Who is standing in the general election across Bedford Borough? What we know so far

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No 10. Downing Street. Image: Sergeant Tom Robinson RLC:MOD, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons
No 10. Downing Street. Image: Sergeant Tom Robinson RLC:MOD, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With the news yesterday that there will be a General Election on 4 July 2024, details of who will be running in constituencies across Bedford Borough are starting to come in.

Read: Breaking news: July election confirmed by PM Rishi Sunak

While some candidates are still to be announced, here’s what we know so far.

Additional reporting by John Guinn, Local Democracy service.

Bedford & Kempston

Labour

Mohammad Yasin, the current MP for Bedford & Kempston, has announced he will be standing again. Mr Yasin has been MP since 2017, having narrowly beaten the then Conservative MP for the patch Richard Fuller.

“It has been a privilege to be your Member of Parliament since 2017,” he said. “Together we have achieved extraordinary outcomes despite the onslaught of cuts forced upon us by the Conservative Government.

“We have saved Bedford Hospital’s A&E and maternity units, we have fought and won acknowledgement that Bedford needs an inpatient mental health facility and now have the funding and a location for the facility, and we have secured additional funding for our Police force.

“All of these were election commitments I made and together we have delivered.

“But this General Election brings a vital opportunity to go so much further! We have seen the cost of living crisis spiral out of control under this Conservative Government with Rishi Sunak having no answers.

“There is a better alternative than this slow, inactive, scandal-ridden Government that decides policy based on what they think is popular and not on what the country needs.”

Mr Yasin has already highlighted some key areas for his campaign that he says will “support residents and businesses across Bedford and Kempston”, which include securing investment in the area, increasing mental health provision and better policing.

He also wants to tackle GP and dentist waiting times and tackle energy bills.

Liberal Democrats

The leader of Bedford’s Liberal Democrats, Cllr Henry Vann (De Parys) will be fighting their corner for his party in Bedford & Kempston.

Henry Vann, a local teacher, lives in Bedford with his wife and two children. He has been a Bedford Borough councillor since 2011 and works with a number of local charities and musical groups.

Speaking about the forthcoming campaign, he said: “Nationally and locally, the Conservatives are determined to raise taxes and drive the public sector into the ground whilst overseeing an economic disaster.

“They have no councillors at all in the Bedford and Kempston seat and didn’t even get a third of the vote in the last Mayoral Election. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will offer a real alternative to the Conservatives.

“We have a track record of successfully fighting the closure of Bedford Hospital, campaigning with residents to successfully save Putnoe Walk-In Centre and win funding for GP services.

“A vote for us will help us continue standing up for health services in Bedford.”

Conservative

Cllr Pinder Chauhan has been campaigning in the area for some time and was officially selected as their candidate in August 2023.

She told the Bedford Independent that she is, “delighted that the people of Bedford and Kempston don’t have to wait long until they get to have their say on who should represent them in Parliament.”

Cllr Chauhan grew up in Bedford and says the town has been her place of worship for the last 25 years is in Bedford.

She has spoken already about her “enormous honour” to be selected as the Conservative candidate in January 2023. “It is clear to me that residents are tired of their current Labour MP. After seven years, they are ready for a change,” she adds.

“Quite frankly, Bedford and Kempston have been left behind.

“With an ineffective Labour MP and until recently, 14 years of a local Council controlled by the Liberal Democrats and Labour, there have been cuts to maintenance budgets, a lack of investment and a lack of vision, too.

“We have not progressed like the other counties surrounding us. My campaign has always been about unlocking Bedford and Kempston’s potential. As a mother, I want to make this the best place to live, work, run a business and bring up my family.

“I want women, our elderly and our young people to feel safe living here.”

Cllr Chauhan highlights county lines and knife crime, as well as the closure of HMP Bedford in favour of a newer prison elsewhere in Bedfordshire as priorities, as well as investment in the area, and the opportunities EWR brings.

Reform UK

Matt Lansley replaced Maggie Moriondo as the Bedford and Kempston Reform UK candidate after Magiie withdrew on Wednesday, 5 June.

Matt is a businessman who is “standing up” for what he believes in to give Bedford a “viable” alternative to the status quo.

Read: Bedford and Kempston Reform UK candidate withdraws at 11th hour

Green

Ben Foley has been a Green councillor in Bedford since 2019 (currently the Greyfriars Ward) and is convenor of the group of Green councillors on Bedford Borough Council.

Independent

Tarek Javed a former RAF aircraft engineer and crew chief with the Royal Squadron, has decided to run as an independent candidate for Bedford & Kempston in the forthcoming general election. He believes Bedford has been let down by the main political parties over the years.

Workers Party

Former Northampton councillor and Lawyer Prince Sadiq Chaudhury is standing in Bedford & Kempston for the Workers Party.

Further candidate announcements are expected to be made in the coming days. We will also be covering each candidate separately to cover their local priorities to make sure Bedford Independent readers are fully informed.

