We ask the parliamentary hopefuls for South Holland and the Deepings to say why you should put your X against their name in the General Election later today (Thursday).
This election is about who speaks for you in Parliament. As MP for South Holland and the Deepings for 20 years, I have had the opportunity to support countless good causes and take up around 30,000 cases on behalf of local people. Living locally, my wife, sons and I use the same schools, doctors, roads and shops as those whose votes I seek, so we understand what is best about our area and what people want to see improved.
For me, politics is about changing lives by changing life chances, so building stronger communities in a stronger nation. Our identity is framed by the places in which we live and informed by chances to enhance them through the difference we make to others. If this sounds idealistic, so be it, because I reject the dull, lowest common denominator of uninspiring politics. Belief in positive politics means I will always focus my campaign on issues that matter to local people and be guided by the timeless values of dedication and duty.
My greatest joy springs from my work as a constituency MP, but having been privileged to serve in Government, perhaps my proudest achievement is to have devised and delivered the policy that rejuvenated apprenticeships, with the largest number ever making a difference now to so many people.
This election is also about who governs Britain – in essence, who leads us though the challenging times ahead as we negotiate Britain’s future outside the EU. No political party enjoys a monopoly of wisdom and all Governments do some things better than others, but I am certain that Theresa May is by far the best Party Leader to champion our national well-being. Many of you tell me that you believe that none of the others is “up to the job” but the prospect of Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister is worst of all. He represents the worst kind of left-wing doctrine, which makes most Labour moderates despair. Having divided his party, given the chance, he would do the same damage to Britain. Voters at this election face a clear choice: steadfast leadership from Theresa May, or Mr Corbyn’s dreadful dogma.
I campaigned for Brexit, but, whichever way we voted in the referendum, the priority now must be to negotiate our departure from the EU in Britain’s best interests. Every Conservative vote will count to strengthen Theresa May’s hand in fighting for our national interest and the common good.