YOUR candidates for Eddisbury:
Ian Priestner (Lib Dem)
I was born and brought up in Cheshire where I live with my wife Jenny and daughter Victoria near Tarporley in the heart of the Eddisbury constituency.
My family has farmed in Cheshire for over 400 years. My father worked in agricultural development in East and Central Africa, which helped shape my values of the importance of community and service.
I was educated at Pownall Hall School in Wilmslow and Ellesmere College in North Shropshire.
After graduation from Keele University in Staffordshire my first job was at the CBI International Division in London promoting British exports to the EU and the developing world.
I then joined the United States Government Information Service advising on UK-US relations before working in the oil and gas industry which took me to North and South America, Africa, Central Asia and the Far East.
I returned to Cheshire where I was a Director of United Utilities for six years and served on the Boards of Walton Hospital in Liverpool and northwest-based medical software company Ascribe plc.
I am currently a non-executive director of a north west renewable and sustainable energy company.
My passion is to protect the beautiful towns and villages of Eddisbury from indiscriminate development, fight to enhance our environment, support employment opportunities and health access free at the point of delivery for all; and ensure our children have the best possible education – and as the only candidate from the major parties to have lived in Eddisbury for some time I feel I know and understand the communities that make up the constituency.
Growing our communities means putting residents first, not developers. Access to services such as doctors, school places and rural transport and communications needs must be built in early not left to be dealt with later.
We need to ensure we strike the right balance between growth and jobs, people and the environment.
I have experienced at first hand the excellence of our health service, both as a Director of a world-leading research and clinical hospital in the North West, and as a user for myself and my family.
I have degrees in law, international relations and a Masters in development studies. I am a keen cyclist and walker and have visited nearly every European country on my bike, including the former Eastern bloc states, over the last 40 years.
I am walking around Eddisbury with my dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback called Barley. I started at Davenham Church and recently completed as far as Malpas, travelling in an anti-clockwise direction, following footpaths as close to the constituency boundary as possible.
Walking is an excellent way to see what is really going on in both towns and countryside. It is all too obvious that inappropriate and insensitive development has had an impact on our countryside.
Proper planning processes with the emphasis on sustainable communities and local control is the right way forward.
James Laing (Labour)
James was born in the Midlands, grew up in the South and has lived in the Northwest for over 20 years.
The oldest of four children James attended a comprehensive school and Liverpool University. He has worked in the television industry for nearly thirty years.
He has two boys with his partner, Gill.
If elected as your Member of Parliament::
James says: "The General Election on May 7th is the most important I can remember and there are real choices facing the people of Eddisbury.
"Do we want a future where our children can afford a decent home? Do we want a future where our families can continue to get not for profit health care, free at the point of need?
"Do we want secure work, that pays a living wage? If like me the answer is yes, then the only choice on May 7th is to vote Labour.
"The Tories are offering an ideological attack on our public services, the Bedroom Tax, Zero-Hours contracts, and a tax cut for millionaires. The Tories say that the economy is growing, but who is it really benefitting?"
"Britain deserves better, Britain can do better, Britain will be Better with Labour."
Antionette Sandbach (Conservative)
Antionette Sandbach comes from a farming background in North Wales, although, as the name suggests, her family originated from Cheshire.
Antoinette practiced as a legal aid barrister in London for 12 years, speaking up for people who needed help, often at the worst time in their lives.
In 2005, a single mother, she walked away from her legal career to concentrate on bringing up her daughter on the family farm in North Wales.
Shocked with the amount of farm paperwork and the bureaucracy involved she decided to get involved in politics to try and reduce the amount of red tape, and to speak up for rural communities.
Antoinette is a school governor and has fundraised for a number of charities. For years she was Patron of Chrysalis, a charity which provided support to bereaved parents until its merger with the Hope House Charity.
Narrowly missing out on being elected for Parliament for the Conservatives in 2010 in Delyn, she was elected to the Welsh Assembly in 2011 where she has a strong track record for speaking up for constituents and for helping them.
She held the post of Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs in Wales for over two years and is currently Shadow Minister for the Environment and Energy.
Antoinette has been recognized in Wales as being a fearless spokesman for her constituents, and the farming community.
Antoinette was recently selected for the Eddisbury constituency, and immediately said she would donate her Assembly salary to charity during the election campaign and that she will resign her Assembly seat and move to Eddisbury if elected on the 7th May. Happily married, her husband and daughter support that decision.
Antoinette said: “My family has always had strong connections with Eddisbury with a number of relatives who have lived here over many years.
"I want to be able to stand up and speak up for constituents here using my skills and experience to do so. It is clear that rural communities here need proper access to broadband and a good mobile signal so they can grow their businesses.
“Planning issues and the suitability of planning developments are clearly an issue in Malpas and Audlem where there is a need for affordable housing, but developers with big pockets are flooding the local councils with unsuitable applications.
"It is vital that appropriate infrastructure is in place to support any new developments and there is genuine concern this is not happening in Eddisbury.
“I will be writing in the paper in the coming weeks on Education, Health, the Economy and the Environment.
"If you would like to contact me during the campaign please email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter @ASandbachAM.
"You can see more information on campaigns I have been involved in at www.antoinettesandbach.org.uk"
Dr Andrew Garman (Green)
Andrew Garman is a semi-retired former scientist who currently splits his time between working as a counsellor / psychotherapist and working for the Green Party. He lives in Ashton Hayes, near Chester.
Andrew has had interests in politics and the environment since his 20’s. He joined the SDP upon its formation in 1981 and was an active Liberal Democrat from 1990 until 2010.
