The General Election is drawing ever closer.

And in the next in our series on the election candidates we are looking at the Witham constituency.

The constituency runs through three district borders taking in villages and towns in Braintree, Maldon and Colchester.

The area covers Stanway, Marks Tey, Tiptree, Great Totham, Tollesbury and Bradwell, Coggeshall and North Feering, Hatfield Peverel, and Kelvedon, to name a few.

We asked the candidates vying to be Witham's MP what they stand for.

James Abbott, Green

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

THE media try to turn General Elections into a binary choice.

But neither Mr Johnson nor Mr Corbyn are on ballot papers in the Witham constituency.

This election is about who voters want to be their local MP.

I have stood at each General Election since 1992 and am a local district councillor (20 years) and an Essex county councillor (six years).

In May, the Green and Independent Group, which I lead, became the main opposition to the Conservatives at Braintree District Council.

My main policy areas are:

  • Clear opposition to West Tey New Town urbanisation plan n Support for genuinely affordable local housing
  • Better public transport – not just more road building. An offroad cycle network and capacity upgrade for Braintree branch line
  • Invest in key services – restore community policing, keep all libraries open, enhanced GP surgeries and Witham needs its own community hospital
  • Encourage recycling and continue to work with communities in campaigning against Rivenhall Airfield Incinerator n New policies to protect habitats currently so often lost on developments
  • Expand renewable energy.

This is being called the Brexit election but this must also be the climate election.

The Greens have set out an ambitious set of policies to transform Britain towards net zero carbon by 2030.

Dr Martin Edobor, Labour

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

I’M standing in this election because, as a doctor, I’ve seen first-hand the damage caused by nearly a decade of Tory cuts to vital services.

A&E waiting times at their worst ever, cancer treatment targets missed and waiting lists growing longer and longer.

At our local hospitals we’ve seen A&E struggling to cope, ambulances queuing and staff under immense pressure trying to treat the numbers urgently seeking care. The evidence is clear – you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS. Labour will ensure that the NHS is fully funded.

We will also tackle the social care crisis.

But aside from the NHS, I’m excited by Labour’s bold progressive programme for government.

From hyperfast gigabyte broadband, to a Green Industrial Revolution providing over a million new jobs, Labour is focused on ensuring that our communities are ready and working for the 21st century.

Locally, I’m committed to restoring policing, so that once again the people can feel secure that crime in the area will be tackled promptly. The Tories have left our towns and villages behind for too long.

We can do better. For real change vote Dr Martin Edobor Labour.

Sam North, Liberal Democrat

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

STANDING in the Witham constituency is an honour.

As an ex-police officer I have personally seen the devastation caused by consecutive home secretaries, including Priti Patel, on policing, crime and criminal justice.

But it is not only these areas that the Conservatives have been failing.

Our schools, our GPs, our economy are all struggling under their leadership.

I am standing for hope and a brighter future, to bring the UK into the 21st century and to ensure that our country is prosperous and safe in an ever more hostile world.

The Lib Dems in this election have the only manifesto of the three main parties that has not been slated by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The Liberal Democrats have the solutions and they are viable.

Whether it be tackling the climate emergency, supporting those with mental health issues or providing all our children with first rate education, the Liberal Democrats are the only party that can and will deliver for all.

A vote for me and the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a brighter future. It is a vote for pragmatism and positive politics and it is a vote for Remain.

Priti Patel, Conservative

Maldon and Burnham Standard:

As Witham’s MP since 2010 I have supported tens of thousands of families, individuals and business with their concerns and issues they have raised with me and I have been a strong voice for all communities throughout the Witham constituency.

Protecting the law-abiding and hard-working majority is and has always been a priority for me, which is why I have worked with Essex Police to recruit hundreds more police officers, including a dedicated policing team for Witham Town and more police to tackle rural crime. Over the next three years hundreds more officers will be joining Essex Police are part of my work as Home Secretary to increase police numbers by 20,000 and make our streets safer.

I have worked to secure new investment in our local public services and infrastructure. Nearly £3 million more will be coming into schools in the constituency following representations I have made directly to the Government to secure more money per pupil in schools funding. Witham Town is now set to get a new multipurpose healthcare centre through my work with the NHS nationally and our local GPs who are working to deliver this new health centre in Witham. I have successfully made the case for over £1 billion of new investment in new trains which will shortly come into service, more money to fix local roads and potholes, investment in widening the A12 and funding to support plans to dual the A120.

If I am re-elected as your MP on 12 December, I will continue to be a strong voice for the Witham constituency both through my work locally and nationally in Westminster and ensure all communities in Witham are strongly represented.