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Andy Strange: My priorities for the 2017 General Election

As the candidate in this election for the Liberal Democrats in the constituency of Luton South I think it is important for me to clearly spell out to the voters what my priorities are.

I believe that Britain is better off as a member of the European Union. I do acknowledge that the result of the 2016 referendum gave the government a mandate to start negotiations to leave. I also believe that the government had a duty to respond to that result by exploring how leaving the European Union could be accomplished without significantly damaging the rights and opportunities of British citizens, the British economy, or our standing in the world. I also believe, particularly given the narrowness of the result, that Parliament should have a significant say in how those negotiations are conducted; but that a decision on whether to accept the result of those negotiations should be made by the British people, not by politicians.

So my top priority will be to fight the Conservatives choice to pursue a hard Brexit — a choice that is supported by both UKIP and the Labour Party — which will lead to a poorer Britain, and a poorer Luton.

I will defend the principles of free trade and fight for Britain to remain a member of the Single Market and the Customs Union. Membership of which is of vital benefit to Luton’s economy; not least because of its manufacturing and aviation industries.

I will fight to keep Britain an open society and support the principle of freedom of movement. I will defend the benefits that managed immigration brings to Britain, and to Luton in particular. I want us to remain a welcoming, diverse, and tolerant town willing to make use of the talents of people from across Europe and the world.

I will do what I can to promote policies that support creativity and innovation. I will argue for investment in education, enterprise, and scientific research. I will also seek to protect people’s rights in the digital age.

I will push to ensure that environmental issues — so far largely ignored in this election — are kept high on the agenda. I will argue for policies to tackle climate change and air pollution, to protect our green spaces and natural landscape, and to improve the quality of urban environments.

I will work to ensure that our public services are effective, responsive, and properly funded. I will support Liberal Democrat plans to increase funding to the NHS and social care services. I will fight to protect support for the poorest and most vulnerable and to ensure that our taxation system is fair.

I will continue to argue for reform of our broken political system. I will fight for genuine change in areas such as party funding, fairer votes, effective local government, and media regulation. I will work to revitalise our political system – so it works for everyone.

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