Who's running for MP in Dartford at the 2017 general election?
PUBLISHED: 11:37 25 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:37 25 May 2017
Dartford goes to the polls on June 8
With the general election just weeks away, the candidates vying for a seat in Dartford have been revealed.
Following a scramble to get candidates after Theresa May’s shock snap-election announcement last month, all of the country’s major parties have featured a candidate to compete for what is the country’s longest running bellwether seat.
Since 1967, the result in Dartford has reflected the national picture, with Conservative Gareth Johnson taking the seat from Labour’s Howard Stoate in 2010, when the government switched from Labour to a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
The candidates standing in Dartford for the general election on June 8 are:
· Ola Adewunmi (Independent)
A church pastor who volunteers at Kings College London, the father-of-three from Swanscombe is campaigning on “bringing an end” to unemployment and anti-social behaviour around the constituency. He also vows to campaign for a 24-hour bus service and extending the Oyster card to more of the borough’s train stations.
· Simon Beard (Liberal Democrat)
The Riverhead father-of-two is campaigning with a focus on providing extra funding for NHS services and cutting down on local pollution. Registered blind in both eyes, the candidate says he has first hand experience with the NHS, stating “as someone who uses hospital services regularly, you can see there’s a gap in funding that needs filling”.
· Andrew Blatchford (Green Party)
A resident in the town for 15 years, Mr Blatchford joined the Green Party in 2015. He has a keen interest in economics and warns the “problems of the spread of London, infrastructure, housing and transport need to be addressed with a sustainable solution”. He is campaigning to ensure developments in Ebbsfleet Garden City and Paramount Park in Swanscombe will “protect the environment as a priority”.
· Ben Fryer (Ukip)
The former Leigh Academy student has lived in Dartford all of his life, and is campaigning centrally on issues surrounding Brexit and education. The 26-year-old pledges to be “a voice for hardworking families” and believes the area’s grammar schools should be protected and extra investment should be pumped into the borough’s education. The Ukip candidate has also highlighted pollution and transport infrastructure as key campaign topics.
· Gareth Johnson (Conservative)
First elected as Dartford’s MP in 2010, the former Dartford Grammar schoolboy has long campaigned for improvements at the Dartford Crossing and surrounding roads as well as for a Lower Thames Crossing to be placed in Gravesham. Both of these were secured when the government announced its backing for ‘option c’ in April.
· Bachchu Kaini (Labour)
Campaigning with a focus on the NHS, the doctor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich moved to Dartford from Nepal in 2005 as a highly skilled migrant, and is campaigning on a number of issues including protecting the NHS from privatisation, levels of air pollution caused by the Dartford Crossing, and improving rail infrastructure compared to the “very poor” Southeastern services currently serving the borough.
In 2015, Gareth Johnson pulled nearly half of the electorate with 49 per cent of voters backing the Conservatives, comfortably ahead of Labour who finished with 25 per cent of votes.
Behind them were Ukip with 19.9 per cent of votes, with Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the English Democrats falling behind them in ascending order.
In total, 52,418 people turned out to vote, representing 68.4 per cent of constituents.
Stay on our website to find out more about the candidates and for full election build-up.