SOUTHEND West will go to the polls on February 3, following last year's tragic killing of MP Sir David Amess.

Nine candidates are on the ballot. Labour, the Lib Dems and the Green Party will not be standing, as part of a convention that they do not oppose candidates from the sitting party if an MP is killed.

But eight more have chosen to put their names forward, alongside Conservative Anna Firth.

These are the candidates and their own words as to why they are standing.

Anna Firth (Conservative Party)

Echo: Anna FirthAnna Firth

"I want to pay tribute to the work that Sir David Amess did as the Member of Parliament for Southend West. 

He secured almost £10 million for the Cherry Tree Wing at Southend Hospital. He passed the Warm Homes Bill to tackle fuel poverty. And it’s that legacy that I want to build on. 

I was born in Leigh-on-Sea and four generations of my family have lived here. I know the issues we face and as your MP I will work to make Southend the best city in the country. 

I’ll work with government to attract more investment, create more jobs and help us to recover from the pandemic. I will bid to make us the City of Culture to help bring those opportunities. 

I want to ease congestion and will work with local leaders to upgrade the A127.  Making commuting easier and Southend more attractive to visitors and tourists.

From speaking to residents I’ve heard your concerns about tackling crime. I have raised these with the Home Secretary and I will work to make Southend safer by securing more police officers.

On Thursday 3rd February vote Conservative, vote for Anna Firth who will always put Southend West first."

Jason Pilley (Psychedelic Party)

Echo: Jason PilleyJason Pilley

"When bureaucrats made the inexcusable decision to harm our town by proposing to "downgrade" our hospital, leaving us without an A&E, Sir David Amess stepped up and played a decisive role in stopping that travesty. It will be important for his successor to similarly draw certain lines around our health services that cannot be crossed, regardless of how much money might supposedly be saved.

Personally, I would also tackle the ongoing rise in violent crime by ending the absurd and unwinnable “War on Drugs.” Even if you believe it was right to use the resources of the state to criminalise and crush the peace-and-love hippies, it hasn’t worked because prohibition never works.

Over the last few decades our cannabis laws have funnelled untold billions of pounds to drug gangs, and cannabis is everywhere. I would take those billions as tax revenue instead, and stop having our police chase after people growing the wrong flowers or consuming the wrong mushrooms. Canada has legalised cannabis, numerous US states have done this, Germany is about to follow. 

Locally, our air quality also remains a serious issue. Southend Council’s tree-planting endeavours are to be applauded but we would go much further in that direction."

Ben Downton (Heritage Party)

Echo: Ben DowntonBen Downton

"Southend is a place that’s been part of my growing up. It’s very close to my hometown and I’ve spent a lot of my life familiar with this area.

Our national policies will benefit Southend. We are against any more lockdowns which ruined so many businesses and hugely disrupted children’s education with school closures last year. It is abhorrent that the government is now firing 100,000-plus NHS staff who have chosen not to be injected with ‘Covid vaccines’. At a time when Southend Hospital is already short staffed, this is madness. NHS staff deserve better. 

There needs to be a focus on better policing in the local area. Police need to be better supported with a focus on tackling real crime instead of wasting time on policing Covid policies.

Constant roadworks in the area are due to a lack of concern by the government for the area. This needs to be better for the sake of the local community. We want an end to financial irresponsibility and the huge waste of money on things like HS2 - instead the government should invest in public services and lower tax rates where possible. 

Redevelopments to the area should bring opportunities to the local people, sensible homes and provide jobs and services."

Jayda Fransen (Independent)

Echo: Jayda FransenJayda Fransen

"I am standing in the Southend West by-election for Freedom.

The people of Southend deserve better than to be fobbed off, lied to, and controlled.

Even in the wake of an horrific terror attack - despite this constituency being a Tory stronghold, where people have long shown their support for the so-called ‘Conservative’ party - Priti Patel continues to show the people of Southend West utter contempt by failing to secure our borders.

The government scrambled to protect MPs after Sir David Amess’ murder whilst the people of Southend West are left with no such ‘extra security’ against terrorism.

The same people are now being subjected to mandatory vaccines, dehumanising face coverings and endless lockdowns, whilst the tyrants in power host illegal parties.

Southend West doesn’t need another self-serving career politician, who will certainly promise constituents the earth, and deliver very little.
The people of Southend West deserve an honest voice, to speak up for their rights, their freedom and their safety.

Someone who will say NO to forced vaccines, NO to draconian Covid restrictions and NO to unprotected borders.

The good people of Southend deserve their FREEDOM back."

