THE country is going to the polls on Thursday and, in a series of General Election-focused stories, we've asked all candidates vying for votes in south Essex to answer questions on the key election battlegrounds.

Here, we look at Southend West.


Sir David Amess (Conservative)


Although I was raised in the East End of London, I benefitted from an excellent state education and in particular, from my time at St Bonaventure's Grammar School, so I very much support all secondary schools in Southend West which includes the retention of our excellent Grammar Schools.

I appreciate that all parents want the best for their children now, not at the end of a five- or ten-year investment programme.

I have joined with local headteachers to meet the schools minister on two occasions this year to say that schools in our area needed more cash.

Now, the Conservatives have pledged to increase per pupil funding as an absolute priority – up to £5,000 for secondary schools and £4,000 for primary schools – and invest £400 million in education for 16-19 year olds.


We live in a lovely area, but I am all too aware that criminal activity is a big concern for residents.

I recently spoke with the Police and Crime Commissioner and he confirmed that there will be a big increase in local policing in the next 12 months.

Southend has already received 5 new town centre officers and I have lobbied the Home Secretary and Chief Constable to ensure that we receive the highest possible number of officers from the national recruitment drive.

The Conservatives have said that if elected, they will bring forward measures to make sure that people who carry weapons unlawfully are in court within a matter of days.

Whilst new technology is very welcome in detecting crimes, what the general public want is the visibility of those who are charged with enforcing our laws and patrolling our streets. 



Ever since Rochford Hospital closed and we were left with one site in Southend, I have become increasingly concerned about the lack of space for all those who use our hospital services and work there.

I am demanding that management urgently look at this issue. I have also said that I will not support any changes to the delivery of our local health services unless they are clinically led and our Ambulance Service is able to cope with them.

Our hardworking staff do a superb job in all areas of healthcare: in cancer treatment, heart care and the stroke unit, we offer some of the best services in the world.

Nationally, my party will invest an additional £34 billion into the NHS each year and I want Southend Hospital to get its fair share of that money.



Overall, a Conservative Government wants to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

There are a whole range of measures that will achieve that, and there will be a big push to roll out more electric vehicles.

I was very sceptical that a congestion charge would work in London, but to an extent, it has.

Before considering any such measure in the rest of the country, proper analysis would have to be done.

Speeding is a huge issue in Southend, with far too many residents having to complain about rat runs and we shouldn’t have to wait for an accident to happen before traffic calming measures are introduced.

I am not sure that speed reductions on the A13 and A127 would need to be changed from what the existing limits are.

As far as the c2c service is concerned, I share the anger of local residents at its deterioration and I am currently holding the chief executive of Trenitalia to account.

Town centres

In the area of Southend West, that I have represented since 1997, we have small shopping centres but its hub is undoubtedly Leigh where we have a wonderful range of vibrant retail outlets which are independent.

I am pleased that so many people shop locally. As far as Southend Town Centre is concerned, many people would say that it has never been the same since Keddies closed!

The reality is that as a result of online shopping, we have to rethink the way our town centres work.

My party will reduce business rates for retail shops, increase the employment allowance and expand the number of start-up loans.

These measures, along with the increased police presence will make Southend the perfect candidate to achieve city status.


Nina Stimson (Lib Dem) 


Our schools have been starved of cash by the Conservatives – here in Southend West, funding has been cut by over £15million since 2015. 

A Lib Dem government will reverse those cuts with an emergency cash injection next year and higher spending going forward to boost teaching numbers (with measures to attract and retain teachers), plus essential support for children with special educational needs.

Working parents will be offered free childcare between nine months and two years.

Grammar schools will not be expanded in future. Capital funding for new school spaces will be devolved to local authorities.

Our Lib Dem councillors have led the fight for fairer catchment areas and the need to build a new primary school in Leigh.


Nowhere in the country is immune to the growing trend of violent and drug-related crime.

This can be laid squarely at the door of the government. Between March 2010 and March 2018, police forces in England and Wales lost 21,732 officers – a 15% drop, according to Home Office figures.

