Chipping Away: time up for Theresa?

June 25, 2024

Photo of clock by Stas Knop and photo of man reaching by Wallace Chuck both at Pexels

Ehsen Hanif questions whether political change is coming to Barnet

As a young voter eager for change in the upcoming election, I find myself reflecting on the issues close to home. In my area of Barnet, which I hold close to my heart, I’ve only known a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) in my constituency, Chipping Barnet. I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact of political decisions on our community when it was affected by Brexit. Check out more about this here.

Now, as I’m nearly at voting age, I’m filled with hope for a better future and a government that listens to the voices of young people like me. Join me as we delve into the pressing issues facing our constituency and explore the potential for positive change with the next election.

Chipping Barnet has always been a marginal seat for the Conservatives ever since Labour’s dominant victory in 1997. However, Theresa Villiers, a British politician, has served as the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet since 2005. She has remained a loyal and strong advocate for the area, championing local causes and gaining important roles in the cabinet, allowing her to promote Barnet’s view in government.

However, after Liz Truss’ devastating budget and Rishi Sunak’s seemingly complete lack of leadership or authority, the Tories are crumbling amidst mounting public dissatisfaction. The party’s credibility is further eroded by internal divisions and scandals, leaving many questioning its ability to govern effectively. Despite this, Theresa Villiers continues to be vocal about her support for the government. So, for me, this begs the question, has the time come for new leadership and fresh ideas in Chipping Barnet and beyond?

While Theresa Villiers boasts a strong record in supporting key health and social care issues, such as protecting women from harassment around abortion centres, she consistently neglects her responsibilities to struggling families in the constituency.

Villiers continues to support a crackdown on Britain’s most vulnerable

Villiers continues to support a crackdown on Britain’s most vulnerable. She has restricted housing benefits and removed Universal Credit from those with ‘limited capacity to work’, often due to severe mental health issues.

Furthermore, she didn’t accurately represent her constituency’s views during the crucial Brexit vote. Ignoring Barnet’s overwhelming support to Remain in the EU, Villiers backed exiting without a treaty, telling Countryfile, “Whatever course we take it will involve controversy, but I firmly believe we need to get on with it, to get it done and to leave.”

Continuing this trail of controversy, the former Environment Secretary failed to declare ownership of shares worth over £70,000 in Shell. The oil and gas firm were responsible for over 7 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions in 2023 alone.

Mrs Villiers has been a fierce campaigner against ULEZ, which has been heavily criticised for disproportionately burdening lower-income groups. She has also continued to advocate for motorists by campaigning against bus lanes and other related issues. However, many question whether this should be a primary focus as the climate emergency worsens, suggesting that greater attention should be directed toward sustainable solutions.

Dan Tomlinson is proposing a wave of innovative policies to create meaningful change for the constituency

After the previous Labour candidate, Emma Whysall narrowly lost the previous two elections, the party have put forward a new candidate Dan Tomlinson. Tomlinson is proposing a wave of innovative policies to create meaningful change for the constituency. Hailing from a humble background, he embarked on his career at HM Treasury. Today, he stands at the forefront of the UK’s premier anti-poverty charity, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, spearheading initiatives aimed at forging a more resilient economy.

“Our constituency has been represented by Conservatives since its creation in 1974. It’s time for change,” Tomlinson writes on his campaign website. Receiving free school meals growing up, Tomlinson is committed to uplifting the community through direct action such as raising the minimum wage and building new affordable housing.

Dan Tomlinson has secured enthusiastic support from Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer who described him as a “brilliant candidate”. Sir Keir went further, emphasising that Tomlinson would have a “direct line” to him if elected, highlighting the strong and effective leadership he would bring to the role. This endorsement underscores the exceptional potential and impactful change Tomlinson is poised to deliver.

It is certain that Dan Tomlinson has a plethora of forward-thinking policies and extensive experience as an economist. The question remains, will he garner the necessary support from the constituency to translate his promises into action? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: the winds of change appear to be stirring in Chipping Barnet!

UK parliamentary candidates for Chipping Barnet constituency:

Richard Hewison: Rejoin EU

David Farbey: Green Party
Mark Durrant:
Liberal Democrats

Kay Lauer: Independent

Dan Tomlinson: Labour Party

Theresa Villiers: Conservative and Unionist Party
Hamish Haddow:
Reform UK

Ehsen is 17 years old and he studies Politics, Economics and Maths at Woodhouse College. He enjoys many sports from boxing to football. Ehsen loves art, fashion as well as writing and reading which has been a big inspiration for working with Exposure.

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