Graham Moore (English Constitution Party)

Echo: Graham MooreGraham Moore

"Southend West has been hit hard during the pandemic and needs a quick recovery. I would help foster entrepreneurialism across the constituency to bring jobs, prosperity, and regeneration to your area and seek any measure that would reduce pointless bureaucracy.

I will petition the government to grant the constituency Freeport status. As a Special Economic Zone, the Freeport model has the potential for massive local economic regeneration.

As your parliamentary representative, I would protect, promote and encourage the neglected local fishing industry. By closely engaging with the local fishing businesses I would ensure these industry’s voices are heard in Westminster and the local civic centre. I also welcome decision-making at the local estuary level to aid those who provide jobs and food for the local community.

I will campaign for all business rates to be used locally and not absorbed by the black hole of HM Treasury. By retaining this revenue locally, the local council could lower council tax and parking rates.

By encouraging parliament to unrepeal the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1914, we could raise money via this method for Essex’s infrastructure.

The Southend Shakedown needs to be promoted throughout England to encourage more tourism to the constituency."

Steve Laws (UKIP)

Echo: Steve LawsSteve Laws

"I'm not a politician. I'm a patriot. 

That is precisely why you should vote for me. No lies, no spin, and no promises I can't keep. 

If you elect me you will get 100% effort and nothing but the truth. I'm laser-focused on local people, local matters and local problems. 

I know what it's like to have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. I've been homeless and I understand the enormous struggle required to get yourself back on track. 

I'm the only candidate who will actually fight for your everyday concerns and isn't afraid to rattle cages to get things done, whether it be dealing with illegal immigration, tribal councillors, our failing social care, or the struggle of getting a council house because they've all been sold. 

I recognise that our high streets and seafronts have been decimated. They need massive investment to match the soon-to-be City status. I know we desperately need to improve transport links. Local start-ups need real help to survive their difficult first year. 

I'm right here, ready to represent you.

This is your home. This is where you live your lives. Please don't give it away to an opportunistic career politician."

Christopher Anderson (Freedom Alliance)

Echo: Christopher AndersonChristopher Anderson

"Although I have a good knowledge of foreign and domestic politics, economics and science, I thought there was no point in voting as it made no difference as I was disenfranchised. 

Covid and the associated tyranny of lockdowns, vaccination mandates and vaccination passports raised its ugly head destroying lives and businesses whilst the government partied. 

As a father I knew that I did not want my daughter, or future generations, growing up under tyranny with freedom a distant memory.

I have a background in microbiology and I could see how good scientists and courageous doctors were silenced. Ironically any medical professionals who rightly criticised the ludicrous official narrative were told to follow "the science". Science is always contentious and science you are not allowed to criticize is propaganda not science. More than ever we need to vote, not for the same old parties, but for a fresh vibrant party with decent people who are actually against the destruction of our lives and want a better future and know how to deliver it. That is where I found the Freedom Alliance Party. I want to fight for the people and businesses of Southend West constituency."

Catherine Blaiklock (The English Democrats)

Echo: Catherine BlaiklockCatherine Blaiklock

I believe that this by-election will be a fight between the incumbent Conservative party and myself, on behalf of the English Democrats whose ballot paper slogan is ‘Protect our borders.’

I am the founder and first leader of The Brexit Party

This by-election is  a referendum on mass and illegal migration. Our population has risen from 50 million to 70 million, almost entirely due to inward migration but the voters have never been given a say on it - now they do.

For 14 years we have listened to Conservative lies about reducing migration and deporting illegal immigrants - just words.

I am an Oxbridge graduate, married to a Jamaican, and I have worked in both big business (finance) and run my own small businesses.  I live in Norfolk. I stood in Great Yarmouth and have seen the devastation caused to that town over the years by unchecked and unvetted immigration.

We are full up especially in the South East. Ordinary working people are priced out of housing, roads are choked, GP lists ever lengthen, deficits increase, services are cut and now rampant inflation is about to start. People are going to die of hyperthermia because of fuel bills and still the Conservatives carry on with ridiculous green energy policies.

It’s time to vote this hopeless party out.

Olga Childs (Independent)

Although Olga Childs will be on the ballot, she has withdrawn from the election.

She issued a statement this week, which read:

As many have noticed, I have not campaigned in the Southend West by-election, despite having made plans to do so. I thank, and apologise to, those who helped me put forward my nomination, and were prepared to help me canvass and run events. Unfortunately, due to unexpected concerns related to my health, I will not be able to share my message in this campaign. Although it is too late to remove my name from the ballot, I ask that you treat it as if it were never there.