Labour candidate highlights local plans amongst party’s national manifesto

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Mohammad Yasin
Mohammad Yasin. Image: Office of Mohammad Yasin

Labour’s Bedford candidate has insisted his plan is local, even with its national goals and targets.

Mohammad Yasin’s “Plan for Bedford and Kempston” is to “secure Bedford and Kempston’s future, begin construction on Bedford’s mental health facility, cut energy bills, recruit 13,000 new police officers and PCSOs, and timely GP and dental appointments”.

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The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) put it to Yasin that the examples laid out in his plan are not achievable by a Bedford MP on their own, and that he has only listed some of Labour’s national targets and policies.

“Securing mental health facilities back to Bedford,” he said was an example of a local target. Getting police back on the streets, I’m going to work with John Tizard, the new police and crime commissioner (PCC).

“The police should be walking around on the streets to tackle anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, and also scooters. The Labour government is going to recruit 13,000 new police officers, so we’ll have neighbourhood police in Bedford as well,” he said.

The LDRS pointed out that the chief constable has said on numerous occasions that he prefers educating e-scooter users over confiscation. The deployment of police officers and PCSOs is also a chief constable decision as it’s an operational one.

As the PCC has no remit to make operational decisions or issue operational instructions, Yasin was asked what he would do to convince the chief constable to do what he thinks is needed for Bedford.

“I’ll work with the new home secretary, it should come from the home secretary and the police chief constable as well,” he said.

The LDRS said the home secretary can’t overrule an operation decision made by a chief constable.

“I think the home secretary is ultimately in charge, and Yvette Cooper is absolutely brilliant,” Yasin said.

“I’ve had a discussion about neighbourhood policing with Yvette before, and as soon as we win the election I will be knocking on her office door again and asking her to help us.

“We must have police back on the streets and this is Labour’s plan we’re going to recruit 13,000 new neighbourhood policing, and will be on the beat to be proactive rather than reactive,” he said.

“So we would stop the crime happening rather than investigating afterwards, this is our plan. When the Labour government gets in we’ll get more teachers, obviously we’ll get more than our fair share in Bedford,” he added.

The LDRS asked Yasin whether with all the private schools in Bedford is he in favour of charging VAT on school fees, or if he would vote against it.

“We need to improve state schools, and the money has to come from somewhere,” he replied. “I understand the contribution of local independent schools in Bedford.

“I’ve also been talking with the local council, and they think the impact [pupils leaving] is not as big as some people think

“We must improve the other local schools as well because the lack of funding for the local schools is very damaging. I believe that you need to improve state schools as well,” he said.

The other candidates standing in Bedford are:

  • Prince Sadiq Chaudhury – Workers Party
  • Pinder Chauhan – Conservative
  • Ben Foley – Green Party
  • Tarek Javed – Independent
  • Matt Lansley – Reform UK
  • Henry Vann – Lib Dem

The election will be held on 4 July.

Bedford Borough Council was approached for a comment, but no one was available.