Former speech writer and Green candidate Peter Underwood explains here what he would have done differently if he had been elected in 2015 instead of Steve Reed.
He says he wishes the Labour MP had put as much effort into opposing the Tory government as he did in to his failed attempts to get rid of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Here are the three things he would have done over the last two year’s to benefit Thornton Heath residents and what he would do if elected:
NO1: The NHS
In 2016 a Bill was introduced to Parliament to reinstate the government’s duty to provide key NHS services. This Bill would stop NHS privatisation and would have prevented the current threats to close one of our local hospitals and the ongoing break-up and deterioration in our NHS services that affect all Thornton Heath residents. This Bill was proposed by a number of Labour MPs and our Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. If I was MP for Croydon North I would have supported this Bill but Steve Reed chose not to do so.
NO2: A fair election system
We know that our election system doesn’t work properly. At the last election the Tories got only 37% of the vote but got over 50% of the MPs and in Thornton Heath your vote made no difference to the final result. In 2016 Caroline Lucas attempted to introduce a Bill to move to a fair voting system. This Bill would have ensured that every vote counted and the final number of MPs would match the way people voted. If this Bill had passed then it would have meant that the votes of Thornton Heath residents would have been as important as anyone else in the country. People living in Thornton Heath would know they could vote for the party they really wanted to win and that their vote would make a difference in the final result. This Bill was supported by MPs from a number of parties including Labour, the LibDems, the SNP, and even one Conservative MP. Unfortunately a vote to take this Bill forward was lost by only seven votes. If had been an MP I would have voted in favour of this Bill but unfortunately Steve Reed didn’t vote for it or even attend the debate.
This third area is one that many people see as the most important issue of this election. Steve Reed campaigned for Remain in the referendum and Thornton Heath voted overwhelmingly to Remain but when it came to the vote in Parliament on Article 50 Steve Reed voted to Leave. I believe that an MP should represent the views of their constituents and that constituents should be able to trust that their MP will do the right thing. I voted against leaving the EU in the referendum and if I had been the MP for Croydon North I would have voted against it in Parliament as well. Unlike the Labour Party, I believe that people should have control over Brexit and they should be offered the choice to reject the final deal on Brexit and stay in the EU if that is what people want to do.
These are the areas Peter would hope to improve the lives of residents in Thornton Heath if elected on Juen 8.
NO1: Restoring public services
I believe our public services should run for our benefit not just to make a profit for rich shareholders. I would undo the privatisation of our NHS, our schools, our libraries, and our railways so that they are all owned by the public. We can then ensure that our services are properly funded; with a focus improving services not cutting costs. And all those brilliant nurses, teachers, and public servants will be paid properly for the great work they do.
NO2: Making sure the economy works for everyone
At the moment we see billionaires getting even richer while the rest of us struggle to get by. I want to see economic policy turned round so it works for all of us, not just the rich. Our Green infrastructure projects would create more jobs. We would ban exploitative practices like zero-hours contracts and raise the minimum wage to a proper living wage. We will restore fair taxes on big business and millionaires while supporting small local businesses so that we can all benefit from economic success.
NO3: Healthy people and a healthy environment
Polluted air kills thousands of Londoners every year. People living in Thornton Heath already suffer from traffic pollution and the air will get even worse later this year when the Beddington incinerator starts up. Successive governments have ignored this problem and we are all left to choke. We will demand that Government takes action to clean up our air. One of the key ways of doing that will be to protect our green spaces from greedy property developers. Green spaces not only provide a nice place to take a walk and space for our children to play, they also help filter out pollution. We will work to ensure that everyone has access to a local green area.
READ: List of all candidates standing in Thornton Heath.