Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Labour's Peter Chowney unhappy with rapidly rising use of food banks.

Labour’s Peter Chowney unhappy with rapidly rising use of food banks.

Independent shows his hand as candidates raise concerns

Ahead of the first hustings on Friday afternoon, the independent candidate, who will be present at it, is making himself known. Government policies affecting poverty, the NHS and education have come under fire from the Labour and Lib Dem candidates, whil the Tory candidate has declared her opposition to the council’s plans for a large housing development on the old bathing pool site. Nick Terdre rounds up the election news.

The independent candidate is emerging from the shadows. Paul Crosland turns out to be a veteran Green Party member disenchanted with the tactical policy of smaller parties standing down in order to get the Tories defeated.

This isn’t explicitly the reason given by the local Greens for not standing a candidate but Crosland has decided to fill that Green gap.

“I strongly disagree and furthermore feel that political parties have a responsibility to stand for their values over and over again so that people like me – a long standing Green Party member and former staff member in 1989 – can vote Green again and again!” he wrote to HOT.

“I am, instead, holding myself accountable for attracting votes from across the right-left spectrum whilst advancing ecological conversations across the constituency of Hastings and Rye – and all election expenses being on my credit card debt!”

He wants to “encourage reflection and actions towards a higher quality of life with a set of low carbon policies fit for ‘2066 Country’.”

He encourages people to upload their own personal 10-point manifestoes to YouTube using the hashtag #HastingsCitizenManifesto – an open session will be held on Sunday 8 December, venue not yet disclosed,  to discuss the ideas put forward.

Crosland also calls himself Pause5GMan, as another theme of his campaign is opposition to the roll-out of 5G – in a recent letter to Hastings Observer he wrote, “It is deeply alarming to me and many others I meet that a technology as invasive as 5G is to our bodies could be introduced without our informed consent.”

Concern over increasing food bank use

Meanwhile the other candidates have been drawing attention to issues they consider important. Labour’s Peter Chowney raised the question of the substantial increase in food bank use reported in the article on Daisy’s Foodbank Party, telling HOT:

“The early roll-out of Universal Credit in Hastings and cruel benefit sanctions have led to extreme hardship and increased levels of homelessness. Benefits should help people find fulfilling jobs, not punish them, and not force them to focus solely on how they’re going to find the next meal for their children.

“I firmly believe that treating people fairly when they fall on hard times will help them get back on their feet. As MP, I would fight to ensure that everyone in the constituency could live with dignity and comfort, whatever their financial circumstances.”

Labour also tells HOT that along with their endorsement of Chowney’s candidacy, the People’s Vote is backing his campaign with a £1,000 contribution. Though no doubt welcome, the money, raised from individual PV supporters through a Crowdfunding exercise, is small beer compared with some other electoral donations. The People’s Vote is in some turmoil at the moment,  its chairman Roland Rudd, brother of Amber, having resigned recently after staff reacted to his sackings of top executives.

Dr Emlyn Jones of the Lib Dems.

Local GP Dr Emlyn Jones of the Lib Dems.

NHS and education on the Lib Dem mind

The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Tories “dismal record” on the NHS, following the revelation that in October only 81% of patients arriving at A&E in Hastings were treated or admitted within four hours, compared with the official target of 95%.

Local GP Dr Emlyn Jones, who will be standing as a Lib Dem candidate in next May’s local elections, said, “These figures reveal the Conservatives’ dismal record on the NHS. For the past four years the Tories have utterly failed to invest properly in our health service, leaving local hospitals underfunded, overstretched and understaffed.”

The Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Nick Perry added: “Their extreme Brexit would make a dismal situation worse by driving away the EU nurses the NHS desperately needs,” and said the party would invest an additional £35bn in the NHS.

Tory education policies have also come under fire from the Lib Dems. “The Conservatives have cut school budgets to the bone. Across the country, hundreds of schools rely on handouts from local parents or cut staff numbers to make ends meet,” Perry said. “Some schools are even shortening the school day because they can’t afford to keep children at school for a five-day week.

“If I am elected, I will fight to reverse school cuts so that our children can get the resources they need to learn.

“…By stopping Brexit, we can spend £10 billion a year more on schools and recruit 20,000 more teachers to give every child the skills they need to succeed in life.”

The Tories' Sally-Ann Hart.

The Tories’ Sally-Ann Hart.

Sally-Ann Hart goes to West St Leonards

Sally-Ann Hart, the Conservative candidate, will attend the demonstration called for Saturday morning at the old bathing pool site in West St Leonards. In a video posted on her Facebook page, in which she answers questions on a series of issues, she said she was opposed to residential development on the site.

She also said that if elected, in the event of moves in the next Parliament to abolish the ban on fox-hunting, she would hold a constituency referendum on the issue and be guided by the result.



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Posted 11:52 Sunday, Nov 24, 2019 In: Election 2019


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Ms.Doubtfire

    Just as well the Tory candidate made her comments known about fox hunting before many put their X on the ballot paper…if this government decides to repeal the hunting ban there will be thousands who will let them know how they feel about this…barbaric, cruel and a totally unnecessary sport…so Sally Ann Hart it was good to hear your comments on this one because it will seriously affect how many will vote in this constituency. You have been warned…

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Monday, Nov 25, 2019 @ 10:58

  2. Nick Terdre

    Jill, to clarify matters, I mentioned the possible fox-hunting referendum as a quirky contribution to the election debate. It came at the end of a video (see for yourself: of just under 15 minutes in which Sally-Ann Hart answered questions submitted to her on a range of issues – the first two were about the local fishing fleet and social housing. It’s unfair to suggest that she is ignoring the more substantive matters.

    Comment by Nick Terdre — Monday, Nov 25, 2019 @ 09:28

  3. Jill Fricker

    Oh thank god! A constituency referendum on fox-hunting! It’s what we’ve all been waiting for here in St Leonards. Rather than action on climate emergency, Universal Credit linked poverty, NHS staff shortages, affordable housing etc. etc. . . .

    Comment by Jill Fricker — Sunday, Nov 24, 2019 @ 21:22

  4. Laurence Keeley

    Visit my website at
    Sort pout the housing and feeding the nation,the second and last presentation,will
    the independent support this vision, I believe it could win in Hastings.

    Comment by Laurence Keeley — Sunday, Nov 24, 2019 @ 21:21

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