The battle to become the next MP in Brighton Pavilion will be one of the most closely watched election contests this year.
The seat is not only unique in being a three-way race between three women candidates, Labour’s Nancy Platts, the Conservative’s Charlotte Vere and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas – it’s also the best chance the Greens have of picking up their first place in Parliament.
Here’s an interesting take on what the three candidates have to offer – from a Brighton politics junkie who won’t even be able to vote herself.
Clare Calder, 17, is the UK Youth Parliament’s Brighton and Hove representative. She attends Brighton and Hove High School, and has reviewed talks each of the candidates gave to students there.
First up was Charlotte Vere, whose visit drew a mixed response from Clare. She said: “She spoke strongly in favour of better care for the elderly and better health facilities in general for Brighton but says the problem of funding is a big concern. There is a massive budget deficit and she believes this needs to be addressed before more can be spent.
“As the UK Youth Parliament member for Brighton and Hove, I would have liked to have heard more from her on how young people can get involved rather than just a ”Get on with it”. Similarly, her only response to the issue of ‘Votes at 16’ was ‘Independent review’.”
Next was Nancy Platts. Clare’s verdict: “Nancy Platts says she believes the FPTP system should be abolished in favour of a more proportionally representative system whereby minority parties (excluding the BNP) will be better represented. She also said there is a need for women in other countries that aren’t as democratic as the UK to have greater equality. However, she was less strong when questioned about safety issues regarding women in this country.”
Caroline Lucas was the last to visit, last Friday. Clare said: “She … told us why we should vote Green come the next election. The Green Party is well known for its environmental work, for keeping the pressure on the UK to reach the emissions targets that were set by the government and because of its wide range of social policies including proposals to reform the electoral system- get rid of the first past the post system and adopt a more proportionally representative system but not the one that Gordon Brown is proposing!”