Congratulations to Sarah Jones on being selected as my Labour opponent at the next Election. Being chosen by the party whose values you share to contest a seat in the place you’re from is a great honour. Today will be a very proud day for her.
Commiserations to both Alison Butler and Louisa Woodley, both of whom I served with on Croydon Council and both of whom are in politics for the right reasons. Alison had the support of all the senior members of the Labour Group and its noteworthy that Labour Party members in Croydon Central took a different view to their party leadership.
Sarah’s made it pretty clear over the last few weeks that she doesn’t think I do go a good job as a local MP. I think she’ll find even Labour voters don’t share that view. I won’t be making personal attacks on her however. I am happy to run on my record and on the big questions facing this country:
- which party has the right approach to dealing with our debts while growing our economy and creating the jobs we need: Conservatives, who have reduced the deficit by a third so far and cut youth unemployment in Croydon Central by 20 per cent; or Ed Balls, who won’t even admit that the last Labour Government spent too much?
- which party will do most to help families struggling with the rising cost of living: Conservatives, who have cut Council Tax and fuel duty; or a Labour Party that doubled Council Tax and planned to put fuel duty up every year?
- which party has the right approach to reforming welfare: Conservatives, who have put a cap on the amount of benefits people can receive; or Labour, who gave some out-of-work families £100,000 a year?
- which party has the right approach to controlling immigration: Conservatives, who want the best and brightest to settle here but believe that if immigration is too high it makes it harder for our unemployed to find work and puts too much pressure on public services; or Labour, who allowed 250,000 people a year to settle here?
- who’s best placed to provide the leadership this country needs in difficult times: David Cameron or Ed Miliband?
I look forward to discussing these issues with Sarah and the people of Croydon Central over the next year and a half - and with confidence, but not an ounce of complaceny, to the answer they will give.