Finnegan

A General Election is looming after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a poll on December 12.

The election coincides with yet another extension to Brexit with EU Council President Donald Tusk saying a “flextension” – meaning the UK could leave before the deadline if a deal was approved by Parliament – is agreed in principle until January 31, 2020.

Here The Isle of Thanet News asked the North Thanet candidates how they would deal with issues affecting the constituency.

Sir Roger Gale, Conservative

What are your top 3 priorities for North Thanet?

Manston Airport,  Healthcare  Housing

How will Brexit impact/benefit North Thanet?

Depends on the securing of a withdrawal agreement.  No deal could cause short term traffic chaos. A fair dear could in the long run benefit trade and jobs at Manston Airport,

What are the most important economic factors for North Thanet and how do you aim to boost them?

The level of unemployment is still too high.  The development of the `art economy` generated by the Turner Contemporary is booting the visitor business and the regeneration of the Dreamland and Nayland Rock complexes has to continue.  The most significant impact upon the economy and jobs, though, will derive from the re-opening of Manston as an airport

What would you aim to do in regards to housing and homelessness for North Thanet?

We still have to address potential over-development contained within the draft local plan (yet to be signed off by the Inspectorate). We also need to ensure that developers use available brownfield sites and existing planning consents to provide affordable housing to rent and buy.  What we have to resist is te use of East Kent as a dumping ground for the housing problems of Inner London Boroughs

What are your views on climate change and tackling it?

The current Government has taken a significant lead in working to zero net carbon emissions by 2050: if it is possible to bring that date forward we should do so but we must also deal in practicality not wishful thinking.  Climate chance and pollution are two of the most significant problems facing mankind.  I have five grandchildren and I want them to be able to grow up in a good and healthy environment

What health  services are priority for North Thanet and how should they be implemented?

There are hard decisions to be taken in order to secure the best outcomes for the most people in East Kent. (The location of the Hyper Stroke Unit is just one example).  The proposals are still under consideration and discussion but I am not prepared to take the populist line on this: healthcare at primary and secondary levels has to be driven by clinical and medical efficiency the best healthcare and not by ill-informed dog-whistle campaigning.

That said, I am adamant that East Kent needs its three major hospitals and supporting units rather than the concentration of facilities on one site.

Thanet has one of the highest crime rates in Kent. How would you aim to tackle this as an MP?

There is no quick fix to the problems of County Lines and drug and alcohol related criminality (as I know only too well from my experience as a Special Constable) but I continue to work closely with the Constabulary to seek to ensure that our police forces have the resources that they need. Our police and crime commissioner, Matthew Scott, has been highly successful in already delivering more officers for Thanet and that is an ongoing and funded process.

What experience would you bring to the role of MP?

Experience of life as a former actor, journalist, TV producer and Director , as a married Father of Three Children and a grandfather of five and 36 years in the job as a constituency MP, as the senior  Member of the Panel of Chairmen, as the Leader of the UK Delegation to the CoE (not the EU!) and as a moderate One Nation Conservative.

Dr Coral Jones, Labour

What are your top 3 priorities for North Thanet?

1 Saving our hospital QEQM from being closed.

2 Seek out green investments which create secure jobs, with continued training in the local economy.

3 Protect agricultural land, build environmental neutral, affordable homes with an integrated clean transport system.

How will Brexit impact/benefit North Thanet?

As a doctor I have to warn patients of the great dangers of a no-deal Brexit, especially medicine shortages and the spiralling costs of drugs to the NHS. But there may well be sudden rises in food prices and energy bills — it will be people here on low pay and fixed incomes who will suffer most. And what if do a deal with Trump and end up with an American style health system?  It would destroy our welfare state.

What are the most important economic factors for North Thanet and how do you aim to boost them?

The most important economic factors here are the chronic lack of jobs and low wages. I believe the answer lies in the green industrial revolution — what we have to do to save the planet. We have sun and sea and wind in plenty here and we have to use these fantastic assets to create new enterprises and more jobs. Labour is pledged to provide the funds to make this happen. A greener, cleaner Thanet will boost our vital tourism trade, too.

What would you aim to do in regards to housing and homelessness for North Thanet?

We have too many run-down, privately rented properties. We have too many people waiting for somewhere to live, too many people living in places no one should be living in and too many with nowhere to live at all.  We urgently need more council housing, controls on rent and private landlords and new services to keep vulnerable people off our streets.

