VOTE 2010: Ask the candidates part two

HERALD readers were invited to send in their questions for parliamentary candidates to answer in print.

The first two questions and responses were published on Thursday, April 22.

Alex Avery, of Brookbarn Way, Worthing, asked: "I recently contacted my MP regarding the Digital Economy Bill (taking mass action against individual's internet use) that was successfully rushed through Parliament.

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As the elected representative, what guarantees can you give you will live up to your role of representing people in your local area?"

Shawn Mills, of Paxmead Crescent. Worthing, asked: "The cost of parking, the extortionate fines and the lack of non-NCP run parking facilities have contributed to the council's failure to provide decent parking in Worthing.

How do you propose to create a system which works for the people of this town and not just for lining the pockets of NCP?"

East Worthing and Shoreham

Emily Benn (Labour)

As an MP it would be my job to represent and stand up for all my constituents '“ whether they voted for me or not, and I take this responsibility extremely seriously.

Any matter raised with me would be dealt with as quickly and thoroughly as possible, making any representations necessary.

I would hold regular surgeries across the constituency, be accessible and open. I would do all I could to continue to meet with individuals, groups and associations and stand up for their interests in Parliament and to government.

I'd be there to serve you '“ as the sole employee of over 60,000 constituent employers.

The council should take car parking back into their control as soon as possible.

The council has received millions from the parking contract.

Using part of this revenue, we should negotiate to reduce the cost of town centre parking '“ which is damaging the commercial viability of town centre businesses.

The car parks are empty in the evening while the roadsides are full.

The revenues from evening parking should be investigated and negotiations opened to make town centre car parks free in the evenings.

James Doyle (Liberal Democrat)

The Digital Economy Bill was a rushed job, which does nothing to achieve the aims it sets out for, and potentially penalises innocent people '“ a bit like crushing someone's car because it was stolen and used in a ramraid '“ and Tim Loughton didn't even vote on it.

We live in a new era of technology, and new rules need to be formulated for that, but I would fight hard for anyone in my constituency punished under this Bill, and campaign to have the Bill changed, based on proper consultation, not just music industry lobbying.

The cost of parking, the extortionate fines and the lack of non-NCP run parking facilities have contributed to the council's failure to provide decent parking in Worthing.

How do you propose to create a system which works for the people of this town and not just for lining the pockets of the NCP?

At the Worthing council meeting in March which set the budget, I proposed using 600,000 of a VAT rebate windfall to subsidise car park charges during a fragile time for the town centre economy.

The Tories voted against this. We need to work with NCP to reduce charges now.

We also need to promote other methods of getting into town.

Michael Glennon (UKIP)

UKIP strives for getting true representation to the people.

The present two-party system makes MPs minions of their party leadership and I look forward to a more representative electoral system in this country.

Parking problems in an over-populated country are almost inevitable and UKIP feels that border control impacts upon this issue.

Tim Loughton (Conservative)

The Digital Economy Bill demonstrated how to rush through poorly scrutinised legislation at the fag-end of a Parliament, annoying many and doubtless requiring revisiting.

On many controversial pieces of legislation I invited constituents' input through my podcast website.

I regularly hold constituency surgeries, street surgeries, public meetings, distribute electronic and hard copy newsletters, an annual report, Twitter, etc., so there's no excuse for being unable to reach me to have your say, or hear me have mine.

When a strong representative voice was needed I set up the KWASH campaign which saved our hospital services.

Parking remains Worthing's hot issue, driving visitors from our town.

It must be sorted.

It stems from the disastrous 10-year contract negotiated with NCP by the last Lib Dem administration and we must not give away such control when up for renewal.

Over-zealous enforcement officers don't help and common sense needs to return.

Council pressure has seen charges reduced recently but not enough to compete with other Sussex towns.

The council should find spaces to utilise for parking and undercut NCP, preferably linked to park and rides which operated well for Christmas and Birdman.

Clive Maltby (English Democrats)

I will do all in my power to protect the rights of all English men and women against any infringements on our individual rights, under English law.

I have experience of this, I was a special constable in Worthing for 32 years with West Sussex Police and Sussex Police, 18 years as a sub-divisional officer, three years as a divisional officer.

I do not believe in private police dealing with on street parking.

Sussex Police should be responsible for all on-street parking, by bringing back traffic wardens, or making PCSOs responsible for issuing tickets.

The council wardens should be responsible for the town car parks.

To encourage visitors to come to Worthing, we should have free parking for two hours.

Any infringements should be dealt with by the traffic wardens.

Worthing West

Peter Bottomley (Conservative)

This Act, when a Bill, had elements strongly supported by local writers, artists and illustrators.

There was opposition by others on file sharing and yet others who said they wanted the Bill stopped but they did not always explain why.

I abstained in the end, late at night though I was present.

