Heywood & Middleton Constituency
Liz McInnes, the Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Heywood and Middleton, is hoping to get re-elected in the General Election so she can really “get stuck in”.
Liz was selected as the MP for Heywood and Middleton in October last year, following the death of former MP Jim Dobbin, and says that since her selection, the past six months have been hectic.
Speaking to Rochdale Online, she said: “The last six months have been hectic. I don’t think anything can prepare you for working in Westminster. There are all of these unwritten rules that you only learn when you get there so that was strange.
"This has been a complete change of career for me but I have enjoyed every minute of it and have enjoyed representing the people of Heywood and Middleton and I hope that I have done it to the best of my ability.”
Having only been in the job for over six months, Liz has already had a number of highlights.
She said: “The first day for me was a particular highlight. I got the chance to take part in a vote to recognise Palestine as a separate state so that was a momentous thing to do, especially on my first day. I also got selected to ask a question in PMQs so again that is a big thing and something I am proud of. I got to ask a question about the living wage because 40% of people in Heywood and Middleton don’t receive the living wage. That was a big thing for me.”
Despite winning the seat for Labour, UKIP slashed the majority to just 600 and Liz says that she was certainly surprised by that outcome.
She added: “I knew the vote at the by-election would be close but if I’m honest, I didn’t think it would be that close. Jim Dobbin’s majority was something like 6,000 so I expected it to drop but not necessarily by that much. I think with a by-election people may not take it as seriously as a general election because they know that it won’t affect who is in power, so it could have been that people used their vote as a protest vote. I think this general election is a completely different situation.”
If selected as the MP for Heywood and Middleton, Liz wants to continue with the work she has started in her brief time as the MP and “really get stuck into the job”.
Liz would focus on the economy, education and health as her main priorities but insists she always listens to the constituents and what they want.
“Going forward, if I were re-selected then I would build on the work that I have already done. I would try to get good quality jobs for people and would focus on ensuring that people received the living wage. I would also focus on the economy and GPs. We are living in a time were access to GPs is not getting any better and if we have a Labour government in May, then the NHS will also be looked at following its neglect from the Tory government.
“There are lots of issues on the doorstep but the main ones that come up time and time again are the economy, health and education. I will address whatever my constituents want me to,” said Liz.
Liz is out campaigning and encouraging people to keep the seat Labour.
She said: “People seem pleased to meet me when I am out and about. That is one of the things that I enjoy most about this job, it is going out and meeting people face-to-face and people appreciate it when you take the time to do that. Obviously I can’t meet every single constituent but I do what I can. Even people who don’t necessarily support me are nice and will have something to say.
“I think with a good campaign, leafleting, shoe leather worn out and the troops out then we can keep this seat Labour. Jim’s legacy would want this seat to stay Labour and I don’t think he would like to see it lost.”
For those who are unsure who to vote for, Liz wants voters to keep policies in mind.
She added: “I think it depends on the issues that people want addressing as to whether or not they vote for me. I will always say to someone who isn’t sure who to vote for, well what issues are you concerned about and then I will listen to them from there. A lot of young people are concerned with employment or education. Many young couples are concerned about the bedroom tax and that is something that Labour have said they will axe altogether.
“I won’t take any vote for granted. I am out campaigning and knocking on doors and doing what I can.”