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South Holland and the Deepings candidates answer your questions

We have put your questions to candidates who are hoping to become the next MP for the South Holland and Deepings.

Martin Blake (Green), Sir John Hayes (Con), Davina Kirby (Lib Dem), Mark Popple (Lab) and Rick Stringer (Ind) are vying for your votes when the area goes to the polls on Thursday, December 12.

We will be posing a number of questions sent in by our readers over the coming weeks to the five candidates.

General Election 2019 (22300102)
General Election 2019 (22300102)

The first question we have put forward to candidates has come from Craig Jackson.

He has asked: “Do you believe that ‘Free Movement of People’ should come to an end and how should immigration be controlled in the future?”

We are running the candidate's responses alphabetically.

Mr Blake’s response is: “Freedom of Movement within the EU has enabled millions of Britons to live, love, learn and work in other parts of Europe.

"In the UK, significant parts of our economy, including agriculture and food processing, and health and social care, are now heavily dependent on workers from other EU countries.

"The departure since the 2016 referendum of many European doctors and nurses is one of the reasons for the NHS staffing crisis. However, only about one-fifth of migration into the UK today is from other parts of the EU, and the causes of migration from further afield are many and varied, including war, poverty, and drought and flooding as a result of climate change.

"The number of people trying to reach Europe as a result of these factors will increase without a determined international effort to tackle them at source.”

The next response comes from Sir John.

He said: “Yes. A sovereign, independent nation must have total control of its own borders.

"Once free movement has ended, immigration should be reduced, and I agree with local people when they tell me that those who come here should be encouraged to learn the English language and must respect the rule of law.

"Boris Johnson will introduce an Australian-style ‘points based system,’ which means the only workers that would be permitted to come to Britain would be those with the skills our country needs.

"Conservatives have stopped illegal immigrants from accessing public services like our NHS and housing and tackled the cruelty of human trafficking."

The next response comes from Mrs Kirby.

She said: "Polling suggests that more than two thirds of British people are in favour of EU free movement.

"Freedom of movement within the EU has many benefits for ordinary British people. We are free to live, study, work, marry, receive pensions etc in 27 EU countries.

"We have reciprocal emergency health care, no roaming charges on mobile phones and so many other benefits.

"We already have full control of non-EU immigration accounting for 82 per cent of total immigration.

"Currently many employers can’t recruit workers they need, leaving for example the NHS short of nurses, doctors and support staff.

"We will take immigration away from the Home Office so that Visa and asylum decisions are made quickly and fairly.

"Under our policy UK employers will be able to recruit the workers they need.

"In South Holland and the Deepings you need migrant workers now to help with food production and processing."

The next response is from Mr Popple.

He said: “I recognise the huge benefits of free movement to our country and our area.

"Many British citizens have benefited from free movement, which has given them the opportunity to study, work or retire abroad.

"Likewise our public services and our industries here have benefited from skilled workers coming here.

"On leaving the EU freedom of movement would be subject to negotiations, and a Labour government will establish a humane immigration system and end the ‘hostile environment’ that caused the Windrush scandal.

"Instead, the new system will be built on human rights and aimed at meeting the skills and labour shortages that exist in our economy and public services.”

The final response is from Mr Stringer.

He said: “I do believe the ‘Free Movement of People’ should come end as in a number of areas our infrastructure is under unsustainable pressure.

"The points based immigration system is being introduced and we will see how it pans out

"Can we rely on the Conservativesto deliver on this and get numbers down? Well they haven’t managed to get downto the 100,000 figure on the immigration they could control. Which was migrants from outside the EU.

"I won’t be holding my breath...”

We will be publishing the responses to a second question in the Lincolnshire Free Press.

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