What are your views on climate change and tackling it?

Climate change is a crisis. It needs to be tackled in our homes and in our work, in how we travel and in everything we do. Energy should come from the sun, the wind and the waves and not from burning carbon or be subject to the whims of transnational companies. Individuals cannot tackle this problem on their own— we need a national and international approach and real solutions.

What health services are priority for North Thanet and how should they be implemented?

Our top priority is to stop the downgrading of Margate hospital and keep open our stroke services, maternity and A&E. We need more and better services not less. We must reverse cuts to mental health. We need to urgently invest in our local GP surgeries. We need to restore our ambulance service and urgently stop the privatisation of our NHS.

Thanet has one of the highest crime rates in Kent. How would you aim to tackle this as an MP?

We need to tackle the many causes of crime, including lack of educational and career opportunities, poor mental health and addiction services.  Schools exclusions and lack of pupil and teacher support. Educate prisoners and end overcrowding and have a reintroduction to society programme to prevent reoffending. We need to reopen youth centres and improve post 16 education and training, and above all we need to create jobs for all.

What experience would you bring to the role of MP?

As a GP I have gained invaluable experience in dealing with the things that make people ill. Many of these are not medical. They are problems arising from inequality, poverty, and isolation. We get ill because of our jobs or lack of jobs, from a lack of social care, from a fear of the future and what’s going to happen to us when we are sick, injured or old, from simply trying to live in a world designed for profits not for people.  I will bring all this experience to my role as MP. I will fight to change things for the better.

I had to support myself through university and beyond; I am self reliant and not afraid of new challenges. My three children are now grown, the youngest is 20, and I am now keen to take on a new role, as MP representing Thanet. I was a single parent for 12 years, and understand the difficulties of working full tie and juggling finances and childcare.

As a doctor, I diagnose and treat medical conditions, and also intervene for patients in issues which affect their lives such as housing, DWP and court. I have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the state and how this affects peoples’ lives.

Angie Curwin, Liberal Democrat

What are your top 3 priorities for North Thanet?

Homes for All. I am fighting for everyone to have a safe, affordable home as a basic human right.  I am actively working with local communities to deliver community-led housing. I am working to develop locally affordable housing for local people.

If elected I will challenge the national formula that dictates 17,400 homes must be built on Thanet by 2030.  I firmly believe this should be between 9,000 – 12,000 homes.

I will also challenge the current planning system whereby local councils and residents have very little power over what type of homes are built, where they are built and what infrastructure needs to be put in place to support existing and new homes.

Protect our NHS. I will support SONIK in their fight to keep stroke services, A&E and Maternity services at both QEQM and KCH.  I agree with their statements that to remove these services will cost lives and is not supported evidentially to improve outcomes, especially in North Thanet where we have a growing elderly population and areas of deprivation which naturally makes it harder for people to access services.

Tackle Climate Change. I will FIGHT for GREEN energy, GREEN transport and GREEN investments.  Climate change and air pollution threaten our lives now!  We have known that air pollution blackspots exist in North Thanet for far too long and nothing has been done.  This is adversely affecting people’s health now.

If elected I will fight for affordable green transport to be introduced locally and on a national basis for diesel engines to be phased out.  We have the green technology, it is now up to government to legislate for it to be put into use.

My environmental policies can be seen here: www.angiecurwen.4mp.org.uk

How will Brexit impact/benefit North Thanet?

If we leave the EU either under the deal negotiated by Boris Johnson or on the basis of no deal, Thanet will be turned into a Lorry Park which will literally put our lives on hold.

In short, I can see no benefit.  Leaving the EU will make it difficult for the UK to trade with our nearest overseas market.  It will stop our young people having the automatic right to live, study and work in 27 other countries, literally a short hop on a ferry away.  It will harm our NHS and Social Services which is heavily reliant on free movement of people throughout Europe choosing to come and work in the UK.  It has already cost billions of pounds that could have been spent improving our lives.

What are the most important economic factors for North Thanet and how do you aim to boost them?

North Thanet as a coastal region is a unique tourist destination and much has been achieved in developing this industry which brings much needed revenue and employment.  I will work with Visit Thanet and Visit Kent to help maximise this opportunity and to remove any blocks to achieving this.

North Thanet also has a unique agricultural heritage and continued investment into agriculture is key.  I will work with the farming community to understand how best the government can support our agriculture to develop its sustainable nature friendly farming practices suitable for 21st Century.