We will invest £1billion to restore community policing by injecting two new officers into every council ward – that means 18 extra officers in Southend West.

We need better joined-up thinking, so a separate fund will help repair youth services and see police, teachers, health professionals, youth workers and social services work together to prevent at-risk young people falling prey to gangs.


Our NHS is in crisis. We're losing valued doctors and nurses from EU countries, demand is growing, funding has been cut while the Conservatives make misleading claims of more nurses.

Brexit will leave the NHS prey to the American market and giant corporations. We will never sell it off.

The proposed merger of local hospitals continues to cause grave concern because we know the Conservatives will just waste more money on these "transformation" projects. The LibDems will build a joined-up health and care system and treat mental health with the same urgency as physical health.

And unlike other parties, we will raise Income Tax by 1p to raise an additional £7billion a year, just for the NHS and social care.

Town centres

Southend High Street and town centre need a drastic planning rethink. Other shopping areas like Leigh are vibrant and successful – let's follow their lead by encouraging more independent shops, and work with the owners of the Royals and Victoria Centre to make better use of those prime sites.

Enabling more people to live in the central area will help it thrive and 'greening' the High Street with open spaces and trees will make it more welcoming to visitors. 

The LibDems will help businesses here by replacing Business Rates with a Commercial Landowner Levy based on the land value of commercial sites, not their entire capital value.

That will stimulate investment and shift the burden of taxation from tenants to landowners.


Southend Lib Dem Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for Environment and Planning, is already making strides to make Southend a better, cleaner place to live, work and visit.

We are promoting renewable energy, sustainable travel (more charging points for electric vehicles, improved cycle ways) and will freeze peak-time rail fares and season ticket prices.

Air quality is a crucial aspect of this and under Carole 1,000 extra trees will be planted over the next three years, but we must also cut emissions on the A13 and A127 trunk roads.

Both are congestion and pollution hotspots. 

The A127 Economic Growth Corridor initiative needs to take this very seriously in order to alleviate traffic and consequently air pollution issues.


Aston Line (Labour) 


Children, young people and adults can only reach their full potential if we properly fund schools of all kinds, as well as other learning opportunities.

Some 21 out of 22 schools in Southend West are still experiencing annual real-terms budget cuts.

We will upgrade schools that have fallen into disrepair, invest in qualified teachers, and ensure maximum class sizes of 30 for all primary school children.

We will also fund more non-contact time for teachers to prepare and plan.

Labour’s National Education Service will promote learning and skills development; while providing proper support for pupils with special educational needs.

We will restore funding to all ages and all needs, including early years, special educational needs and disabilities, and post-16.


The Conservative cuts to policing were both short-sighted and reckless.

Labour will restore police numbers to above the levels cut since 2010, re-establishing neighbourhood policing so that we can combat rising knife and drug crime in South Essex.

Alongside that, we will tackle the social roots of crime by addressing poverty, lack of opportunity, and addiction.

We will extend youth services and strengthen educational support to bring hope to young people and to prevent anti-social behaviour.

Labour will support the police working collaboratively with youth workers, mental health services, schools, drug rehabilitation programmes and other public agencies.

For police work to be effective, we must ensure that police are supported in working collaboratively with the whole community.


As a member of Save Southend NHS, I understand how important the NHS is to people here.

A Labour Government will keep our NHS comprehensive, universal, and free at the point of delivery.

Labour will end and reverse privatisation in the NHS, relieve pressure on our overstretched A&E departments, and provide earlier diagnosis and improved screening rates for stroke, heart disease and cancer.

Following the merger local people are concerned about the impact on care, and having to travel further when they need hospital treatment.

Increasing collaboration across health and care providers is essential to meeting complex needs effectively.  

Labour will better connect primary care, mental health and social care, to ensure nobody falls into the gaps that currently exist.


Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution is the only chance we have to address the critical environmental issues we face, including air pollution.

As your MP I will work with Southend Council to enable transport providers, businesses, and households to become more energy efficient and sustainable.

