YOUR candidates for North Shropshire:
Owen Paterson (Conservative)
I was born in Whitchurch in 1956 and live near Ellesmere. I read History at Cambridge University, before joining my family’s leather business, becoming Managing Director in 1994.
I am an active supporter of localism, free enterprise and less interference in people’s lives. I believe that taxation and bureaucracy should be minimised to give people the best chance to exercise their talents. I am a strong defender of the United Kingdom.
During the past 18 years, I have fought on behalf of my constituents for better health provision, local Primary Schools, improved transport services, Post Offices and communications.
As Agriculture spokesman I campaigned for the dairy industry.
I travelled extensively to produce a landmark Green Paper on withdrawing the UK from the Common Fisheries Policy. As Shadow Minister for Roads, I researched best practice and the latest ideas from Europe and North America.
In July 2007 I was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and visited every week, spending days with MPs and MLAs from every party.
I visited schools, businesses and community projects and immersed myself in Irish history and the local economy.
In May 2010 I was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and was made a Privy Councillor.
I led a campaign of all parties and businesses to devolve the power to lower Corporation Tax, enabling the economy to grow and compete, relying less on state spending; this policy has become law in the last few weeks.
In 2012 I became Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
At DEFRA, I established four key priorities: growing the rural economy, improving the environment, protecting the countryside from animal diseases and protecting the countryside from plant diseases.
In July 2014 I returned to the backbench where I immediately formed a think tank. UK 2020 has tackled a number of important issues including Energy and Britain’s position in Europe and the World.
I believe that the UK has a spectacular future outside the EU and that we should therefore leave the political apparatus of the EU and enjoy a growing trading relationship with Europe through the Single Market, the European Economic Area.
This would free us to take a full seat on the global regulatory bodies that determine the rules of world trade. It would strengthen the Anglosphere, help build our ties with the Commonwealth and re-galvanise the movement for free trade.
Over the last 18 years, I have immersed myself in a wide range of local issues and established a reputation for championing my constituents, regardless of their political views and battling to get their problems solved.
I am well known locally and have widespread contacts; I am able to take my constituents problems to the highest levels of Government.
As a local man I consider it a privilege to represent the area in which I was born and have lived in all my life. I want to give people in North Shropshire a strong and independent minded voice in the House of Commons.
Graeme Currie (Labour)
I'm delighted to be selected to represent the Labour Party in North Shropshire. It's time to give the people of North Shropshire a real alternative.
I moved to Shropshire in 2003 with my family. My two children attended The Corbet School in Baschurch. I worked for Shropshire Council as a Senior Manager in Social Services.
I now run my own Social Work Company, work for the Court of Protection and inspect University Courses. I am a Christian and attend a local Church.
If elected I would be fully focussed as a constituency MP, holding regular surgeries across the area and being on hand to help with constituents concerns. I would work hard to serve as MP for North Shropshire.
We have a lot to be proud of here in North Shropshire. Our beautiful countryside and the market towns of Oswestry, Ellesmere, Wem, Whitchurch and Market Drayton are rich in heritage.
I would campaign to revitalise our market towns, support our farmers and encourage more small businesses.
I support the “hands off Old Oswestry Hill Fort”, and “No to Pylons” campaigns and oppose the fracking plans that would devastate areas of our countryside.
As the local Member of Parliament I would be a strong voice for North Shropshire.
Local people tell me that they are concerned about jobs, job insecurity and low pay.
We have seen a 400% increase in people needing to use the Food Banks locally and 600 disabled people waiting for essential benefits.
The Labour Party offers job guarantees to the young unemployed, more apprenticeships, scrapping the bedroom tax, increasing the minimum wage and giving tax breaks to firms paying the living wage.
Our NHS is something we are all proud off. Here in Shropshire we risk losing vital A&E services at either Shrewsbury or Telford.
My daughter’s life was saved by timely access to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and I will fight to defend these services. It is now a straight choice between a Labour government fighting for the NHS or five more years of the conservatives putting the rich first.
I believe that politics should be about the making the world a better place. Social justice and equality are at the heart of my values as a Labour Party member.
Labour has the right values – fairness, cooperation, mutual responsibility. We have a A second term of the Cameron government would mean disaster for ordinary families.
My Pledges to the Voters of North Shropshire:
Andrea Allen (UKIP)
North Shropshire PPC Andrea Allen was born in Wordsley, Worcestershire (now West Midlands), and educated at Brierley Hill Grammar School.
She strongly supports UKIP’s aim to allow the creation of new grammar schools where there is local demand, as they are proven to increase social mobility.
Andrea worked as a secretary for several years after graduating from the University of Essex and then gained a teaching qualification in Kingston upon Hull before taking up a post as a modern languages teacher in North Shropshire in 1974, moving to Whitchurch when promoted in 1982.
She has an MA in Applied Linguistics and an MPhil in the teaching of Modern Foreign Language vocabulary, as well as qualifications in German and Russian. Having previously had experience of working for companies as varied as Ready Mix Concrete, the pre-privatisation Water Board and Mann Egerton.
She returned to secretarial work after upgrading her qualifications following early retirement, doing internships with local racehorse trainers Alan Bailey and Steve Brookshaw.
