General Election 2017: Gedling constituency profile

Only created in 1983, Gedling constituency has spent much of its recent history as a target seat for both Labour and the Conservatives.

It started out as a Conservative stronghold held by former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell, but this all changed in 1997 when Vernon Coaker achieved a 13 per cent swing for Labour.

He’s maintained the seat ever since – but never by more than a 5,600 vote majority – and has been run relatively close by the Tories in the last two elections.

Covering Arnold, Carlton, Colwick and Netherfield yet also rural Burton Joyce, it includes some of Nottingham’s wealthiest but also poorest areas.

With traditionally red pockets in Arnold, but staunchly blue areas in parts of Gedling village and its rural reaches, the vote here could again be a close call.

Result in 2015: LABOUR HOLD – Vernon Coaker
Majority: 2,986
Electorate: 70,886
Turnout: 68.5 per cent

Constituency boundary

Gedling constituency boundary. Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right (2017).

Questioning the candidates

Vernon Coaker.

Vernon Coaker – Labour

Why should people vote for you?
“I’ve been the MP here for 20 years. During that time I’ve been the local champion, I’ve stood up for local people, I’ve fought for them locally to bring in investment and jobs to Gedling. But, as well as fighting for them locally, I’ve also been a local representative in Parliament. I’ve stood up for Gedling demanding more resources from the Government, trying to stand up for the laws people want changing. I’m that local champion, that local person, and I’m asking for people to have confidence in me once again.”

What local issue is most important to you in Gedling?
“The one that I’ve come across is clearly what I’ve just mentioned. I’m the local candidate and the person who represents the area vs the Tory outsider, someone who doesn’t know the area and has come in. That has resonated right across the doorsteps. Alongside that, of course people are concerned about the cuts there have been to public services, policing, schools and health services. All that has really resonated with people and they’re really pleased to have someone who says it doesn’t have to be like this. We can offer a different future.”

What has the area got most going for it?
“My favourite thing about Gedling is the people and meeting the people and working for them. It’s amazing that when you’ve got the word MP after your name that people have problems getting a proper explanation about tax, or a proper explanation from the authority. When they get that proper explanation they say ‘thanks’ even if sometimes it’s not the answer that they want. It’s [about] standing up for local people, meeting local people and working with local people. That’s the favourite thing about the job that I’ve had the privilege of doing for the last 20 years and hope to have the privilege of doing for the next few years.”

Carolyn Abbott.

Carolyn Abbott – Conservative

Why should people vote for you?
“It’s a Brexit election and I have no doubt all of us want the best deal with Brexit. All I can say is it’s down to who you trust most to get the best deal. I’ve got a proven track record. Secondly, in this area we’ve had 20 years being led by a Labour MP and Labour delivering locally in council. And, when I look around, there’s a lack of investment in this area so I’m personally campaigning to deliver a modern industrial strategy to bring more paid jobs, and better paid jobs, and I will tackle infrastructure and lack of investment and make payment inroads.”

What local issue is most important to you in Gedling?
“The most important local issue for me is the lack of inward investment – the industrial strategy to get better jobs into this area. When I challenged the local Labour party, and Vernon Coaker in particular about what his plan is in terms of investment and modern infrastructure, he hadn’t got any answers to that. I said to young people here there are not very good job opportunities. People locally have to move out of their houses and travel across the constituency to get good jobs. For me, having a modern infrastructure is a necessity and inward investment to create better paid jobs.”

What has the area got most going for it?

“I think the area’s got a good mix of old and young people and I think on the whole most people are optimistic about the future. [We need] more investment to make it a greener and safer place to live and to improve local services – including leisure and entertainment which are both lacking in this area.”

Robert Swift.

Robert Swift – Liberal Democrats

Why should people vote for you?
“I’m offering people what could be their last chance to vote against a job-destroying, hard Brexit. I’m a local candidate, I want to see investment in Gedling and in our infrastructure and public services.”

What local issue is most important to you in Gedling?
“Speaking to people on the doorsteps, it’s a combination of the NHS, investment in schools and also Brexit. Leaving the single market could be disastrous for this country. Often people in Gedling aren’t thinking about the impact of people elsewhere in the country losing their jobs – whether in the banking industry, agriculture or education. The impact of a cliff-edge departure from the single market could have serious consequences for the country as a whole – and that means our public services in Gedling: the NHS, local schools, GPs and all public services affected by the state of the economy.”

What has the area got most going for it?

“I live here, I quite like this park, it’s a quiet place to live, it’s very safe, people are quite welcoming and friendly here. It’s an open and tolerant community.”

Rebecca Connick.

Rebecca Connick – Green Party

Why should people vote for you?
“The Green Party is the only party that has the environment at the centre of policies and they’re going to bring in a Green Air Act which gives us legal rights to breath clean air. There are 40,000 deaths a year due to air pollution so that would get to the root cause of that. Also, Gedling is 36 per cent green belt and the Green Party is absolutely dedicated to protect the green belt by first of all building on brownfield sites.”

What local issue is most important to you in Gedling?

“My background is teaching and, over the last couple of years, I have been increasingly frustrated with decisions that have been made with education and Gedling is going to lose money by 2020 in education worth about £6 million. The Green Party is committed to funding education properly. That would be another good reason to vote for the Green Party.”

What has the area got most going for it?

“A really pleasant place to be in Gedling is Gedling Country Park, it is part of a recent development. There are beautiful views from the top. You can see those green fields and there’s the amazing solar farm with about 35 acres of [solar] panels.”

Lee Walters.

Lee Walters – UKIP

Why should people vote for you?
“I want to help the Government’s feet to the fire to ensure we do get the Brexit people voted for. That means sensible controls on immigration and coming out of the single market of the EU.”

What local issue is most important to you in Gedling?

“We’ve had a lot of talk on the doorsteps about the Government’s foreign aid budget and how money could be better used, for example locally on the NHS. Also [there’s been] a lot of concern about the cuts to the winter fuel allowance and to care homes as well. People could essentially be losing their homes – and yet we’re sending money abroad.”

What has the area got most going for it?

“I like the country park and the nice green spaces – the King George V Playing Field as well. It’s a really nice area.”

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