Amongst other things, this means reliable, affordable public transport, and more charging points for electric cars.  

Southend Airport is an asset to business and potential investors, however, I am opposed to further expansion due to environmental impact.

Basildon and Essex councils will reduce speed limits to avoid introducing a congestion charge, a plan suggested by central government.

Once both roads enter Southend West, the speed limits are already lower than they are west of here. 

Town centres

As a proud member of the Leigh-on-Sea Independent Trader’s Association, and a local business manager myself, I have the expertise to support enterprises which will invigorate Southend West.

As your MP I will continue to work to keep our high streets thriving.

Labour will invest to transform libraries, museums and galleries, and provide advice on how to launch, manage and grow a business.

I will dedicate myself to encouraging new business start-ups.

A £10 minimum wage will create new customers for local businesses, and there will be help for small businesses to manage the cost.

Labour will review business rates, and loans will be available to enable bottom-up transformative changes by start-ups, small businesses, local co-operatives and community projects.

The Echo did not ask a formal question on Brexit, but Mr Line submitted this for inclusion:

This election is not just about Brexit, but as a local business manager, the damage of a bad Brexit deal is unimaginable to me.

It would slash workers', consumers' and environmental rights; leaving us at the mercy of President Trump.

The Conservatives want a devastating hard-Brexit on either Johnson’s deal that completely undermines the Good Friday Agreement, or no deal at all.

The Liberal Democrats want to pretend that the 2016 referendum never happened by undemocratically revoking Article 50. It’s time to take Brexit out of the hands of politicians.

Within three months of government, Labour will negotiate a better deal, then within six months we would put that deal, alongside remain, back to the people for a final say.


Joseph 77 (Independent) 


I would create a link between the education system and the job market. Identify what careers are available in the local community firstly.

Emphasise opportunities for special needs where local or national agencies can help and offer direction of travel where such needs can gain equal opportunity.

Grammar education given equal access to disadvantaged children, either culturally or by geographic limitations. Education funding by raised to support poorly funded schools in the local community.

An annual Open Day where all schools join together to display their objectives and achievements. 


Without delay restore the funding taken from the youth clubs which formerly acted as a link between education and the workforce.

This vacuum is the main cause for the increase in violent crime among young people whom have lost a vital support system from devoted youth workers whom care passionately about the future of young people.

Such persons are left bereft of all support having to face the world after the education system in which they may not have done well.

This shows how education alone is not enough to help teenagers to progress in life whom may be enduring poor home life or circle of friends who lean towards gang culture.


Create a Before and After programme. Encourage personal welfare in keeping fit and healthy through active sport or pastimes. Also advise on healthy eating, advise against home deliveries which only reduce activity.

A positive personal health programme linked to social care. Visiting the elderly. Keeping gardens or decorating jobs for people whom cannot do so for themselves.

Link personal health care to social activity to benefit the community. If mergers in the health authorities are to take place ensure this should lead to more improved health care and not increase the cost of health care.

Such saving should be carefully monitored to ensure savings are directed to support the vulnerable parts of the NHS locally and nationwide.


Increase public transport between towns within a ten mile radius to make fast and affordable movement. Say a fixed tariff for the week.

Maintain free transport for the elderly and schoolchildren.

Impose a max 30mph speed limit on the A13 from Shoeburyness to Basildon, reducing even further near schools or shopping areas. A127 traffic flows quite well here, but 30mph from Eastwood to Southend.

Plant trees alongside all roads where suitable as not to infringe on vision.

Town Centres

Impose a Congestion Charge on a sliding scale. Fixed amount of £1 per day any amount of visit to Town Centre by car.

Pay £1 per day for use of public transport. Offer Special Buyers Day equal to internet shopping. Close all outer Town shopping areas at least one day a week to encourage trade in town centres.

This will reduce carbon emission. Taxis can offer special rates on such dates to help reduce use of cars and link with public transport to get people home.

Reduce rates on businesses in town centres and for start up businesses no rates from one year to three years to help establish businesses.