Gazette: Election 2015 header

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Priti Patel - Conservative
Priti Patel has enjoyed a meteoric rise since becoming the Tory’s first female Asian MP in 2010. The 43-year-old Londoner joined the No10 policy unit in 2013 and a year later took her first front-bench role as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury. She is widely tipped to be given a Cabinet job if the Tories form a government after the election. On local issues, she has campaigned for more funding for road and rail networks and has been a vocal proponent of dualling the A120. She has also called for further investment in the A12. Ms Patel was closely involved in the successful campaign by parents to block the merger between Witham’s Maltings Academy and New Rickstones Academy earlier this year. She is also a board member of Witham Town Football Club where she recently celebrated the award of £10,000 of council funding for a new pitch.
Garry Cockrill - UKIP
Garry Cockrill lives in Hatfield Peverel where he serves as a parish councillor. He was previously the south Essex chairman for Ukip before moving to the village and has worked on numerous Ukip campaigns in the county. The former IT systems engineer now works as a driver for Essex County Council’s Community Link service. The 51-year-old stood for the party in Southend West at the 2010 General Election, winning 3.9 per cent of the vote. In line with national Ukip policies, Mr Cockrill wants to take the UK out of the European Union and put tighter controls on immigration. He has also called for reduced tuition fees for students studying science, medicine, technology, engineering and maths, on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees.
James Abbott - Green
James Abbott has served as a Braintree district councillor for Bradwell, Silver End and Rivenhall, since 1999. In 2013 he was elected to Essex County Council for Witham Northern as one of just two Greens at County Hall. Mr Abbott lives in Silver End and runs a small gardening company. He has campaigned against the expansion of Stansted airport and plans for an incinerator in his constituency. He has also opposed large housing developments in the area, calling for brownfield sites to be used before green areas. The keen astronomer has stood in numerous European elections and in every general election since 1992. He says if he is elected he will focus on local issues such as development and strategic infrastructure for Witham. He does not believe the A12 should be turned into a motorway but is keen to see improvements to public transport, including the long-awaited Cressing Loop.
Jo Hayes - Lib Dem
Jo Hayes has been a councillor for Castle Ward in Colchester since 2012. The practising barrister says she is proud of the fact she is not a career politician and has made her living outside politics. Mrs Hayes was born in Essex and educated at local state schools, Oxford and Yale Universities. As a councillor, Mrs Hayes hit the headlines last year when she handed over £20,000 to Colchester council after losing a planning row which she had taken all the way to the Court of Appeal. She had fought a two-year legal battle to stop an 85-bed Premier Inn being built in St Peter’s Street, Colchester. Mrs Hayes is backing the Liberal Democrat’s manifesto plans for five new laws for a greener Britain, including a nature bill, a heating and energy efficiency bill, zero waste and zero carbon Britain bills, and a green transport bill.
John Clarke - Labour
Salford-born John Clarke joined the Labour party in 2011 and this is his first attempt to win a seat in the House of Commons. Mr Clarke is the chairman of Black Notley Parish Council and has lived in the constituency for the last 25 years. He is the vice chairman of the Witham branch of the Labour Party and a governor at White Notley Primary School. His background is in education, having worked as a secondary school maths teacher for 25 years, teaching at Felsted School and at schools in Thurrock and North London. He is now a senior lecturer at the University of East London where he trains maths teachers. Mr Clarke was also a part time officer in the Volunteer Reserve armed forces for 16 years and has represented Team GB in duathlon. He has run more than 30 marathons, completing the London Marathon five times.
Gazette: Doreen Scrimshaw
Doreen Scrimshaw - Christian People's Party
Doreen Scrimshaw, Christian People’s Party. Doreen Scrimshaw’s husband Ken is also standing for the party in Colchester.