This was to indicate the range and balance of views and interests.

The Act can be reviewed and in the area I expect local residents to be my eyes and ears on the parts that are welcome as much as on the bits that were dropped and the parts that are thought to be harmful.

The obvious first point is to put the question to the political party that was then in power in Worthing Council.

The commercial company seemed to be given too much of a free hand. There is evidence the enforcement system does not work.

I have seen too many examples of unpretty jobsworth penalties.

A start could be made by sorting out the evening and weekend parking around the Town Hall.

The Worthing West constituency includes residents in East Preston and Kingston, Ferring and Rustington.

Some say they will boycott Worthing after terrible experiences here.

That is sad. It is unnecessary.

Stuart Dearsley (Christian Party)

I believe in under promising and over delivering.

There is no benefit in promising the world and delivering very little and the guarantee that I can give you is that I will do my upmost to represent people to the best of my ability on any issue that impacts on individuals and/or this constituency.

These are all issues that a number of boroughs grapple with.

The level of traffic on the road and the need to park means that higher charges can be made as demand will be there, although this does not justify them.

People accept they will need to pay to park and I feel that people should have input where possible on charges.

With regard to fines, there needs to be clearer legislation on what are the maximum charges that can be made so the general public are not taken advantage of.

Input of the public is paramount.

Ian Ross (Labour)

We need a fresh blood of MPs who do not forget it is voters that elected them to represent their community.

What drives me in politics is helping local people to resolve their problems, and that has to be the underlying principle for anyone standing to be MP.

If elected, I would hold weekly surgeries across the constituency and consult with local people by giving them the chance to tell me how I should vote on the big issues.

Getting out there and staying in touch with constituents is so important in order to keep in touch with reality.

In 2004, Worthing Borough Council, run by the Liberal Democrats, awarded a 15-year contract to NCP to run our car parks without setting a cap on the parking charges.

I launched a parking charges campaign in July, signed by 2,000 people.

Firstly, NCP has proved it is incapable of running our car parks with their rip-off charges and I would put pressure on the council to ensure they are never given another contract and to bring the car parks back under council control.

Secondly, I would work with the council to introduce "park and ride" offering out-of-town parking linked with shuttle buses.

Hazel Thorpe (Liberal Democrat)

Liberal Democrats are highly critical of the fact the Digital Economy Bill was rushed through.

It was essentially a carve-up between the Labour government and the Conservatives.

We think further real consultation with the public and users of the internet should have been in place. We voted against it.

I believe our young people should be educated in the world of technology and be able to debate the issues of piracy.

Music is a source of pleasure and we should urgently develop easy and affordable ways for people to legally access products.

I would fight for anyone in my constituency and ensure fairness prevails.

Parking in the town is the responsibility of the borough and county council.

However, as MP I would want to work closely with the councils to implement a fairer and more co-operative system, one which supports the town, businesses and the shops.

Such a system already exists at Horsham.

Rustington also is flourishing with three hours' free parking, supported by the local enterprises.

I would lobby for money from profits (from on-street parking) to be put back into Worthing budgets so either council tax is lower or facilities and attractions are provided.

John Wallace '“ UKIP

The Digital Economy Bill may appear all right until you read the detail.

As a libertarian party, UKIP would never condone such draconian measures only expected of Communist and dictator regimes.

Such "controls" are quite unacceptable. I'm keen for the rights of performers and, indeed, photographers to be protected, but not in such a heavy-handed manner.

The way in which this Bill was shoved through Parliament without proper scrutiny is most concerning, but quite typical of this new Labour administration.

I'm appalled so many of the functions of the council have been subcontracted to outside profit-focused companies.

I have witnessed the manner in which parking times have been extended and levied charges have risen.

If the council cannot operate these functions, they must be replaced by civil servants who are up to the job.

Actually, I read somewhere recently that a little known EU directive demanded these services be subcontracted.

This situation is totally unacceptable and will wreck what little tourist trade we have in Worthing, and must be stopped NOW.

Arundel and South Downs

Derek Deedman (Liberal Democrat)

This is yet another example of the Labour government, supported in this instance by the Conservatives, restricting our civil liberties.

Many people, especially young people, could be cut off from the internet without a fair trial.

I would fight for anyone in my constituency to ensure that fairness prevails and work with a Liberal Democrat government to radically review the act.

This is really a matter for the local councils.

Liberal Democrats would make local councils responsible for economic development which would focus local councillors' minds on implementing a fairer and more co-operative parking system which supports the town, businesses and the shops.

The candidates who did not respond to our questions were: Worthing West '“ David Aherne, Green. East Worthing and Shoreham '“ Susan Board, Green.

Arundel and South Downs '“ Tim Lunnon, Labour, Stuart Bower, UKIP, and Nick Herbert, Conservative.

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