General Election 2019: Meet the candidates for Ashton-under-Lyne

Located in Tameside, to the east of Manchester, the Ashton-under-Lyne constituency is considered a safe seat for Labour and has been held by the party since 1935.

This article was updated on December 10.

Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner has been the constituency’s MP since 2015, retaining the seat with a 60.4% share at the 2017 general election.

The constituency voted to leave by 61.8% in 2016’s EU Referendum.

2019 General Election candidates: 

Derek Brocklehurst, @derekb1970 – The Brexit Party

Brocklehurst describes himself as a former Labour supporter and is standing for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. He will hope that Ashton’s leave majority in 2016 will help his chance of election.

He states that the Brexit Party are “the only pro-Brexit party who can deliver democracy” and says that Brexit Party MPs would “offer a strong voice for northern seats, often ignored by Labour & Tories”.

The Brexit Party will not oppose the Conservatives in seats that they won in 2017 and their policies include the abolition of the House of Lords, scrapping HS2 and investing in fishing communities.

Dan Costello, @Dan__Costello – Conservative

Costello’s campaign appears to be centred on Brexit. He states that he is in full support of Boris Johnson’s deal and describes arguing to remain in the European Union as anti-democratic.

Declaring that the “voice of Remain” was defeated in 2016, Costello urges voters to elect a Conservative majority and asserts that they will deliver Brexit so that the party can get onto dealing with other matters.

The party’s priorities include ensuring that the United Kingdom will leave the EU by no later than the end of January 2020, introducing an Australian-style immigration system and putting more police on the streets.

Lee Huntbach, @LeeAlanHuntbach – Green

Lacking a Twitter picture, posting only 50 tweets since joining in 2012 and declaring his location as Stalybridge, Cheshire, the Green Party’s Lee Huntbach doesn’t seem to be using social media to get his message across.

However, Huntbach beat Labour to become councillor in the Ashton Waterloo seat in in May’s local elections and told the Manchester Evening News: “I campaigned for local issues which I think has really stuck with residents.”

The Green Party say that they are the only party who “say yes to Europe and no to climate chaos”. Their manifesto includes a ‘Green New Deal’, support for a People’s Vote and replacing the first past the post system for parliamentary elections with a proportional voting system.

Angela Rayner, @AngelaRayner – Labour

A key figure in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Rayner has been Ashton’s MP since 2015. She is the only female MP to have served the constituency since its establishment for the 1832 general election.

Formerly a Trade Union representative within Unison, Rayner is viewed as a potential future Labour leader and has proposed the creation of a National Education Service, modelled on the NHS, during her time as shadow education secretary.

Labour’s proposals include a £10-an-hour real living wage, a green industrial revolution, free school meals for all primary school children and a public vote on any Brexit deal.

George Rice, @GeorgeRiceLD – Liberal Democrats

Having previously stood in 2019 and 2018 Manchester local elections in Ardwick and Deansgate, Rice is aiming to become Ashton-under-Lyne’s first ever Lib Dem MP.

If elected, he pledges to make young people’s mental health a priority and states his commitment to campaigning with respect, calling out hate, and promoting compassion.

The Liberal Democrats’ campaign focuses on stopping Brexit, tackling the climate emergency by generating 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030 and recruiting 20,000 more teachers as part of an extra £10 billion a year for schools.

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