North East Bedfordshire

Conservative

Richard Fuller MP has confirmed he will be standing again as MP for the seat he has held since 2019 when long-standing Conservative MP, Alistair Burt, stepped down.

The area has been ‘blue’ since its formation in 1997, aside from a few months towards the end of Mr Burt’s tenure when he became an independent after being stripped of his whip by the then PM Boris Johnson.

In a short statement to the Bedford Independent, Mr Fuller said: “I am looking forward to meeting the residents of North Bedfordshire to discuss my record over the last five years, to make the case to vote for me to be their best representative in Parliament and to return a Conservative government at the election.”

Liberal Democrats

Joanna Szaub-Newton a Parish Councillor and scientist has been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Bedfordshire.

Joanna Szaub-Newton lives in the North Bedfordshire constituency and is a local parish councillor, businesswoman and scientist, specialising in environmental and health diagnostics, having also helped to develop the lateral test for COVID.

She is a keen runner and lives in Great Denham with her family.

Speaking of her selection, Joanna Szaub-Newton said: “Just last year, in the Wyboston by-election, the Liberal Democrat vote share went up by 19.9 percentage points whilst the Conservative vote went down by 12.9 percentage points, and Labour scored just 34 votes.

“We are well placed to challenge the Conservatives who have taken our communities for granted for too long. I will fight for better GP access, better economic management – remember our Conservative MP was a Treasury Minister in Liz Truss’s ill-fated Government – and a fair deal for all.”

Labour

While an official statement following yesterday’s election announcement has yet to be made, we do know that Uday Nagaraju has been selected as the Labour candidate for North Bedfordshire. Indian-born Mr Nagaraju has had a successful career in tech consulting since moving to the UK

Green

Philippa Fleming has confirmed she will again be standing as the Green candidate the NE Bedfordshire constituency.

Announcing her selection, Philppa said: “I have been struggling with my health this year and spent too much time in Bedford Hospital watching our NHS disintegrate before my eyes. The staff are running on less than empty,being expected to look after violent and chronically mentally unstable patients.

“I was attacked by one very unstable patient in one stay – an experience not unique to me. The failure to provide adequate mental health care for both adults and children has to be one of the most damning failures of this government – though it is hard to chose just one.

“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but the NHS is no longer a preventative service it’s reactionary. Obviously there are a lot of systemic issues in this country right now and they all deserve equal attention, but addressing our NHS has to be a priority.”

Further candidate announcements are expected to be made in the coming days. We will also be covering each candidate separately to cover their local priorities to make sure Bedford Independent readers are fully informed.

Mid-Bedfordshire

Labour

It seemed like the eyes of the world were on Mid Bedfordshire in October last year as Labour’s Alistair Strathern took the safe Tory seat.

Despite winning by a 1,129 majority he has confirmed he won’t be standing again in this constituency, instead heading to fight in the new Hitchin constituency.

Instead, the Labour Mid-Bedfordshite candidate will be former Luton councillor Maahwish Mirza. Speaking after his selection, Ms Mirza said: “I’m thrilled to be chosen to stand for Labour in Mid Bedfordshire.

“Like many in Bedfordshire, my family have always had strong links to our neighbouring towns and villages. I’ve loved exploring our beautiful Bedfordshire towns and villages throughout the years and take great pride in our county.

“I also, however, see the challenges faced by the local community after 14 years of a disastrous Tory government which has done little to truly deliver for our rural communities.

“In an area like Mid-Bedfordshire, it is vital that we make sure that public services are working for the needs of the local community.

“This is something that I hear regularly on the doorstep, so I am glad that we now have the chance to convey our plan for GP’s surgeries, local transport and policing, and advocate for the change a Labour government will make for the lives of people in towns like Woburn, Flitwick and Ampthill.

“Only a Labour government can deliver the change that Mid Bedfordshire needs: getting the NHS back on its feet, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in rural communities, and addressing the local infrastructure and housing crises.

“I will give voice to the hard-working people of this community and fight to make sure that jobs and opportunities are brought back to Mid Bedfordshire.”

Reform UK

Dave Holland stood as a Reform UK candidate in last year’s Mid Beds by-election. He said the role of Government to “create the opportunities that individuals need to thrive and succeed”.

Conservative

As predicted by the Bedford Independent, Blake Stephenson has been selected as the Tory candidate for Mid Bedfordshire.\

A Central Bedfordshire councillor since 2023, he sits on the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel and serves on the Shillington Parish Council.

Green

Cade Sibley stood as a Green in last year’s by-election when he said it’s “more important” to give people the option to vote for someone who will represent them and that he couldn’t just “stand aside”.

Liberal Democrats

Stuart Roberts is a former Deputy President of the NFU and a former Conservative councillor.

Further candidate announcements are expected to be made in the coming days. We will also be covering each candidate separately to cover their local priorities to make sure Bedford Independent readers are fully informed.

This article will be updated regularly if more candidates are announced.