General Election: the candidates and what they stand for

Credit: Unsplash

Ollie Rudden and Tara Gandhi
Deputy News Editor and Editor-in-Chief

A breakdown of candidates around the University of Glasgow, and where their parties stand on key issues.

For the third time in four years the UK is going to the polls for a general election, taking place on Thursday 12 December.

Students can register to vote both at home and at university, but can only vote in one constituency. Use The Guardian‘s tool to find out where your vote will make more of a difference. Students from Commonwealth states such as India and Australia can also register to vote in this upcoming election. The best option for students is to register for a postal vote, which will allow you to vote in your chosen constituency, no matter where you are on 12 December. Registration for the postal vote closes at 5pm on 26 November, and at 5pm on 21 November for Northern Ireland. The deadline for registering for a non-postal vote is midnight on 26 November. To register, all you need is your date of birth, address, and national insurance number. You can register without a national insurance number, but you may have to send further identification. Register here.

In 2017 only 57% of 18-24-year-olds voted, while 84% of over 70s voted. This election will decide much about this country’s future, and even turning out to spoil your ballot will boost the number of young people counted as having voted, putting young people’s issue back onto the table when it comes to policy.

Out of 650 MPs elected, seven will be elected within the boundaries of Glasgow, and 20 within the Greater Glasgow/Glasgow City Region. The following is a look at each constituency, who is standing in Glasgow’s West End this election, and a look at last year’s election result.

Glasgow Central

Current MP: Alison Thewliss (SNP)

Majority: 2,267

Districts: Anderston, Bellahouston, Blythswood Hill, Bridgeton, Calton, Camlachie, Cowcaddens, Charing Cross, Dalmarnock, Finnieston, Garnethill, Garrowhill, Gorbals, Hutchesontown, Laurieston, Merchant City, Park District, Ruchill, Strathbungo, Townhead

Who’s standing in 2019:

Alison Thewliss – SNP

Faten Hameed – Labour

Flora Scarabello – Conservative

Ewan Hoyle – Liberal Democrat

Elaine Gallagher – Scottish Green

Glasgow North

Current MP: Patrick Grady (SNP)

Majority: 1,060

Districts: Botany, Dowanhill, High Ruchill, Hillhead, Hyndland, Kelvinbridge, Kelvindale, Kelvinside, Lambhill, Maryhill, Woodlands, Woodside, Wyndford, Yorkhill

Who’s standing in 2019:

Patrick Grady – SNP

Pam Duncan-Glancy – Labour

Andrew Chamberlain – Liberal Democrat

Cass McGregor – Scottish Green

Glasgow North West

Current MP: Carol Monaghan

Majority: 2,561

Districts: Anniesland, Blairdardie, Broomhill, Drumchapel, Garscadden, Jordanhill, Knightswood, Netherton, Partick, Scotstoun, Temple, Thornwood, Whiteinch, Yoker

Who is standing in 2019:

Carol Monoaghan – SNP

Patricia Ferguson – Labour

James Speirs – Liberal Democrat

While all parties are yet to reveal their manifestos for this December’s election, some of the major ones have already hinted at some of their policies we may see if they are elected.

Education

Conservatives: Expected to drop a pledge that would cut tuition fees in England from £9,250 to £7,500, according to a report from The I, and keep the status quo regarding higher student loan repayments after earning £25,750 annually, opting to focus on skills and technical education.

Labour: Key pledge of abolishing tuition fees and bringing back student grants, in line with their previous manifesto. They also hope to create a National Education Service, based on the NHS, to provide cradle to grave education.

Liberal Democrats: Bring back student maintenance loans for those from low income backgrounds, NHS bursaries for students and support EU educational projects such as Erasmus+.

SNP: Support tuition-free higher education in Scotland and have kept higher education tuition-free for Scottish and EU students in Scotland since coming to power in 2007.

The Green Party: Abolish student fees and restore block grant funding for all subjects. They would also write off any outstanding student debt and reformat the way maintenance loans are given.

Brexit Party: End tuition fees for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEM) courses, scrap interest paid on student loans, end funding for degrees that don’t lead to at least two-thirds graduate employment.

Brexit:

Conservatives: Implement Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and leave the EU by 31 January 2020, entering a transition process towards fully leaving. Free Trade Agreement talks will begin in June 2020 and it is unknown what such an agreement will entail concerning the rights of students in the UK and EU regarding things like Erasmus.

Labour: Renegotiate the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement, of which they hope to remain a part of the EU customs union and have a close alignment with the single market. Labour then hope to put this new deal to the public in a second referendum, with the option to remain.

Liberal Democrats: Revoke Article 50 and ultimately remain in the EU without a referendum if they win. If not, they will support a second referendum with the option to remain.

SNP: Support a second referendum and remaining in the EU, as well as a second independence referendum for Scotland in 2020, with the goal of having an independent Scotland as a member of the EU.

The Green Party: The Green Party overwhelmingly wish to remain in the EU, and want any deal put to a public vote.

Brexit Party: Support a no-deal Brexit to get a clean break from the EU and instead focus on negotiating a simple FTA with the EU.

Immigration

Conservative: Introduce an “Australian points-based system” for both EU and non-EU immigrants hoping to come to the UK. Boris Johnson and the International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, recently brought up the idea of a free movement zone between the UK and Australia and possibly other countries in the Commonwealth, such as Canada and New Zealand; but this was shot down by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrision.

Labour: Scrap “unrealistic” caps on immigration and take students out of immigration numbers. They promised to end freedom of movement in 2017, but it is unclear whether this policy remains for 2019.

Liberal Democrats: Scrap caps on immigration, take students out of immigration numbers, and keep freedom of movement in its current form. They also want to introduce postgraduate visas for STEM students and allow the devolved administrations to sponsor other visas to increase immigration in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

SNP: Devolve immigration to Scotland so the country has its own immigration system, similar to how Quebec has its own immigration system in Canada.

The Green Party: Reduce the strength of current migration policy, and treat those who have entered the country both legally and illegally the same. Abolish detention centres, and never split up families through deportation, unless public safety is an issue.

Brexit Party: Freeze on unskilled workers coming to the UK for five years, Australian points based system, and a 50,000 cap on annual immigration as a whole.

Wages

Conservatives: £10.50 minimum wage by 2024 for over 21s.

Labour: £10 minimum wage immediately for all ages, cut the average working week to 32 hours/4 days in the next 10 years and ban zero-hour contracts and unpaid internships.

Liberal Democrats: Consult on a real living wage, avoid unpaid internships, ban “abusive” zero-hour contracts.

SNP: Support increasing the minimum to the actual living wage, ban zero-hour contracts, devolve employment powers to Holyrood.

The Green Party: Living wage for all, including under 21s. They also propose the creation of a Citizen’s Income Fund, payable to all citizens, similar to the one trialled in Finland.

The Brexit Party: Have not yet released any information on their stance on the National Minimum Wage.

Environment

Conservatives: Net-zero emissions by 2050.

Labour: Carbon neutral by 2030, with updated insulation for all homes and enough solar panelling across the country to cover 22,000 football pitches, all as a part of their “green industrial revolution” policy.

Liberal Democrats: Creating a governmental department for the climate crisis, and a pledge for net-zero emissions by 2045.

SNP: Carbon neutrality by 2040, net-zero emissions by 2045, a commitment of £60m to change infrastructure to allow more positive changes to be made, including the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars.

The Green Party: Net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, 70% of domestic waste recyclable in the next five years, banning fracking.

The Brexit Party: The Brexit Party do not have any clear climate policy or goals.