IN the first of our special reports looking at all the candidates standing for election across Bolton, JOSEPH TIMAN finds out more about those vying for your vote in Bolton North East...

LABOUR has held the Bolton North East seat for more than 20 years - but they face stiff competition this time around.

To mark the General Election on December 12, we’ve asked every candidate standing across Bolton borough for a statement outlining why you should vote for them.

Today, in the first in a series of special reports, we’re looking at the candidates standing in Bolton North East, which has been held by Labour since its landslide election victory in 1997 under Tony Blair.

Despite Labour holding on to the seat for so long, the constituency is now considered to be a marginal one and a target for the Conservatives.

Around 58 per cent of Bolton North East constituents voted to leave the European Union in 2016 despite their MP supporting remain.

The following year, Sir David Crausby won for Labour with a majority of 3,797, beating the Tory candidate who gained 42 per cent of the vote at the snap general election. But if Brexit is more of a factor in this election than it was in 2017, his comments earlier this year in support of another referendum could come back to bite him at the polls.

He beat the leader of the Conservative group in Bury, Cllr James Daly, for a second time in 2017, but this time Cllr Daly is standing elsewhere.

Instead, Mark Logan, a former diplomat, will be the Conservative candidate.

He is hoping to win the seat for the Conservatives for the first time since 1992. Since the last election, the Conservatives gained two councillors in Breightmet and Labour lost another in the ward who later joined the Lib Dems.

This adds to the string of safe council seats for the Conservatives in Bromley Cross, Bradshaw and Astley Bridge – although the Lib Dems have come close in the latter.

But at this general election, the Tories could lose votes to newcomers the Brexit Party.

Trevor Jones, the boss of Bolton-based Britannia Building Services, has been selected as the candidate for Nigel Farage’s new party which is fighting its first general election.

Warren Fox will be on the ballot paper for the Lib Dems again this year. He got 2.9 per cent of the vote at the last general election and has since stood as a council candidate for Astley Bridge twice, narrowly losing out to the Conservatives on both occasions.

The Green Party candidate will be Liz Spencer who also stood in 2017.

Sir David Crausby, Labour

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SIR David Crausby has been the MP in Bolton North East since 1997 when he took over from Peter Thurnham, but his majority has gradually decreased over the years.

After first contesting Bury North in 1987, he was narrowly defeated in Bolton North East in 1992.

Once elected to parliament, he joined the Social Security Select Committee and was later on the Defence Select Committee for nine years.

The Labour candidate was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours.

He said: “I’ve represented Bolton North East since 1997 and I have always tried to be Bolton’s voice in Westminster, not a spokesperson for the Westminster bubble in Bolton.

“I’m standing to support our police and keep our community safe. I’m fighting for investment in our schools so that every Boltonian can have the best start in life. I’m challenging the failing bus and rail companies to help Boltonians get to work. I’m championing a green industrial revolution to protect our planet for future generations.

“I have changed laws to protect homeowners and delivered tougher sentences for dangerous drivers. I have promoted grassroots football and shifted more money from Premier League clubs to children’s games. I’ve been a vocal advocate for better transport infrastructure in the North and worked to have the Military Covenant brought into law. I have a record of delivery and the experience to take on the challenges we face.”

Warren Fox, Liberal Democrats

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WARREN Fox, who lives in Astley Bridge, is a brand protection manager who works in commercial marketing.

He said: “I am the only true Remain candidate standing in Bolton North East. Every vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to Stop Brexit and build a brighter future. The election of a Lib Dem majority government provides a democratic mandate to Stop Brexit.

“We will use the £50bn Remain Bonus to invest in our public services and fight inequality. We have an ambitious plan to tackle the climate emergency, invest in education, adult learning, and to fund the NHS properly. I will fight to remove political interference from the NHS and put mental health services on parity with physical health.

“The Liberal Democrats will give every adult £10,000 to spend on Education and Training throughout their lives. As a recent graduate I’m fully aware of what benefits retraining and gaining a new qualification can bring.

“At 10 years old I ran away from home, I lived on a council estate with grandparents on nothing but a state pension. Having nothing drove me to where I am today, to prove that you can beat the system and achieve in life despite all the odds being stacked against you.

“I now work across 28 European countries fighting against the sales of counterfeit and non-compliant illicit goods. Working in a European organisation and collaboratively with industry and public bodies I see first hand the massive benefits remaining a member of the EU brings.

