Conservative chief Amanda Milling joins local election and crime commissioner candidates on the campaign trail in Arnold

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Adam Toms
Adam Tomshttps://pointsmoot.wordpress.com/
Adam has a keen interest in local politics and writes a number of articles for Gedling Eye covering local council activities and political issues affecting the borough.

Local candidates for the upcoming May elections spoke to Gedling Eye reporter Adam Toms while on the campaign trail in Arnold earlier this week about current issues and their plans if elected.

They were joined by Gedling’s constituency MP – Tom Randall – and government minister Amanda Milling, Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Local elections, for ward councillors, regional mayors, and police and crime commissioners, will take place nationwide on 6 May.

The government has urged campaigners to “ensure that all necessary mitigations are applied including the wearing of face coverings, keeping socially distanced at 2 metres, and sanitising hands between visiting different households”

Voters have been asked to bring their own pen or pencil and to wear a face covering whilst practicing social distancing when voting.

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Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner candidate – Caroline Henry

Mrs Henry wants to be elected “to make a difference” and listen to local priorities. “I’ve got the energy and the drive to do that”.

To combat crime in the area, Mrs Henry believes “we need more police out in Gedling” as a lot of resources are used in Nottingham City.

She is also keen to do more “preventative work”. The plan in place at present “is not actually being delivered”.

Mrs Henry believes that she has a clear strategy to tackle county lines drug gangs, activity which represents a large proportion of local illegal activity.

On the topic of the local legal system and race relations, Mrs Henry believes she is well placed to talk about the issue as she is married to a black man.

“He got elected to be an MP in a constituency which is 92% white”. “That really proves that actually racism is not a huge problem in this area”.

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“As a mixed race family” – with mixed race twins – and “having lived in the [United] States, I couldn’t wait to get back in this country”.

“Genuinely, Britain is the best place to live as a diverse family”.

Labour has condemned a recent government report into systemic racism in the U.K. – which concluded that Britain is “not deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities” as “shoddy, point-scoring”.

On a similarly huge issue, Mrs Henry stated that the key to tackling violence against women was education.

“We need to be speaking up about male violence against women”.

Gedling MP Tom Randall, left, talks to our reporter Adam Toms, centre, who joined them on the campaign trail in Arnold

She added that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has told her that Nottingham should be a key part of a “male violence against women and girls strategy”.

Mrs Henry also suggested that the police would be integral to the local economy, ensuring people feel safe both to go out at night and during daylight hours.

Stuart Bestwick – Arnold North candidate

On government support during the pandemic, Mr Bestwick explained how , as“the chair of two local charities”, [he] know[s] that we’ve been helped by.. government grants”

“On the ground its really made a big difference”

The government has already “done a lot to alleviate” the burden of business rates for local shops.

Moreover, if elected, Mr Bestwick stated that he will work with the borough council and landlords in order to decrease their rents.

He wants to be elected on 6 May because “I’ve lived in Arnold North for probably the past 35 of 40 years. My children live here, my grandson goes to the local academy”

“I want to put back something in this community that… brought me up”

As a result of “experience… in business all over the world”, he believes that he has a “unique set of skills that will help [him] to do that”.

On the safety of women, Stuart assured that “if Kevin and I are elected… we’ll obviously do everything we can to facilitate” the education strategy aforementioned by Mrs Henry. 

“I know from personal experience that sometimes the reason people don’t go out in the evening in Arnold” – which, 35 years ago, used to be “a bustling place” at night – “is because they don’t feel safe”.

In addition, although he could not go into detail due to time constraints, Mr Bestwick stated that, in collaboration with local universities, innovative ideas would be adopted to tackle the region’s carbon footprint.

“Micro-green spaces” and “even bus shelters” can have a negative impact on the region’s carbon emissions.

Kevin Doyle – Arnold North candidate

Mr Doyle stated that, as a result of his being a Gedling Borough councillor for four years, he has “really got a taste for local politics and to help the people”.

“Arnold North has been in Labour hands for quite a while. It’s time for a change, we need to be innovative [with] good fiscal management”.

“We need to re-engage the public with conservative views; it’s as simple as that for me”.

When asked about Tuesday’s conviction of Derek Chauvin and how local authorities can tackle racial discrimination, he said that “I’m sure if Derek Chauvin is totally relevant to Gedling”.

“I don’t think the police, in any way shape or form, are racially inadequate”.

“But, of course, there are programs in place… that keep a check on police”.

To get the town centre bustling again post-lockdown, Mr Doyle said he will “increase the bus services… that’s the way to go with the green policies”.

From east to west into Arnold, the bus service is currently “poor”.

This will involve liaising with bus companies and “car users”.

Speaking of cars, in order to reduce emissions, Mr Doyle is urging parents who leave engines running when collecting their children from school to “wear more jumpers, turn the engine off”.

Rt Hon. Amanda Milling MP

The government performed a U-turn on Wednesday, cancelling planned US-style daily press briefings after spending £2.6 million on a purpose-built room. 

Ms Milling stated that recent daily briefings had been an “integral part of day to day life… in the middle of a pandemic”.

The Prime Minister will be continuing to “provide them on a regular basis… [he] did one only yesterday”.

Briefings are especially important at present due to the vaccine rollout.

The question regarded how special tax arrangements made by the PM and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, for the employees of James Dyson.

They were asked to manufacture ventilators during the first wave of COVID-19 in March 2020. 

How fair was this on smaller local businesses without the Boris Johnson’s phone number?

Ms Millings said that, throughout very difficult time for small businesses, “the government provided an unprecedented support”.

On her party’s trademark ‘levelling up’ initiative, Ms Millings added that its point is “local initiatives” which “will help this area bounce back” from the pandemic.

We will also need to “make sure” people shop local as the local area re-opens.

Tom Randall MP

Mr Randall spoke of how his office has fielded “dozens of queries from local businesses”, applying for grants administered by Gedling Borough Council.

He’s “seen first-hand” that businesses have survived thanks to the help on offer. 

The local authority have some “really good proposals” for ‘levelling up’, and he will seek to make sure that local firms receive a “fair share” of investment.

On race relations, Mr Randall believes that everyone has a part to play in creating a fair society, but doesn’t think we should lose sight of the “progress that we’ve… made in this country”.

This is probably one of the best places in Europe… in terms of being an open and tolerant society”, regardless of your race, sexual identity or anything else.

“We should be proud” of the “fantastic strides” we have made as a society over the last 20 to 30 years.

George Floyd’s killing, however, is a reminder that “there’s always more that we could be doing”.

With regards to his climate strategy, Mr Randall said that he is a “big fan” of electric cars and there are plans for more local charging points.

Alongside these issues, of course, was this week’s rise and fall of a proposed European Super League.

One of the Prime Minister’s spokespeople stated on Tuesday that – after his staunch opposition to the ESL – he does not support a football team and does not remember the last time he went to a game.

Mr Bestwick – who was firmly against the ESL – reaffirmed his support of Nottingham Forest, a season ticket holder for 15 years with a seat at the Trent End.

“If anyone wants to come and see me there, they’re more than welcome to do so”.

Mrs Henry, on the other hand, professed her support for Notts County.   

Adam runs a current affairs blog and podcast which can be found HERE 

You can read all our local election coverage from across Gedling borough HERE

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