Should it go ahead, Manston Airport re-opening as a cargo hub would produce much needed jobs, initially in construction of the warehousing and other infrastructure required before it becomes operational.  Once operational it will provide a considerable number of jobs across a wide range of skills.  I will work with the owners of the Air Port to understand their needs and link with the East Kent College to maximise the benefit of linking apprenticeships across skill-sets.  I would also fight to keep them to their pledge of no night flights.

Both ‘Locate in Kent’ and local businesses are clear that we need to help local people  develop key skills in order to attract business to the area and support local entrepreneurs.

What would you aim to do with regards to housing and homelessness for North Thanet?

This would be one of my main priorities.  It is my firm belief that a warm, safe home is a basic human right and I would fight to make this the law.  Currently Thanet District Council have the legal duty to ensure everyone has somewhere to live.  We all know however that in practice this is not working.  People are told they “are not a priority” when contacting Thanet District Council.  Under my watch everyone is a priority.

Local authorities are being stuck with statutory duties that they do not have the finance to perform.  As an MP I would fight to ensure that they have the budget to carry out their statutory duties.

What are your views on climate change and tackling it?

I was born in 1960 and during my lifetime consumerism has exploded in the developed countries using up our natural resources without a thought as to how long they will last, what will happen when they run out and what impact we are having on our natural world.

We know that we have to stop using fossil fuel.  We have technology that can replace it.  We have entrepreneurs working on new technologies to help deliver this technology so that we can all use it.  If elected I will drive this forward as hard as I possibly can, giving it everything I can to deliver a greener, cleaner Thanet.

What health services are priority for North Thanet and how should they be implemented?

Margate hospital (QEQM) is set to lose its Stroke Service, followed by its Accident & Emergency Service, closely followed by its Maternity Service.  I say no, no, no!

Canterbury hospital (KCH) has lost it’s A&E, is set to lose its stroke services (unless a completely new hospital is built) and is being continually downgraded.  I will fight to keep or re-introduce these services at QEQM and KCH.  I will support the SONIK judicial review.

I have grave concerns about merging the Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) together with all other Kent CCGs to have one Kent CCG because I believe that local communities have the best understanding of need in their community.  I would raise my concerns regarding this merger and seek to put it on hold pending further investigation of how Thanet will be impacted.  A full review is needed before this is just rubber stamped.

Thanet has one of the highest crime rates in Kent. How would you aim to tackle this as an MP?

Crime rates tend to escalate in times of hardship and social division.  By revoking Article 50 to remain in the EU we would have more time and money to spend on redressing the imbalances that exist in our society which are the drivers of crime.

I would work with our police force locally to understand what they need in order to reduce crime in our area.  I suspect that as with many of our public services their budgets have been cut to the bone and they are struggling to deliver the service level we need.  I would fight to put in place realistic budgets to let them do their job.

What experience would you bring to the role of MP?

I started my career at Great Ormond Street Children’s hospital in a department involved in research.

I moved into the world of information technology (IT) in 1982 when there was a technological revolution in the way we ran all aspects of our lives.  I was responsible for introducing computer systems into legal and insurance companies in the City of London.

When I moved back to Kent in 1991, I gained a role at Pfizer in their Drug Safety Department, using my data management skills to monitor the safety of drugs that Pfizer marketed.  I continued to work in this role part-time after my children were born until in 2008, I left to work for Quex Park.

At Quex I was involved in reviewing the management of IT systems, human resource management, marketing Quex as a tourist destination working with Visit Thanet, Visit Kent and all other tourism related business in East Kent and latterly became involved with some diversification projects, including Quex Foods producing Kentish Oils and Kent Crisps.

In 2014, I instigated a management buy-out of Quex Foods when Quex took the decision to re-direct their investment to their core business.  My company, AMC Foods, became the owner of Kentish Oils and Kent Crisps which went on to secure numerous local contracts as well as the contract to supply P&O Ferries and British Airways.  Sadly in 2016, due to personal circumstances, I was unable to continue as owner and Managing Director of AMC Foods and through a company voluntary arrangement I withdrew from AMC Foods which is now owned by Laura Bounds, one of the Executive Directors on my board.

In 2016 I embarked on training with Canterbury Community Counselling Service to become a Counsellor and I am currently a counsellor in training, volunteering at a local primary school.  In addition, I am a trustee of a local charity supporting children with complex medical and educational needs.

I am also a founder member of the Thanet Community Land Trust (a non-political organization) working to develop community led housing and volunteer with a local charity to help homeless people in Thanet.  I am grateful to my family and in particular to my husband for supporting me during this very special time when I have been able to develop my skills in supporting people with their mental health and in other practical ways.

I have a wide range of skills developed over many years that I will bring to working as an MP for North Thanet and I have the passion, determination and energy required to make people’s lives better.

Rob Edwards, Green Party

What are your top 3 priorities for North Thanet?

Reverse the cuts and fight for fairer funding for coastal and rural communities

Protect our services, and in particular stand up for our local NHS

More sustainable social and affordable housing, on brownfield sites only

How will Brexit impact/benefit North Thanet?

We are all privy to the two-party politics over Brexit that has happened over the last few years and feel we can all agree that it’s been a long, tedious mess. We have experienced indecision, false promises and name calling, all of which does not help us work together to achieve the best possible outcome for all.

We are a coastal area, nearest to the continent and so Brexit will affect us immediately. It is therefore important that we work tirelessly to ensure that the people of North Thanet get the support, infrastructure and rights they deserve.

Not being part of the EU and especially dropping out with a no deal Brexit will affect the local area very negatively. It will mean a downgrading of workers’ rights, animal rights, environmental protection and security, and the threat of our NHS being sold off to US drug companies. This is not what any of us want.

We all know what Remain looks like but not what Leave means to us as individuals. I believe everyone should now be provided with clear facts about how different outcomes would affect them, and then be given the chance of a confirmatory vote.

What are the most important economic factors for North Thanet and how do you aim to boost them?

Working in North Thanet for most of my career, as well as studying in both Thanet and Medway, it has become apparent that many people with university degrees are having to take lower paid jobs. This is partly due to the lack of high-quality degree- based jobs, but also the difficulty young workers experience in funding themselves in the expensive and busy metropolis that is London.

This breeds dissatisfaction amongst people who have invested time and effort in their futures – but it also has a knock-on effect as graduates take jobs non-graduates would have secured.

Thanet North and South suffer from too few high-quality jobs. Many of their workers have had too few opportunities to train and build up their skills – but in this area there is huge potential in tourism and green jobs.

We need to push small businesses and entrepreneurs to invest in Thanet, promote education & training and jobs in the green economy, and ensure that we allow every person in Thanet the opportunity to work at the highest level they can attain.

What would you aim to do in regards to housing and homelessness for North Thanet?

The issue of housing is particular prominent in North Thanet where existing communites and greenfield sites are being targeted in Westbrook, Herne Bay, Westgate-on-sea and Birchington. As someone still struggling to get onto the housing ladder, I feel the pain of this: working hard, saving and yet being unable to afford a simple, small, functioning property. It is therefore imperative that any houses that are built alongside current communities, away from wildlife and valuable green assets, and most importantly that they should be affordable for buyers of all ages.

As far as rented property is concerned, we all know people who are renting and suffering from unfair practices amongst landlords. I would want to work very hard to ensure that tenants are properly advised and have full rights when leasing property and that those landlords that don’t provide a good service face repercussions. But I would equally want to see tenants obliged to maintain a property in a good state so there is a balance in the arrangements.

New houses must be built on sustainable, low-energy principles that make them cheap to heat and comfortable to live in. We need to retrofit existing properties too to improve their insulation and do away with gas boilers so we can reach zero-carbon by 2030.

Empty properties are shameful when we have people living on the streets. Thanet is doing well in identifying and using vacant property and we must build on this as part of our strategy to end homelessness.

What are your views on climate change and tackling it?

Flooding, tree cutting and building on green belt land are all issues that affects us in North Thanet. The flooding disaster in Doncaster and around the U.K reminds us that the areas of Herne Bay, Reculver and the Wantsum itself are at risk of heavy flooding, potentially resulting in an Isle of Thanet once again within our lifetimes! To minimise flood risk, the Government must prioritise addressing climate change.

Climate change is hard to see sometimes and with no instant fix even harder to see the effects of what we do. The Green New Deal, initiated by Caroline Lucas MP and others and now taken up by progressive politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, represents a radical rethinking of our economy, to ensure that as we move to a greener system which generates jobs in a new, clean, green economy. It’s also a fairer system that leaves no-one behind, with training and opportunities for everyone.