“I believe political decision making is no longer working for us. Our two party political system is broken. Residents in Bolton North East deserve better than Boris Johnson’s Broken Brexit Deal and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour ‘All things no one’ Brexit Deal. Both are not fit to run our country. The Lib Dems are the only credible alternative to Stopping Brexit and bringing an end to Tory Austerity.”

Trevor Jones, Brexit Party

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TREVOR Jones is the director and sole owner of Bolton-based Britannia Building Services.

He said: “I’m a self-employed builder running my small construction company for the last 37 years here in Bolton.

“I was born and bred in Bolton – unlike the Conservative candidate parachuted in with no links to Bolton and its problems.

“I decided to stand to help improve our town for you and my family. I care about our Town because I’m a Boltonian.

“My once proud town has been taken to its knees whilst under the Labour council control and I see no improvement whatsoever in the eight months since the Conservative council took control.

“We voted 58.3 per cent to leave the corrupt EU but both the Labour and Conservative Remainer MPs have denied us our wish and voting the same people back in won’t get us what we voted for. A clean break Brexit.

“Our current MP David Crausby has campaigned relentlessly to overturn your wishes and actively pursue another referendum, you are being treated with contempt.

“If elected as your Member of Parliament I will act and work on your behalf, treat you with respect carrying out your wishes, whilst working towards improving your life.

“We have drug dealers on every street corner, beggars at traffic lights and fly-tipping at every beauty spot.

“The town centre is a ghost town, thanks to rip-off car parking charges and increased business rates. This town will never change until people replace those who have been in charge over its steep decline.

“So I’m standing to give us hope for the future.”

Mark Logan, Conservatives

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Mark Logan, a former diplomat, was previously the head of communications at the British Consulate in Shanghai, China.

In 2017, he stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate in Northern Ireland.

He said: “It’s important I tell you the kind of MP I want to be for you in Bolton North East.

“One that is at the heart of the community, fighting on your behalf for better services and tackling the issues that affect your day to day life.

“As a parent, I want the highest of standards in our schools.

“I’ll listen to teachers and parents, and campaign on their behalf to deliver positive outcomes, so your children and grandchildren get the education they deserve.

“I will champion our NHS and lobby at every opportunity for improved facilities at our hospital that will benefit your family.

“I’ll lead the fight for better infrastructure in our town, and increased investment on bus and rail. Addressing congestion is a priority, so you do not spend hours of your day in a car or jammed in a train.

“This is quite simply the most important General Election in a generation.

“You have one of two choices in Bolton North East. If you vote for Labour there will be at least one other referendum next year. Bringing with it more confusion.

“Or you can vote for the Conservatives, Get Brexit Done before the end of January, giving certainty to our jobs, economy and the UK’s place in the world as a leading country.

“Conservatives are the only party who can defeat Labour in Bolton North East. A vote for The Brexit Party or Liberal Democrats will simply lead to more delay and uncertainty.

“I am hard-working and will continue to live here at the heart of the community I represent, not being afraid to get stuck in.”

Liz Spencer, Green Party

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LIZ Spencer, who has worked in adult mental health services all her life, is standing in Bolton North East for a second time.

The Green Party candidate, who lives in Egerton, has also stood in local elections for the party in Bromley Cross on numerous occasions.

She said: “The issues facing us in 2019 are too huge to ignore. They are too huge to leave to those who have either created them, denied them or failed to address them. This is why I am standing in Bolton North East as a candidate for the Green Party.

“We are in the midst of a climate and environmental emergency which, if ignored, will engulf us all. Our environment supports us all and it is the responsibility of us all to protect it and restore it to health.

“We need green spaces, not just green belts, we need wild spaces and open spaces, we need places to grow our food and we need places to grow ourselves. We need to start now, together to begin the journey to a better future for us and future generations

“We are in the midst of an economic emergency in which the extreme riches become ever more so whilst the extreme poverty and exploitation are the price paid by many.

“We are in the midst of a social emergency of broken communities, disenfranchised voices and decimated public services.

“Our public services, properly funded, properly planned, publicly owned have nourished us for generations. It is time to ensure that rather than dismantling our greatest achievements, we restore them to their place as the heart of our society

“Such services should be accountable to us, they should benefit us, they should have us at their centre. They should be about service not profit, they belong to us and we need to clearly say, ‘They are not for sale!’ It is time, now, to act with hope, with courage and with a commitment to forge a new contract to protect the planet on which we all depend and to care for each other on whom we all depend.”