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Ham&High in-depth analysis: candidates quizzed by community (part 1)

PUBLISHED: 11:54 30 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 07 September 2010

PRE-ELECTION analysis carried out by the Ham&High news team this week revealed that Ed Fordham and Frank Dobson are the Parliamentary candidates most in tune with the views of influential community figures in their constituencies. A series of questions co

PRE-ELECTION analysis carried out by the Ham&High news team this week revealed that Ed Fordham and Frank Dobson are the Parliamentary candidates most in tune with the views of influential community figures in their constituencies.

A series of questions compiled by more than 40 community groups was put to the four main parliamentary candidates for the Hampstead and Kilburn and the Holborn and St Pancras seats.

The candidates for the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Green parties were all asked approximately 20 questions both general and on subjects pertaining specifically to their seat.

They were put forward by traders and residents groups, campaigners, patients groups, arts representatives, schools, police panel leaders, the Heath and Hampstead Society and the Highgate Society, with topics ranging from immigration, small businesses and basement developments to education, bus passes and community policing.

Without being told which candidate had given each answer, the groups then rated the candidates' replies with marks from zero (very poor) to 4 (very good).

Liberal Democrat Ed Fordham topped the Hampstead and Kilburn seat with a mark of 65, while Frank Dobson, the incumbent Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, led the field with a mark of 45, narrowly defeating Conservative candidate George Lee, who scored 41.

Mr Fordham's results came after an impressive display at the Ham&High's hustings last week but he said he was far from complacent with barely a week remaining until the general election.

He said: "I have hundreds of opinions but the crucial thing is listening to what people are saying. The result of the Ham&High poll feels good but I'm absolutely not complacent. There are nine days to go and it's people who decide, not opinion polls."

Mr Dobson felt the results gave an accurate reflection of what his canvassing had shown.

He said: "Of the people who have stopped me in the street so far this election I have yet to be abused. Most people have thanked me for what I've been doing and told me to get on with it."

The incumbent Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Glenda Jackson came off worst in the survey, with a total score of 34 and more than half of her answers being awarded a mark of either zero or one.

She said: "I'm bemused by that. I don't think this is an accurate reflection of how people will vote. The buzz on the street is fantastic - people are talking about this election. They are taking it very seriously indeed."

For a closer look at where each candidate performed well and the areas where they fell down, here is the full list of questions put to the candidates and how the people who asked them rated their answers.

HAMPSTEAD AND KILBURN

Totals:

Ed Fordham = 65

Chris Philp = 53

Bea Campbell = 50

Glenda Jackson = 34

1) Following on from all the recent tube and train weekend closures which have severely affected residents and businesses in West Hampstead, what would the candidates do to make sure Transport for London consults, listens and responds to passengers and groups such as ours?

Glenda Jackson (Labour): I would like to continue what I have already been doing which is raising these issues with TfL and obviously with the Mayor. There is a kind of paradox here because we do have to improve transport across London and the work has to be done. The amount of money that has gone into the transport systems since 18 years ago is big investments. SCORE = 3

Ed Fordham (Liberal Democrats): TfL does not listen or understand - they are out of touch and it has to change now. As MP I would force them to come here and listen to people and stop being a hands off organisation - it is a disgrace. SCORE = 2

Chris Philp (Conservatives): I have already organised a public meeting with TfL in West Hampstead. I have talked with them on numerous occasions and I have appealed to them to not close the whole line in one go and to communicate better with residents. With the Northern line I was successful in persuading them to avoid weekend closures this year and instead do it overnight. The solution is to apply enormous pressure on TfL and it does eventually pay off. SCORE = 3

Beatrix Campbell (Green Party): I think the answer to this lies in the history of London transport going back to the early 80s when the Conservative government did its best to take power of London transport away from the elected representatives, which was the GLC. Transport was an election issue, it was a hot issue and a big issue for everyone living in the capital city and it has been a battle ground ever since and tragically the labour government repeated the Conservative's crime in the way they set up TfL by trying to sever the direct relationship between elected representatives and the London transport body. Secondly in indulging in what we all now know is a deceitful way of funding public services such as PFI and Public Private Partnerships which are simply a way of deferring costs and hiding them. That helps to understand what the problem is the solution is to bring the ownership and control of London's transport system back to London's elected representatives. If that were the case there would be no shut downs over weekends. That would be inconceivable. SCORE = 3

2) In an urban constituency, like Hampstead and Kilburn, how will you ensure that our parks and open spaces are maintained to a good standard - particularly if overall funding is going to be tight?

GJ: They have been maintained to a very high standard by the government ensuring that local authorities have had legal funding over the past 13 years and much more than under the previous government. We regard open spaces as part of making every child matter because not all children have access to a garden. SCORE = 2

EF: One of the things I have supported in Kilburn Grange Park is start a friends group. They have one in Queen's Park and Hampstead Heath where I am on the management committee and they really help. Residents have to be proud of their parks and pitch in and help out - it is not cost cutting just pride in our communities. SCORE = 4

CP: The legal protections are very important and I successfully lobbied Boris Johnson to reinstate the views from Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill. It is very important to prevent development that infringes on our open spaces. I have played a leading role in opposing excessive planning applications in Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath. The community needs to be vigilant to make sure that our open spaces are in good order and responsible authorities tack action if they start deteriorating. SCORE =3

BC: The answer has to be part of a logical approach to how we fund and steward public spaces in the city and that has to be part of a strategy for greening the city and safe guarding public spaces so streets as well as parks are secure. So the question about our parks has to be attached to a bigger strategy about the greening of the streets. We are the only party with the overall strategy for the greening of the London economy and the greening of social spaces. SCORE = 3


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