We must ensure that the environmental protections we enjoy in the EU are maintained after Brexit, and that at the individual, company and government level we act now to ensure a safe, clean, green future.

What health services are priority for North Thanet and how should they be implemented?

I have worked in the Health and Fitness industry for over 10 years. I have seen first hand the wonders that good nutrition and exercise can do, yet access to sport for children and adults alike in North Thanet is apalling. Barriers such as poor or no facilities, cost, accessibility and awareness are all problems that could be solved at a local level and could dramatically improve both mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and physical health issues such as obesity and diabetes district-wide. It is more important than ever to ensure that we have the ability to look after our health in positive, proactive ways, rather than putting strain on our ever-busy NHS.

Cutbacks that are reducing the numbers of GP and health practices around North Thanet and the apparent downgrading of the QEQM are disastrous for our continuing good health. We need more funding for top-quality medical care facilities, a minor injuries unit and Hyper Acute Stroke Unit closer to home. Reducing stroke risk can be addressed through diet and nutrition, but for those who do suffer them, a stroke unit nearby can reduce potentially serious damage.

From the point of view of employment, good local health services plus specialist units also increase the number of highly paid jobs in the area and offer career progression routes for people in all branches of the health service.

Finally, we must at all costs defend our National Health Service against creeping privatisation and ensure Brexit doesn’t become the trigger for selling off our services to US drugs companies. The NHS is precious and we must defend it!

Thanet has one of the highest crime rates in Kent. How would you aim to tackle this as an MP?

In North Thanet antisocial behaviour has become a problem that affects all of us and endangers our tourist industry. We believe we need to restore community policing, with neighbourhood police who people know and trust.

We believe in the ‘broken window principle’: we need to tackle the small issues that affect our quality of life before they escalate, and establish expectations of decency, caring and kind behaviour in our communities. Keeping our streets clean and combating vandalism are part of this.

Some antisocial behaviour could be stopped by improving support services to the most vulnerable in our communities and reviving our decimated youth services, diverting those young people who get involved in vandalism into productive activities and helping them develop their potential.

What experience would you bring to the role of MP?

With experience in the Health and Fitness industry, leisure and tourism as well as in recruitment, I feel I have a good background in some key areas that Thanet’s regeneration will rely on. Working in these fields has taught me to work well in a team but to have confidence to make my own decisions, both of which I believe are vital in any responsible role, including that of an MP.

I am a keen listener and problem solver, and I believe this will stand me in good stead when it comes to the problems the constituents of North Thanet may have.

What we have now in North Thanet is the same processes happening over and over again – the same MP, the same lack of vision, and the same issues and complications that we have always had.

I believe there is an alternative. I can offer energy, enthusiasm, hard work and determination to make North Thanet everything it has the potential to be.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage decided not to contest any Tory-held seats, resulting in the withdrawal of Brexit Party candidates.

Deadline for publication of all persons nominated is 11.59pm today (November 14). All further persons nominated will be asked for question responses.

25 Comments

  1. Roger Gail seems to think travelling to Ashford in the case of a stroke is just ‘a tough decision to be made’. To the people of Thanet this will mean death as they will not reach Ashford in time to get the life saving treatment they need.

    To frame this as he does it’s frankly bollo*** and equals horrendous representation for the people of Thanet.

  2. Roger Gale as you often say you have been the MP for North Thanet for decades, have you ever thought of moving here? Both Tory MP’s for Thanet don’t live in Thanet, but they are in favour of re-opening Manston airport (for cargo aircraft only, passengers are not planned!) which will destroy jobs in Ramsgate’s tourist/hospitality industry! If Manston reopened it would mean upwards of 2 to 3 cargo aircraft an hour day and night, flying in over Ramsgate harbour at less than 300 meters, descending over the town and St Lawrence between 200 meters high, to 100 meters, devaluing property, who would want to live under the flights paths! So much for Gales laughable green aspirations, imagine the air and noise pollution!

    Apart from the loss of jobs, no jobs would be created for locals, unless they are highly trained air traffic controllers, jet engine maintenance engineers, and the like, which is extremely unlikely, so they would have to be brought in, and where would they live? Manston is less than two miles from Ramsgate town, and would be ideal for 4,000 new homes, with leisure, parks, schools, and medical centres already planned! No, this man Gale, and Mackinlay the MP for South Thanet, couldn’t give a Tinkers cuss about the people affected by reopening Manston, so vote them out!