He served as a councillor on Chester City Council for three years until the local government re-organisation in 2009; here he was the Liberal Democrats’ Environment Spokesperson.
His switch to the Greens was prompted by a) a growing realisation that climate change needs to be tackled more urgently than was then (as now) being dealt with by the established parties and b) a recognition that mounting inequalities in wealth and income were damaging the overall health of our society.
With respect to inequality, he was influenced by the book “The Spirit Level” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009, Penguin Books) which he rates as a “must read” book for anyone interested in what makes for a healthy nation. Andrew thinks strategically and is dismayed by the short term focus displayed by most politicians.
Andrew has been involved in his local community, serving on the Parish Council for 11 years and taking part in numerous committees and local projects. He is particularly pleased about the project he led to create a playing field for his village: the project won an award from Fields in Trust (formerly the National Playing Fields Association).
In Eddisbury constituency, Andrew sees that the most important issue is the deprivation and lack of hope in many areas of the constituency.
These are mainly the urban areas such as Winsford but he is aware that pockets of rural poverty exist and many farmers are having a very hard time.
He believes that the coalition government has demonised those dependent on benefits and has made life close to unbearable for many vulnerable and needy people.
Andrew is a nature-lover and values the rural scene in the constituency. Although keen on renewable energy, he will not be supporting windfarms in sensitive rural areas.
He would like to see renewable energy approached as a community-led endeavour. He is concerned by the recent increase in rural housing with its inevitable dependence on car transport, with increasing traffic congestion.
He points out that opportunities exist for investment in public transport for example, the creation of new stations on the Crewe to Chester line, such as at Beeston and Tattenhall.
More generally, he notes that there is little activity in the “green economy” in the constituency and would seek ways to promote this sector and create new business and employment.
Andrew’s interests are diverse but the main one is music. He plays the piano and the viola and can often be found in the back row of the violas in the Chester Philharmonic Orchestra. Aged 61, he tries to keep fit by running and going to the gym. He completed two London Marathons in recent years.
Rob Millington (UKIP)
I HAVE lived in Eddisbury all of my life apart from when I have served overseas in the Army, and periods of my life spent working in the Middle East.
My experiences in places such as Iraq involved working with those displaced by conflict as well as being directly involved in aid and reconstruction projects.
On a personal level as well as living and working in Eddisbury, I have hiked, camped and cycled across much of the area, therefore I am able to understand the challenges and issues facing the good people of Eddisbury be they town or country.
Every day I speak to people who feel that the cynicism of the LIB/LAB/CON has gone too far and that their concerns are not taken seriously.
Just one example of this is Britain’s membership of the EU – none of the other parties are willing to allow the people to actually have a say as to whether or not they wish to be governed by this unelected bureaucracy.
Yet the EU does interfere in our homes, private lives and business; nowadays whether you’re running a business or working in the public sector it is EU laws and bureaucracy that call the shots.
To improve life for people in Eddisbury and safeguard our nation I support and UKIP propose:
We face a fluctuating, volatile and unpredictable world with an increasing number of threat actors. In addition to which I have direct experience of working with and living amongst communities that have been subject to genocide by terrorist groups such as ISIS. Our armed forces have a proud history of assisting and protecting innocents abroad as well as us – this must not be neglected.
I look forward to meeting you all and a great many thanks to those who have already pledged support, Eddisbury is a great place lets keep it special. Please go to https://twitter.com/Ukip4Eddisbury
George Antar (CISTA - Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol)
Originally from London, George Antar, 18, moved up to Cheshire at the age of four and has lived there ever since.
He has studied religion and philosophy, business and music technology and hopes for a career in music as an electronic musician. He was previously a chorister in the Chester Cathedral Choir.
Currently George is a sixthform student studying for his final A Level exams before embarking on a gap year to focus on his music and personal philosophical writings.
At the moment he is making music personally under a number of pseudonyms and hopes to take this to a professional level some day by releasing his music independently.
CISTA aims for the legalization, and taxed regulation, of recreational cannabis, as well as access to cannabis for those who need it as medicine, along with a royal commission on the Misuse of Drugs Act to determine if our current drugs policy is working (something George quite aggressively doesn't believe as he says almost all evidence shows that our current drugs policy is causing far more harm than good) and any viable alternatives to the current system.
Under legal regulation recreational users will buy cannabis from licensed dispensaries and will have to pay a duty on the product (it is estimated that a tax of £1 per gram could raise up to £6bn a year) which will be supplemented by savings that will be made through no longer criminalising users, all of which can be used to pay for better healthcare and public services.
George says the medicinal use of cannabis will give patients a safe substance for pain relief as well as helping with other symptoms such as spasticity, lack of appetite, insomnia, and many more ailments.
Legal medicinal use will also mean that sick individuals who have to resort to growing their own supply are no longer treated as criminals.
Under a legally regulated system licensed dealers will not be allowed to sell to children and will have to ask for some form of identification before selling, similar to the current system used with alcohol and tobacco.
George believes that by standing for CISTA in what is traditionally a safe seat for the Conservative party he can help to bring the issue to people who otherwise wouldn't consider it, and “rock the boat” on a controversial issue that for years has been taboo in our society but is finally coming into the light of public awareness.
George knows this won't be an easy battle to fight, but this has not and never will put him off.
He says: “The science has shown that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis and as long as science is being ignored to protect a failed policy, myself, CISTA, and the rest of the legalisation movement will continue to demand for a just, science based policy.”
See full story in the Chester Leader