Campaign Notebook catches up with Louise Baldock, our Labour & Co-operative candidate for Stockton South…
Why do you want to be the MP for Stockton South?
Having spent most of my life living and working here, it is an area I am passionate about. In a miserable echo of the 80s I have watched my community suffer under a Tory-lead Government with youth unemployment far too high while many of their parents are in low paid, insecure jobs. The bedroom tax has punished hundreds of local families, many of them disabled while food banks and charities are feeding our hungry children. I can’t sit idly by but want to lead the fight for a fairer more equitable country.
What do you like about Stockton South constituency?
It is a really varied place, a microcosm of the wider country. People from all types of backgrounds living in old and new communities, where heritage and history meets the 21st century; rural, urban and suburban with beautiful award winning parks and lovely countryside and of course the people are absolutely great.
What is the number one issue on the doorstep?
The NHS is certainly raised a lot, particularly GP waiting times. In parts of the constituency patients can wait three weeks to see their Doctor. People were raising this with me 2 years ago well before Labour’s pledge to bring back the 48 hour guarantee so it has been great to have a solution to offer.
What is the key to a successful campaign?
For me nothing will ever beat knocking on doors, talking with people about the things that matter to them and building relationships. If you can offer good policy solutions to the issues that people raise and show you have been listening then you can win their support. Never take the electorate for granted, never stop listening and never stop putting them first.
Who is your political hero?
I admire strong, doughty fighters like Ellen Wilkinson, Bessie Braddock, Barbara Castle and Mo Mowlam; women who were never frightened to speak out for their communities or challenge the status quo. They were indefatigable and passionate, fighting injustice, inequality and poverty of opportunity, taking up vital causes and making them their own, always leading from the front. They have inspired generations of ordinary women like me to strive for a better world rather than accept for our communities the crumbs from the table.