  3. Roger Gale has lived in Thanet for years. I Used to vote conservative but having watched parliament on television and seen the very nasty party close up and for Johnson to throw the true conservatives out of the party I will never vote for them again. They really are a bunch of thugs in suits, there is certainly nothing honourable about any of them.
    Anyone who votes conservative needs to make an appointment with a psychiatrist. I will vote LibDem.

  4. Coral Jones stands out as the best candidate by far to unseat Sir Roger, too long an obstruction for the best policies for Thanet

  5. Why did the liberal county councillor vote to close the stroke unit in Margate and now their candidate says they are supporting sonik who want to keep it open. Two faced liberals.

    • Not according to “all reports”
      Falcon, Avia, York Aviation and Altitude Aviation all say that aviation of any sort at Manston is most unlikely.
      Which should help with some of Roger Gale’s hypocrisy. On the one hand, he wants to inflict a cargo hub airport on us, on the other, he wants a planet fit for his grandchildren to live in.

    • As I recall it was an “aspiration” to eventually have a passenger carrier at Manston, yeah, right! But who would want to provide that after at least four previous attempts failed! The reason, no demand, they even tried bussing people in from Medway, but that didn’t work either! Manston will never be able to meet the need to be opened in the “National Interest” criteria required, especially when there is plenty of spare capacity at Southend, and elsewhere in better locations, than the fag end of Kent!

    • Its an “aspiration” they say! Yeah right! No passenger carrier would be interested, is it four, or five companies that tried, and failed to make it work! The simple reason why they failed, was there is no demand for a passenger carrier at Manston, when people from say Medway, can get to Gatwick just as easily, which has better facilities!

  6. How do Roger Gale and Angie Curwin reconcile their concerns about climate change and air pollution with their support for the idea of having an airport at Manston?

  7. We must get the Tories out and Labour has the policies to do this. It is rather puzzling, given Dr Jones is standing for my party in North Thanet, that she is holding a placard which makes no mention of her being a Labour party candidate, but rather one for a campaign which although supported by many in Labour, is not a Labour Party campaign. This points to some lack of awareness of how Labour candidates should present their image in an election. Hopefully this can be rectified because how would the casual viewer/ reader recognise Dr Jones is standing for Labour!!

  8. I’d really appreciate any (sensible) comments on the following: vote Conservative to maintain the status quo of food banks, charities stretched to their limits, homelessness, many children in poverty, low wages and local land-banking scams or for the party most likely to be able to secure change (Labour)

    • You forgot more anti-social behaviour, lack of police, filthy streets, make your own list, all down to the Tories cutting public services to pay back their greedy banker friends who gambled our money away ten years ago!

  9. Met a tory voter , said we cant afford nhs unless we pay £10 for visiting a doctor or a/e, also against labour policy of free prescription . At least she was honest enough to tell me what will happen if the tories have a majority government,

  10. Great responses from Dr Coral Jones and Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt. The truth is that if you want to have any chance of saving QEQM from Tory plans, you need to vote Labour. Labour have really come good in terms of NHS policies – they have now fully committed to reversing privatisation by repealing the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, and they have pledged to halt all NHS cuts and review the decisions. No other party is doing this; only Labour.

  11. Is there anyone left in Thanet – other than Roger Gale and a handful of aviation-obsessed plane-spotters – who really believes the number one priority for North Thanet is Manston Airport? The fact that he is prioritising this over QEQM closures at all – to say nothing of his support for those closures – says everything you need to know about how completely out of touch he is with his constituents.

    Gale is right about one thing at least … “The most significant impact upon the economy and jobs, though, will derive from the re-opening of Manston as an airport” … but not in the way he thinks it will.

    The effect of cargo planes flying over Thanet every 10 minutes at altitudes of less than 600ft will absolutely destroy this area, drive people out, drive investment and kill off the growth we have seen in the last few years through the tourism and creative economy Rog talks about here, not to mention the green energy industry.

    In return, we’ll get – at best – a few hundred warehouse jobs for a short period before those warehouses are fully automated. And that’s forgetting about Tony Freudmann’s track record over 25 years of failure at running businesses – including previous failures at Manston and his last attempt at running an airport at Lahr, when workers went 3 months without pay before the airport went bust less than a year after he took it over.

