THE BLOG

In Stoke, Only Labour Will Reject Politics Of Hate And Truly Fight For Working People

31/01/2017 09:30
Joe Giddens - PA Images via Getty Images

My name is Gareth Snell. I am a trade unionist, campaigner and local councillor, and I'm running as Labour's candidate in the Stoke-on-Trent by-election.

Choosing to make my life here in the Potteries with my wife and daughter is the best decision I ever made. People in Stoke-on-Trent are proud, kind and dynamic but the city has been left behind by waves of cuts and job losses. We have to make sure Stoke-on-Trent doesn't go backwards. We have a duty to fight for a bright future here for our children.

That challenge makes this like no by-election we've ever had before. Stoke-on-Trent is a Labour seat through and through, but it's one that Ukip and the Tories both think they can win.

The Tories say they can win it on the back of Theresa May's plan for Brexit, but their record in Westminster and in the Local Council means that local people will struggle to believe that they'll put worker's rights and investment in places like Stoke-on-Trent first.

Ukip fancy themselves as the main contender, but in reality they're tied with the Tories, coming within 33 votes of them in 2015. Leader and candidate Paul Nuttall's extreme views on NHS privatisation, tax cuts for the richest and axing welfare place him far away on the political spectrum from the average Stoke-on-Trent voter.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems are desperately failing to distance themselves from their five years in a cuts coalition with the Tories.

Labour's the only party in the race that offers people in Stoke-on-Trent a voice on the issues that really affect them. I'm the only candidate that will take a strong stand on issues like privatisation of our cancer care, closure of children's centres and secure, decently paid jobs.

I understand that Brexit is one of the most significant issues facing our country right now and I have already pledged to the people of Stoke-on-Trent that I would vote for Article 50 if elected. People across the constituency have already told me how important it is that they are listened to by those in Westminster.

I have listened and I will make sure Brexit means exit from the EU. I have also listened to people telling me they don't trust the Tories to put them first in negotiations, so I will make sure we protect jobs and workers' rights in the Potteries whilst we're at it.

As a trade unionist I will be a firm and fair negotiator - drawing a red line under basic entitlements for working people like sick pay, holiday pay and maternity cover and high quality jobs. I will also fight for jobs and investment in the area - making sure that we protect local manufacturing against the dumping of products from China and secure trade for Stoke-on-Trent from across the world.

This election is going to be a battle, but I know it's one we can win. Together we can stop the Tories taking Stoke-on-Trent backwards, and reveal Nuttall for the fraud that he is. 23 February is the moment that we reject their politics of hate and give power back to those who will truly fight for working people.

Gareth Snell is the Labour candidate in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election

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