General Election 2017: Ashfield constituency profile

Ashfield is traditionally a Labour stronghold – but its recent history makes it one of the more dramatic and complex constituencies in Nottinghamshire.

Gloria De Piero has been Labour MP here since 2010 – when she won a wafer-thin majority over the Lib Dems off the back of a controversial stint by former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. She later won a much larger majority in 2015 as UKIP appeared to swallow up the previously buoyant Liberal Democrat support in the area.

But recent results in the Local Elections – when Ashfield Independents won several County Council seats, mean the 2017 result is difficult to predict, even if a Labour win is still the bookies favourite.

Result in 2015: LABOUR HOLD – Gloria De Piero
Majority: 8,820
Electorate: 77,049
Turnout: 61.5 per cent

Constituency boundary

Ashfield Constituency boundary. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right (2017)

Questioning the candidates

Bob Charlesworth

Bob Charlesworth – Liberal Democrats 

Why should people vote for you? 
“We’re the only party with a clear view, particularly on education and the National Health Service – on the NHS we’ll put a penny on income tax [to provide more funding].”

What local issue is most important in Ashfield?
“It is a deprived area and we do need to build on our industry. With a hard Brexit which the Conservatives are wishing, that will make life difficult for industry. That’s where UK Plc make their money.”

What has the area most got going for it?
“It’s a lovely area, close to where I live in Eastwood, there’s some glorious countryside. I go out on bike rides and there’s some lovely scenery around here and the people are probably the best there are in the whole of the country – they’re friendly and open.”

Gloria De Piero

Gloria De Piero – Labour

Why should people vote for you?
“I’m always struck by the number of people that say to me ‘you’ve helped my mum, my sister, my neighbour, my daughter’, and that’s what I’m in this for – to help local people, but also they send me to Parliament to fight for them as well and to hold the Government to account and I think that’s really important.”

What local issue is most important in Ashfield?
“Low pay, leaving the European Union, the National Health Service, police cuts and school budget cuts, they’re the things that are most coming up on the doorstep.”

What has the area most got going for it?
“People – the people stand up for themselves and take no nonsense and look out for each other. Ashfield is Ashfield because of its communities and the way we look out for each other.”

Tony Harper

Tony Harper – Conservative

Why should people vote for you?
“I’m standing with Theresa May and Theresa May will give us the best deal for Brexit – but the main factor from a local point of view is I’m the local candidate for Ashfield. I was born and bred here and my father worked down the mines and my uncles and cousins and I’ve got Ashfield flowing through my veins.”

What local issue is most important in Ashfield?
“The main issue for people is Brexit – they feel really strongly about it, they want a leader that’s going to stand up to the other European leaders and not be walked upon. Theresa May will do that. When I speak to people they understand she will get us the best deal.”

What has the area most got going for it?
“I love the people in Ashfield, I really do, I was brought up in a mining community and people tell you as it is. When you go round on the doorsteps people won’t just agree with you if they don’t believe in it they’ll tell you they don’t believe in it and I love it. Bring it on.”

Arran Rangi

Arran Rangi -Green Party

Why should people vote for you?
“I think myself and Green Party offer people something they’ve never been able to vote for before, I’m the first Green candidate but I’m also the first person of colour to run. At the age of 18 I’m also one of the youngest candidates. We oppose fracking and we are opposed to our beautiful green spaces in Ashfield being built on.”

What local issue is most important in Ashfield?
“First and foremost the environment. In recent years the environment has been pushed to the side and it affects not just the constituents of Ashfield but it affects every single person on the planet. I also think young people and the way we’ve been treated and how difficult it is to get on the housing market and a job – this needs to be changed.”

What has the area most got going for it?
“There’s an astroturf on Sutton Lawn – over the past few years I must have been there a hundred times playing football – and it’s the people I and my friends meet there it’s just a really nice kind of social hub of the community.”

Gail Turner

Gail Turner – Independent

Why should people vote for you?
“Because we [Ashfield Independents] are the only people who bring change. We want to put people before politics and we’re not going to be putting our party first – it’s all down to a new way of delivering politics, which is looking at what people need, and trying to make things in Ashfield better.

What local issue is most important in Ashfield?
“I think people are concerned with crime – I was out on the doorstpe yesterday and I was speaking to a lot of elderly people and they are living in their own prison. They are sitting inside behind locked doors because they are frightened and that’s a great shame. We would want to see the abolition of the Police and Crime Commissioner position because we don’t see the value there.”

What has the area most got going for it?
“I like it here, I’ve made it my home here, I’ve lived here for 30 years. I’ve brought my daughter up here, she’s had great opportunities – I’ve been able to bring up my family.”

Ray Young

Ray Young – UKIP

Why should people vote for you?
“This is not a General Election as we see it – this is a second referendum. Mrs May says she wants a greater mandate, a clear mandate from the people and she already has one. People voted to leave the EU and if that’s not enough, what is. UKIP is the only real choice if you believe in Britain.”

What local issue is most important in Ashfield?
“Zero hours contracts, minimum wage, education and housing – Ashfield used to be a hub of industry, if you’d have come in in 1972, you were able to buy anything in Outram Street. Today half the street is empty. We’ve gone from thriving townships to a distribution centre.”

What has the area most got going for it?
“It’s a nice area, the people are good people and we have been betrayed. We’ve been let down by our Governments.”

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