Can Labour candidate make history in Harrogate at General Election?
There has never been a Labour MP in Harrogate and Knaresborough, though the candidate who stood in 2017 achieved the party’s best result in decades with 20.1% of the vote.
Next month, that same candidate, Mark Sewards will resume the fight in the General Election with what he says is a renewed sense of optimism.
Mr Sewards says recent news that Shan Oakes, the Green Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough, had stood down in a deal with the Lib Dems while Nick Jardine, the Brexit Party’s PPC, had also done the same in a concession by party leader Nigel Farage to the Tories nationally, means there is everything to play for.
“This election isn’t a foregone conclusion and Harrogate and Knaresborough Labour Party will be fighting for every single vote here in our constituency.
“I’m very hopeful about Labour’s prospects.
“At the last General Election, Labour doubled our share of the vote and secured our best result in the constituency since 1966, winning more than 11,000 votes.
“There’s everything to play for and we firmly believe that we can get a Labour Government by the end of the year.
“The Brexit Party withdrawing from Harrogate & Knaresborough and Conservative-held seats across the country shows that a vote for the Tories is a vote for Nigel Farage’s divisive politics.
“The Tories want to implement a harmful Brexit deal that will hurt local businesses and endanger your rights at work.
"The Lib Dems want to ignore the votes of millions and revoke Article 50.
“Labour are the only party who trust the people to decide.
“We want to see Brexit sorted within six months by giving the public the choice between leaving with a sensible deal and remaining in the European Union.
“And now that the Green Party have also withdrawn from standing in Harrogate and Knaresborough, the only option for local people wishing to urgently address the climate emergency is to vote Labour.
“There’s no denying that Brexit is the biggest national talking point at the moment. The next Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn, pictured inset, will get Brexit sorted within six months by giving the British people, the final say.
“Labour is the only party giving the public the final say on Brexit which will include an option to remain in the EU. But this election is about so much more than Brexit.
“People on the doorsteps across the constituency are telling me that they want real change. I’ll be the hard-working local champion that Harrogate & Knaresborough deserves and I’ll fight tooth and nail to improve the lives of local people.
"If elected by voters, I’ll challenge cuts to school funding, protect the local green belt including the beloved Nidd Gorge and secure a fair deal for pensioners, protecting the ‘triple lock’ on state pensions and the Winter Fuel Allowance.
"I’ll also support swift action being taken to address climate change and deliver a Green Industrial Revolution.
“For too long these issues have been neglected by a Conservative MP who would rather toe the Government line than stand up for our local community."
“If I’m elected, I will move to the constituency, hold regular advice surgeries and will always put local people first.
“Over the next five weeks, we’ll make it our mission to speak to as many people as possible on the doorstep to to talk about the issues they care about.”
MARK SEWARDS PROFILE;
Mark Sewards said: “I was born and bred in Yorkshire and teach maths at a comprehensive school.
“I see every day the impact austerity is having on school budgets so I know how important it is that we get a Labour government and reverse the last nine years of Tory cuts.
“Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked in the financial sector where I gained a thorough understanding of some of the challenges facing our economy.
“I’m from a working class family and I’ve seen first-hand the positive difference Labour governments make to ordinary people’s lives.
“I was the first in my family to go to university and I wouldn’t have been able to do this if it hadn’t been for the investment the last Labour government put into my school.
“I’ve lived in Yorkshire all my life and currently live in Leeds with my wife, Alice Smart, pictured, who is a Leeds Labour councillor.
“As Labour’s candidate last time, I got to know the constituency incredibly well.
“I’m passionate about investing in our schools and public services and giving future generations the same opportunities that I had.”