    The fact is that unemployment in Thanet has dropped from 10.5% to less than 5% in the five years since the former airport closed. Why sacrifice the growth in viable, sustainable industries since then to go back to those bad old days of serial failure?

    OH … and by the way, Rog. How is developing a dirty great air cargo hub in any way consistent with what you claim to be your concerns about climate change? And, while we’re at it, if you were so concerned about climate change, how come you only bothered to attend 6 out of 16 key votes on this issue between 2008-2018 in the House of Commons and only voted FOR measures that would curb climate change in 2 out of those 6 votes?

  12. The majority of the candidates – Labour, Lib Dems, Greens – do not seem to be democrats respecting the referendum result, and will of the people, to leave the EU. People voted with their eyes wide open, and have viewed the lies of remain politicians every since going back on their words. Inaccurate statements here use fear to frighten us into thinking the medicine cupboard will be empty – this is not true. Fear controls. Don’t fall for that old game. Roger Gale will be held to account to ensure we do have a proper Brexit with control of our fisheries, with no control by the ECJ or imminent European Defence Union. The old tribal politics is falling apart. The public is looking for honesty and transparency in honouring the votes of the people. They are looking very closely nowadays. To honour the referendum is the very basis of democracy which some of these candidates are trashing. Otherwise, why should anyone respect the result of any election in the future? If any of them got in, why should we respect that result. Should we not just say – no let’s vote again, and again until we get the result we want. Gale is honouring the referendum result, but he will be held to account to deliver a proper Brexit, and I suspect many new MPs will be voted in to act differently. Old politics is dying, but I hope democracy isn’t. And the voters are looking at all of this very closely.

    • A low percentage of the electorate actually said, in that referendum, that they wanted to leave the EU. A slightly smaller percentage said they didn’t, and about 2/3 did not respond at all. So to say that the desire to leave the EU is “the will of the people” is quite an exaggeration.

      A general election isn’t a single-issue thing.

    • “The will of the people”, yeah right! The referendum was a con trick only 72% of the electorate voted, and 52% voted to leave, so 52% of 72% is less than 38% of the electorate who actually voted to leave, do the sums! Also, no one knew what the Terms & Conditions were to leave, if they thought they did, why didn’t they tell Teresa May and the rest of us, because no one still knows what they are, Duuurh!

  13. At last North Thanet has the chance to vote for someone who will stick up for her constituents.Dr Coral Jones is an excellent candidate. She will not stand back idly and watch the QEQM Hospital being dismantled, unlike Mr Gale. She will fight for her constituents.

  14. The only candidate I have seen actively out there doing anything to save QEQM Stroke service is Dr Coral Jones. None of the others have done anything! As for Gale! He has sided with the health chiefs who wants to close the stroke unit. He doesn’t care that his constituents will die going to Ashford, or that their relatives will have to travel all that way to visit. Dr Jones has my vote x

  15. I voted in the referendum to leave the EU – no ifs or buts! Now how do I vote? Nigel Farage seems to think that I should support Sir Roger Gale who voted three times for the treaty negotiated my Mrs May guided by Sir Ollie Robbins which has clearly shown to be nothing other than a revamp of the Treaty we are already in – in fact worse than the treaty we are already in as there is no equivalent clause to article 50, I.e., a get out clause and thereby potentially stuck for ever with no representation in the governance of the EU. Boris Johnson’s ministrations are little better. Sir Roger has always seemed an intelligent politician but fear his intelligence let him down when he put party before people and supported the establishment and continued “membership” of an undemocratic political union of Europe! To have my support he must declare that, if push comes to shove, he will support a clean break arrangement (with a free trade agreement) if the future arrangements for leaving do not fully satisfy the will if the people to leave with no post leave political entanglement with the EU. In the absence of such a declaration I will deface my voting paper by simply marking it with “BREXIT”

  16. Thanet District Council is dragging its feet. It has known since the run up to the May District Council of the problems of having a single polling station in Reading Street far from many of the many electors in the Westover Road area ,and has failed to arrange for a portacabin placed on a green space at the south end of the ward, or to make plans for the use of the KCC office in Dane Valley Road. The lack of another polling station could have affected the result of the very close district council in MAY – Only 5 votes difference between a winning and losing candidate. The election is meant to be a fair and even contest. Having just a single polling station situated in a solidly Tory area raises doubts as to the impartiality of the senior officers of the Council

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