A THURROCK UKIP Councillor has announced that he intends to run against MP Jackie Doyle-Price in the snap General Election due to take place on 8 June.
Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s surprise announcement on Tuesday morning, Aveley and Uplands councillor Tim Aker released a statement later that day confirming he would put his name forward for the Thurrock constituency seat.
Cllr Aker, who last week called on Ms Doyle-Price to step down as MP for Thurrock over the Government’s announcement that they would be pressing ahead with Location C Route 3, ran against Ms Doyle-Price in 2015, missing out by less than 1,000 votes as he finished third.
Cllr Aker said: “The date 8 June will be Thurrock’s referendum on the EU and the Thames Crossing. Anyone that wants to leave the EU or opposes the Thames Crossing will have only one choice on the ballot paper. While I have always campaigned to leave the EU and fought against the new Thames Crossing, our Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price wanted to stay in the EU and her stance on the Thames Crossing has let many residents down.
“In 2015 Jackie Doyle-Price won on the fear of the SNP and a promise that she had stopped the new crossing. Now both of these have been proved otherwise, voters will be able to decide who they want as their MP, me as a hardworking local person or Jackie Doyle-Price, whose record speaks for itself. It’s time for Thurrock to decide.”
In the 2015 election, Labour candidate Polly Billington placed second just 536 votes behind Ms Doyle-Price, and Thurrock Labour Vice Chair Lee Watson said he also welcomed the news of a snap election in June.
He added: “We are ready to fight this election. Thurrock has had to put up with seven years of Tory neglect. We have seen Children’s Centres closed, the Grays walk-in centre closed, vulnerable elderly residents hit with a new charge of up to £780 per year to live in sheltered housing. All the while, our Tory MP completely refuses to stand up for her constituents on any of the big issues such as the new Thames Crossing.
“It’s time to have an MP that represents Thurrock in Westminster, not one that represents Westminster in Thurrock. The only way we’ll get that is with Labour.
“Our campaign is already underway. We will be talking to residents and campaigning for a better, cleaner and safer Thurrock than the one we’ve got under the Tories.”
However, Ms Doyle-Price said she was looking forward to the election, and backed the decision by Prime Minister May.
She said: “I welcome this election. It is in the national interest that the country elects a strong and stable Government as we negotiate Brexit. With Labour threatening to vote against the final Brexit agreement the Prime Minister is entitled to seek the endorsement of the country to strengthen her hand in these important negotiations with Europe. If you support a stronger and better Britain, I invite you to support the Conservatives in this election.”
On the subject of the crossing she said more people should have joined her in supporting crossing Route 4, and that failure to do so resulted in the route no one wanted.
She added: “The Government believes that by getting the traffic moving we will go a long way to sorting out the air quality issues. I am going to hold them to that. If the Government is going to impose a major new road on us it needs to take responsibility for our air quality. I will be demanding meetings with Ministers in DEFRA and in the Department of Transport to make sure that they take action to improve our air.”