Election Special: Labour, Gillian Troughton interview

Rachael Grealish: Going back to the beginning, why did you get into politics? And Why the Labour Party?

Gillian Troughton: Having worked in the public sector all my life (first in the NHS and then in Children’s Services), I have seen the effects that policy decisions can have on people’s every day lives – the good and the bad. I believe in equality of opportunity, fairness, and a society that looks out for the most vulnerable.
That is why I got involved in politics, and that is why I chose the Labour Party.
Government for the many, not just the few.

RG: You were the Labour candidate for the Copeland by-election, but you were unsuccessful, why come back for the general election?

GT: A by-election is very different to a general election; people vote in different ways (or not at all) to get a message across.
I was asked to put myself forward again and I have the fight to win. I am privileged to have been selected to represent the place I love and where I live.
I cannot let another Tory Government run down the public services in this area, taking working people for granted and simultaneously raiding the pensions of those who have already contributed.

RG: In the by-election there was a big focus on nuclear, the NHS and education, what issues will you be highlighting and focusing on in the general?

GT: My promises are:
● Health: To keep essential health services in our hospitals and communities and secure good social care.
● Education: To ensure all Copeland schools reach the standards of our best. We cannot have badly run or failing schools letting our children down.
● Nuclear: To secure jobs in the nuclear industry for future generations and ensure our local supply chain benefits from investment in Moorside and the Sellafield site.
● Infrastructure: To deliver major improvements to Copeland’s roads and railway and tackle our rural transport problems. We must also have full superfast broadband and mobile phone coverage.
● Jobs and Skills Training: To invest in education and skills to “grow our own” teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers and construction workers to fill gaps in our workforce.

RG: Brexit is a big issue nationwide, but how would intend to represent your constituency on the Brexit front?

GT: Parliament has voted to accept the outcome of the referendum.
That must be respected. Politicians need to ensure that there are proper negotiations to get the best deal for the economy and jobs.
The Government is pursuing a single-minded, leave everything agenda.
We need to be able to trade effectively with Europe and we need to continue collaborations with European partners.
I, along with my Labour Party colleagues, will continue to work for access to the single market, as well as extending our membership of key partnerships such as Euratom.

RG: Can you comment on the Labour manifesto and what points you’re really in favour of and why?
And if Labour are successful in the election, how do you think implementing the points in the party’s manifesto will affect the people of your constituency?

GT: I think the Labour Manifesto is a fantastic commitment to the ordinary people of this country.
A promise to the many, not just the few.
There are key policy areas which will positively benefit the people of Copeland constituency, and reverse the damage of the previous government:

● Healthcare for All: Investment in the NHS, moving towards a National Care Service and a focus on mental health.
● Towards a National Education Service: a whole life approach giving everyone an opportunity from the early years right through to higher education and investing in skills.
● Nuclear: a clear commitment to support new nuclear; supporting jobs and pensions. And a commitment to Trident renewal as part of a decent defence policy.
● Infrastructure investment: creation of a National Transformation Fund to invest in upgrading our economy.
A fully costed manifesto protecting young and old alike; giving everyone opportunity and support when they most need it.

RG: You were unsuccessful in the county elections and the conservative party took more seats in Copeland, why do you think this is?

GT: There were a number of different factors at play in the county council elections.
Some specific to particular divisions, others reflecting national polling.
And of course some hinged on a handful of votes.
Although obviously hugely disappointed at the loss of some talented councillors, I am pleased to note that across the constituency as a whole the percentages were very slightly better than the by-election.

RG: How would voting for you differ from voting from other parties and how would it benefit the constituency?

GT: Labour is the only party standing up for the lives of ordinary people, and the only party that can implement policies that will make a difference.
We are all fed up of broken promises: on health, education and the economy.
Copeland constituents also deserve an MP who works hard for them: stands up in Parliament and speaks about their issues and fights continuously for them in the committees and debates.
I will not sit on the sidelines but will fight as I always do, for those I represent, ensuring your voice is heard where it matters.
RG: Why do you think the Copeland seat should go back to Labour after such a short time?

GT: Only Labour can fight for people in Copeland.
Only Labour will provide a strong local MP who will stand up for them and give a committed voice to our issues, and get that voice heard right where it matters, in the heart of Westminster.
I will not sit quietly on the sidelines.

RG: How confident are you, in yourself and in your supporters, that you can win this seat? And why?

GT: I am confident that Labour can win in Copeland.
Our manifesto is plain in spelling out how we will address the issues that I hear on the doorstep every day.
Like me voters are fed up of being taken for granted and having promises broken.
They are angry, they want change.
They do not want an MP who will simply follow the whip of a Party, downgrading services and pouring misery on the disabled, poor, or vulnerable.
The Labour Manifesto is a not a wish list, but a fully costed prospectus of what we will do.
Labour in Copeland will always fight for the many not just the few; with me in Parliament we will have a voice to make that happen on the national stage.