PRESTWICH Walk-In Centre looks set to be a deciding issue in the Bury South constituency ahead of the General Election.
The Conservatives’ Robert Largan, Liberal Democrat’s Andrew Page, UKIP’s Ian Henderson and Independent Peter Wright will challenge Ivan Lewis on June 8 for Bury South, who is standing again after winning the seat for Labour in the 2015 General Election.
Bury South includes the wards of Besses, Holyrood, Pilkington Park, Radcliffe East, Radcliffe North, Radcliffe West, St Mary’s, Sedgley, and Unsworth.
Mr Lewis said he will continue to fight the closure of Prestwich Walk-In Centre and work to tackle homelessness if he retains his seat.
He said: “I have had the honour of serving as the local MP for the past 20 years in the constituency where I was born, raised and have lived all my life.
“In that time I have helped to deliver major investment locally. A new health centre in Radcliffe was built together with a new walk-in centre in Prestwich.
“Whitefield Police Station received a major refurbishment and a new station in Radcliffe was opened.
“After seven long years of Tory cuts I am fighting the proposed closure of Prestwich Walk-In Centre, local police stations have shut and local schools are being forced to cut teachers and support staff. The Tories have slashed £100 million from the local council budget, forcing vital services such as libraries to close as the council struggles to meet the rising cost of social care.
“My local pledges include to support the regeneration of our local town centres.
“Fight the closure of Prestwich Walk-In Centre and campaign for fair funding from the government for the NHS, schools and colleges. Work to end the 21st century scandal of people living and sleeping on our streets and continue to provide a full-time constituency information, advice and advocacy service.
“In these difficult times you know you can count on me as your MP to stand up for local people and be the strongest voice for our community against the Tories in London.”
Mr Largan, from Whitefield, has stepped down from his role as a Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough councillor to focus on making residents’ voices heard.
He also said if elected he would focus on urging Bury Clinical Commissioning Group to reconsider its decision to close Prestwich Walk-in Centre.
He said: “I live in Whitefield, where I grew up. I went to my local comprehensive, Philips High, and did my A-levels at Holy Cross.
“Growing up, I played rugby at Sedgley Park and cricket at Stand. My first job was at Asda Radcliffe to help pay for my studies at Manchester University.
“I love this area and I am standing in this election because I want to do what I can to help make this an even better place to live.
“If elected, I pledge to be as open and accessible as possible, holding weekly help and advice surgeries and to have a constituency office open to residents. I will work hard to represent all of the constituency.
“This election comes down to a simple choice between me as Theresa May’s local Conservative candidate or Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Every vote for the Conservative Party will help strengthen Theresa May’s hand in Brexit negotiations. We need to secure strong and stable leadership so we can keep a strong economy and protect local jobs and properly fund our public services.”
Mr Page added: “This is an election like no other in my lifetime. The Prime Minister has called an election she said she wouldn’t, in order to obtain a mandate she already has for an action she claimed she doesn’t agree with.
“A vote for the Liberal Democrats is one to ensure the government puts the final deal following EU negotiations to the British people.
“However, this election isn’t just about Brexit. It’s about electing an MP for Bury South.
“I’m not your normal politician. Twenty years ago I was street homeless. I know what deprivation and poverty feel like. Since then. I’ve worked in NHS mental health services where I was also a UNISON representative. I’ve been an active campaigner for NHS services and also worked for the Salvation Army Homeless Service, helping others turn their lives around. If you want someone with experience of representing people, then vote for me. If you want an MP with real life experience rather than a career politician, vote for me. “