Mark Hollinrake is the parliamentary candidate for the Green Party for Rochdale.
Speaking to Rochdale Online, Mark said: “I think it is important that the Green Party has a parliamentary candidate involved. If I am honest, I had no desire whatsoever to be an MP before I was approached but I was asked by my party if I would stand locally and after thinking it over, I said yes. It is important that the Green Party is involved and has a candidate.”
Mark, who was born and raised in Rochdale, has been involved with politics since the mid-80s and was previously a member of the Labour party.
He said: “Last year I stood as a candidate for Kingsway in the local election. That was the first time I had done that. I have been with the Green Party for about a year now. I left the Labour Party six years ago. I was one of people who was expelled from the Labour Party due to a disagreement with the then parliamentary candidate.
“After that I spent a few years looking at other parties to see who I could join and it was the Green Party whose polices were closet to my beliefs and what I agree with.”
If elected as the MP for Rochdale, Mark wants to get started with changing the town and would look at gathering a number of organisations together to take this forward.
He added: “If I was elected then the first thing I would want to do is host a gathering of organisations in Rochdale, so people like members of the council, the police, local businesses, tenants, housing associations and get everyone together to discuss how we can move the town forward. We need to bang our heads together and see what really needs to happen because something needs to be done.
“One of our biggest problems is unemployment and the lack of good paid jobs. Some people may say zero hours contracts are good, and yes they are for people like students but for those who want to raise a family and pay a mortgage, they are no good. We need proper jobs with proper wages. We also need small businesses to emerge. Companies like Rochdale Online did it and came from nothing and have prospered and we need to support small companies to do that.”
Despite not feeling confident that he will win the seat, Mark is not worried about any of the other parties. Despite UKIP creating a large presence in Heywood and Middleton, Mark thinks that the party aren’t too concerned with Rochdale.
He said: “UKIP aren’t bothered about the Rochdale seat as much as they are bothered about Heywood and Middleton. If we had the resources like UKIP do then we would be doing a huge campaign but we haven’t got those resources so we only do what we can. UKIP have got the resources but aren’t doing much in Rochdale so I really don’t think they care.
“I would tell people to really look at the mainstream parties and ask yourselves have they really represented you over the years. I don’t think we have had a decent MP in this town for 30-40 years and there hasn’t been much good representation of the town either. I don’t think we have had a good local council for a number of years either. Don’t get me wrong, there are people in the council that I get on with and I would work with them if I won to ensure that the town moves forward.”
When asked if the Green Party are in the election to win or to raise the profile of their group, Mark admitted that he doesn’t expect to win.
“I have nothing to lose. The only thing I have to lose is the deposit and apart from that, I have nothing to lose. If I am honest, I don’t expect to do well but if I were to win then it would be the biggest upset in political history ever. If people who believe in the Green Party policies vote for me then there is a chance I could win. We are at the top of the polls in terms of the amount of people who agree with our policies so if people voted based on that, then I could win.
“We currently have 120 members across Rochdale and Oldham. We only had 40 this time last year so it is also about raising our profile and increasing that membership,” said Mark.
For anyone who still isn’t sure who to vote for, Mark and the Green Party believe that a vote for them is a vote for change.
He added: “Everyone I have spoken to agrees with what I have said and a voting for me is a vote for change.”