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Metroland meets the PM Rishi Sunak!

Metroland meets the PM Rishi Sunak!

On the 22nd May 2024 in the pouring rain, our PM Rishi Sunak announced he had permission from King Charles III to dissolve parliament and there would be a General Election on the 4th July! The nation was surprised as initially we thought this would come in the Autumn. The party machine cogs started turning furiously, and candidates were immediately thrust forward to vie for those much contested seats.

Last Monday 27th we were invited down to The Meadow, home of Chesham United FC (recent winners of the Southern League Premier South) to meet local Conservative candidate Gareth Williams whose son was playing in a local youth training session there. He brought with him a special guest, PM Rishi Sunak. The club has received some negativity over this, with numerous people taking to social media to vent, but they should know that Gareth is a huge supporter of the club and grassroots football. Sport and politics do not go hand in hand, but I secretly think Rishi wanted to take a peak at the huge trophy on display there which also has his team Southampton FC engraved upon it.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Gareth and Rishi and ask a couple of questions. TBH we didn’t have much time to prepare and yes, we know we could have asked different questions but we were on the hop! This image is actually Rishi listening to our questions.

Metroland meets the PM

R: Delighted to be here supporting Gareth in his campaign and talking about election choices, working through a clear plan with bold actions as you have seen with with announcement of National Service which is how we want to give everyone a secure feature everywhere across the country not just here in Chesham & Amersham.

G: With Chesham being promoted I asked permission to come and visit, big football fan as you know.

R: Really nice to congratulate everyone here on their recent success and I have seen a huge piece of silverware which thankfully Southampton are on but from the 1920’s.

M: How will you address the lack of accessibility and sustainability in our high streets and surrounding areas? Do you have a plan to reduce carbon footprint? Do you support the new Green Deal?

G: We are a very hilly topography here in the Chilterns which makes it quite tricky. Whilst it is not part of our manifesto we are looking at what is being done locally with the council.

M: Interjects with how a lot can be done by local businesses that does need huge investment to make things easier in the high street and shops.

G: It is a balance due to history with our cobbled highways etc, but the pedestrianisation has certainly helped.

M: How do you plan to engage with and represent the diverse opinions and needs of your constituents?

R: It has been really good talking to families here today, and what people want is exactly what Gareth is delivering here. He is local and he is a champion of local schools (we both understand the power that education has to transform young peoples lives). People here care about this incredibly beautiful place which is why it is right Gareth is focussed on protecting the chalk stream and investment in waterworks. Our national policy on the green belt which is critical in areas like this, where of course people want housing development, but houses in the right area in a sustainable way which does not damage our precious countryside. People welcome the changes where we are not imposing top down targets in this area. The Liberal Democrats are propping up the Labour party proposing top down planning targets and concrete over the green belt (that is no secret). The choice here is clear, a vote for anyone but Gareth is a vote for concreting over previous green belt in Chesham and Amersham.

G: The 20% vat increase on schools will have a huge effect on this area (my kids go to 2 state schools) but the impact it will have on children having to leave, knocking on the doors of state schools trying to get their children in will lead to a hugely reduced capacity available. In terms of the diversity, we have a rich and vibrant community locally, and we do effectively represent the local community with an equally diverse local council.

M: Slightly controversial but I (Tina, Editor) believe that the Conservatives lost their seat in 2021 due to presenting a candidate who local residents had little knowledge or visibility of. Your choice in 2021 was slightly complacent as this area historically is a Tory stronghold. Do you think Gareth can beat Sarah?

G: We are going to win this, we have been campaigning for 2 years non-stop. I am out every day and we have spoken to tens of thousands of people. It is also that track record of delivery, and I would say to our community when you are getting campaign leaflets through your door keep the word delivery in mind, set the contrast there. What are the candidates doing for the local area?

R: Gareth is working his socks off for the local community which is loud and clear. He is working very hard, the community know him. He brings a wealth of experience and is making sure the schools are fantastic, the beautiful green spaces are protected and the community is safe.

And that was it, time up on our brief interview with our PM and local candidate Gareth Williams, we did our best to ask questions that were applicable to both local and national readers.

We are in the process of putting together a special version of Metroland which we hope to have live for you by Friday 7th June! We’ve interviewed our local candidates with 16 questions and compiled all their responses! If you’re finding the overwhelming stream of campaign material a bit perplexing, we believe having all the candidates’ answers in one spot will assist you in making an informed decision on who to vote for!

We hope this Special Edition serves as a valuable resource as you navigate the complexities of the election season.

BTW we have no political allegiance so more than happy to attend any other party press events!

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