A keen horsewoman who continues to ride dressage, she took part in a camel ride across the Gobi desert to raise funds for the British Horse Society, where she served for 21 years on the County Committee as North Shropshire representative.
She has been active in local campaigns such as Whitchurch 21, as well as having been heavily involved with the Town Twinning Association as President and Chairman.
She is currently a UKIP parish councillor for Tilstock Ward in Whitchurch Rural. One of her particular concerns is building on green field sites and she deplores the lack of localism in planning issues, believing that the NPPF is a developers’ and a lawyers’ charter.
Despite having an A Level in British Constitution, Andrea was never particularly involved in politics until the late 1990s.
It was the then government’s dismissal of people’s expressed opposition to government policies which fired her enthusiasm to strive for something better.
The Coalition government’s determined opposition to giving the electorate a say on the European Union in 2011 was the final impetus she needed to join UKIP.
“What we voted on in 1975 was only a Common Market, a trading agreement,” she said. “Nobody has been consulted on membership of the European Union as that did not come into existence until 1993, after the Treaty of Maastricht.
"What we have now is not what we consented to in 1975. The people have a right to decide whether they wish to continue being members of what will eventually turn into the United States of Europe.
"Quite apart from the financial costs involved in belonging to the EU, there is a price to pay in loss of freedom.
"The continental legal system starts from the premise that everything is forbidden unless there is a law to allow it, which is the complete opposite of the British Common Law system. 800 years after the sealing of Magna Carta, our Prime Minister has destroyed rights granted by that Charter through voluntarily signing up to the European Arrest Warrant.”
Duncan Kerr (Green)
Originally from Suffolk I fell in love with North Shropshire on a cycling holiday and have now made it my home.
I live in the heart of Oswestry and over the past three years have renovated Hermon Chapel from an abandoned shell to athriving arts and community centre.
Before this I worked for 35 years in Local Government starting out as an Environmental Health Officer and ending up as a Chief Executive.
A few years ago I stepped down from that role to study for an MA in Social Work and now work as a front-line Children's Social Worker.
Recently I was elected as the first Green Councillor on Oswestry Town Council.
Being in my mid-fifties I recognise that I am part of a privileged generation. My parents worked hard but society gave me the benefit of free education, affordable house prices, jobs paying proper wages, and roads that were quiet enough for cycling.
My children face a very different world with zerohour contracts, tuition fees, sky high house prices and a future blighted by climate change.
I think we need to do something about this. I am passionate about creating a fairer world with less extremes of wealth and privilege.
Living in North Shropshire I have met some amazing community activists. Like the Open House project in Oswestry, the Senior Citizen forum in Market Drayton and the soon to be launched Incredible Edible scheme in Wem.
The tragedy is that they are having to fight against, rather than with the support of, our political system.
The people of Dudleston are taking on Government ministers to keep drilling companies out of their village and got no help from the last MP.
In Oswestry establishing “20s Plenty” has been a painfully slow process and Shropshire Unitary Council is hellbent on blighting the historic Oswestry Hill fort with inappropriate housing.
North Shropshire already has low wages and A+E waiting times below the national target.
We need investment in our health service but instead we are seeing cuts to youth and elderly services and the threatened closure of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Instead of attacks on the poorest by Bedroom taxes and benefit caps, we need the mega-wealthy, for whom there has been no austerity, to contribute more.
The Green Party would kick start a sustainable recovery by building 500,000 new affordable homes; insulting draughty homes; providing free social care; implementing a living wage, increasing renewable energy and ending tuition fees.
Cutting wasteful schemes such as HS2 and the obscenity of spending £100bn on unusable nuclear weapons would help pay for these programmes.
This time there is every reason to vote for the party you really believe in. The Green Party cares for people and has the courage to think that a better world is desirable and possible.
This time you can send an unambiguous message of change to the Westminster elite by electing a Green Party MP for North Shropshire on May 7.
Tom Thornhill (Lib Dem)
Heading up the Liberal Democrat challenge for North Shropshire in May’s General Election is Whitchurch undergraduate Tom Thornhill.
Tom, 20, is in his second year at Birmingham University, studying for a degree in International Relations.
Tom said: “I have always supported the Liberal Democrats – their values most suit mine.
“I am keen to support those less fortunate than myself, building a society which is a bit more fair, not favouring those at the top quite so much.
“I am looking forward to speaking up for the North Shropshire that I know.”
Tom faces a tough challenge in unseating Owen Paterson, but said: “Mr Paterson has spent the last four years as a Cabinet Minister and I feel he is too London-based and too career based. I would be a local voice and if elected."
Tom strongly believes in support for lower and middle earners, adding: “Lib Dems have done a lot of work on this and raised the threshold at which this group starts paying income tax, which will help lots of families in North Shropshire.
“Support for rural areas often gets ignored in London and it is important to create jobs and apprenticeships here and encourage growth to enable us to invest in schools and infrastructure."
Tom has been knocking on doors, distributing literature and making telephone calls as the election campaign gets under way, and he plans to visit a different town each week in the constituency.
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald