This is what Harrogate politicians think of General Election at Christmas

When Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones voted on Tuesday night along with 437 other MPs to support a General Election on December 12, it put a full stop on more than two turbulent years where a clear path to Brexit has proved impossible to find.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:20 am
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones pictured at Westminster in 2010, the year he first won he seat.

Mr Jones will now attempt to win the seat for the fourth time in a row in the face of opposition from local Lib Dems, Labour and the Green Party.

Speaking to the Harrogate Advertiser today, Wednesday, Mr Jones said the priority was to break the Brexit impasse and get the country back to normal.

He said: “I will be standing on my local record and getting Brexit moving.

Judith Rogerson, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate pictured on Harrogate's Stray.

“The oxygen of everything is being sucked into the black hole of Brexit.

“This Government was unable to get on with the Queen’s Speech or its spending review.

"We can't progress anything in this situation.

"My politics have always been about three things: partnerships, communities and solutions.

"I hope constituents will recognise I have been a champions for local causes."

For Mr Jones, the date of the election may be unusual but it could not have come a day sooner.

He said: "Having an election in December is a big change. We've just got to embrace it and get on with it.

"The country is fed up to its back teeth of delay and doing nothing.

"It wants to get back to normal. It wants us to concentrate on all the other issues that matter."

Although a supporter of the current Prime Minister's Brexit deal, as a politician who sees himself as a 'one nation' Tory, Mr Jones said he was delighted by Boris Johnson's decision to restore the whip to ten of the 21 Tory MPs who voted against his Brexit deal last month.

He said: “I’ve found the rancour and division of politics caused by Brexit very difficult.

"I am extremely happy to see ten of the 'rebels' MPs back in the fold.

"I went to Downing Street at the time and made representations to the Prime Minister to have them readmitted.

"I am extremely happy this has now happened.

"It was good that MPs who would be saying goodbye were treated so well in the Commons today.

"For example, Ken Clarke's record of service to the country and the Conservative Party has been absolutely magnificent.

"When he first entered the House of Commons in 1970, I was only six years old."

Mr Jones's main opponent come the election on December 12 is likely to be Judith Rogerson, Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.

She told the Harrogate Advertiser she was confident voters would embrace her party's clear stance against Brexit which, she said, would be devastating for the economy.

She said she would fight to undo local spending cuts in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The Stray has been handed back to Harrogate council from Yorkshire 2019Judith Rogerson said: "I will be campaigning to stop Brexit because of the devastating impact it will have on the local community in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

"Whilst I don’t take any votes for granted, I am going into this election feeling very positive about the chances of becoming the MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough before Christmas.

"Over recent months support for the Lib Dems has grown significantly at a local and national level, something that we saw with the European Election results earlier this year when we finished well ahead of the Conservatives and Labour.

"I have talked to lots of voters on the doorsteps since the summer and it is clear that they are switching from other parties in big numbers to support the Lib Dems at this election."

The Lib Dem welcomed the General Election, saying it was the only way to stop Brexit.

She said: "The Lib Dems have campaigned for a public vote on the Brexit deal for more than three years and have been very clear that we want to remain in the EU.

"After 19 Labour MPs voted for Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement last week it became clear that there are not sufficient numbers in this Parliament who support a People’s Vote. "The Lib Dems, therefore, concluded that the best chance we have to stop Brexit is to hold a General Election and give the public the opportunity to elect more MPs who will support stopping Brexit."

Judith Rogerson said there was no way that Brexit would not still be the dominant issue at the General Election.

She said: "There’s no question that this election will be dominated by Brexit. I will be campaigning to stop Brexit because of the devastating impact it will have on the local community in Harrogate & Knaresborough.

"If we leave the EU, with or without a deal, it will damage our economy meaning that there will be less money available for our local public services.

"Funding of our local schools, NHS services and the police are issues that residents raise with me on a daily basis.

"I’ll be campaigning to undo the damage that has been done to our local public services because of Conservative cuts.

"I am sure voters will want to hear about what we can do locally to protect the environment, a topic that is closely linked to issues like the level of new housing developments, traffic congestion and public transport.

"We’ll also be talking a lot about what we should do to revive and protect our town centres."