Prime Minister talks on eve of Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election

Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture by Andrew Parsons / i-Images EMN-160612-131113001
Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture by Andrew Parsons / i-Images EMN-160612-131113001

Prime Minster Theresa May has spoken to The Standard in an exclusive question and answer session ahead of tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) by-election in Sleaford and North Hykeham to replace former Tory MP Stephen Phillips who resigned over policy differences with the Government.

Prime Minster Theresa May has spoken to The Standard in an exclusive question and answer session ahead of tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) by-election in Sleaford and North Hykeham to replace former Tory MP Stephen Phillips who resigned over policy differences with the Government.

She is backing her Conservative Party’s candidate, Caroline Johnson and in light of the 24,000 vote majority won by her party at the last general election, Mrs May said: “Politicians should never take people’s votes for granted, and there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ seat.

“ What I’m confident in is that Caroline Johnson is the best candidate and I know she is campaigning hard for every vote. She is meeting as many local residents as possible in towns and villages right across the constituency.”

She saw this by-election as important for Britain as a whole and said Mrs Johnson is ‘committed to helping us get on with the job of leaving the EU, delivering what people voted for in the referendum, and making a success of Brexit’.

She added: “And as a local doctor who lives and works here, Caroline is the only candidate with a clear plan for the local community. She’ll make a fantastic MP and there’s so much at stake in this election.

The Prime Minister told The Standard she will make a success of Brexit for farmers in Lincolnshire. She said: “We will deliver what they voted for and seize the opportunity to become a fully independent, sovereign nation - trading with the world, and getting control of our own laws and immigration system.

“Clearly there’s a negotiation ahead, but my approach is to give communities and employers across the country as much certainty as possible. That’s why the Government has made a commitment to guarantee the same level of agricultural funding right through until 2020.”

With regards to infrastructure, Mrs May pointed to the announcement of £50 million for the Lincoln Eastern bypass as part of the £3 billion being invested to improve roads across the UK, and a new £1 billion fund to improve broadband across the country. She stated the Government has also protected spending on the police budget - meaning that funding is increasing by £900 million nationally.

Mrs May highlighted further investment in the NHS service - and backed the ongoing reviews into the health service to deliver the services where they are needed, saying it ‘isn’t just a question of funding’.

“Sustainability and Transformation Plans are local plans being developed by local doctors and communities - not politicians - so the NHS best suits the needs of local areas now and in the future,” she added.

○ The full list of 10 candidates standing in the by-election are: Victoria Ayling (UKIP), David Bishop (Bus Pass Elvis Party), Jim Clarke (Labour), Paul Coyne (Non aligned), Peter E Hill - aka The Iconic Arty Pole (Monster Raving Loony Party), Caroline Johnson (Conservative), Marianne Overton (Lincolnshire Independent), Ross Pepper (Liberal Democrat), Sarah Stock (Independent), Mark Suffield (Independent).