News | LS interviews your council candidates

Stuart Long – Kirkstall – Independent

What experience would you bring as a councilor and what are your main priorities?

I have already campaigned with Ben Fisher [former Community Officer] for £1 and £2 bus fares. One of my greatest priorities is bringing more fares down and better quality of transport. Transport is a massive focus and good for social engagement.

Why are you running as an independent candidate?

I didn’t believe what the parties were putting out there was what the people need – they need a voice themselves. I’m not in alignment to or opposition to any particular parties – I got all of Leeds’ eight MPs to back a bus fares campaign.

What do you think about UKIP?

I think Nigel Farage is a very nice gentleman, he’s very media savvy but I don’t think UKIP’s very effective for the local area.

Apart from buses, what other policies are important for you?

I’m now looking for cheaper train services. I don’t think the trolleybus system is a very good idea and have been part of a campaign against it. Leeds needs a light rail system or underground system. I also want better social housing and to improve the quality of housing.

Do you think student voters are worth engaging with?

Students are very worth engaging with; they go through the exact same hardships as everyone else – I’m not very keen on noise at night but I’m very keen on an area being fruitful and developed. We do need to work with the housing surplus rather than building more.



Fiona Venner – Kirkstall – Labour

What would your priorities be as a councillor?

Transport; there is a bus that Kirkstall students get down Burley Road into town but it’s too expensive. Students also need to be adequately housed and not ripped off. I would work with the students union on this.

Do you think Kirkstall is a student friendly area?

Kirkstall is fairly student friendly but they need to be more integrated into the local community.

Why are you running?

I worked in mental health for 20 years (including working with Mind Matters at the students union). I rejoined the Labour Party following George Osborne’s first budget because it felt like an attack on the people I’ve supported. I want to be an advocate for people who are affected most by government policies – the most vulnerable in society.

Why should students vote Labour rather than one of the parties that’s further to the Left?

It’s important that Labour doesn’t lose control of Leeds City Council, which has had a massive reduction in grant from central government. The Council has vowed to protect services for children so it’s important not to split the left wing vote. The risk is not that an extreme left wing party will get in but that UKIP will.

Do you think students are politically apathetic?

I’m always shocked when I hear students aren’t going to vote. I would like to work with the students union on how to engage students in voting. Alice Smart is very in touch with students’ needs and standing in Armley.

Why should students vote?

Local elections matter as much as general elections. Students’ debt and the lack of jobs are really important issues.



Tanis Belsham-Wray – Hyde Park and Woodhouse – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

What is the biggest issue for students in Leeds?

The privatization of education and being unable to afford to live without a second job to top it up.

What are your priorities?

Making housing more affordable and improving housing conditions. I moved to Leeds as a student and students being exploited. We need rent control.

What about crime?

If landlords were held accountable you’d have decent alarms, locks and doors which would reduce crime. We also need affordable public transport late at night; serious crime often happens when people are walking home on their own late at night.

Why are you standing for TUSC?

I’m not interested in politics I just can’t stand the cuts and none of the main parties represented me. The Lib Dems sold out over tuition fees.

If you can’t stand the cuts then vote for TUSC or spoil your ballot paper.



Edward Hardy – Hyde Park and Woodhouse – Conservative

Why are you running?

To improve safety and because the area needs an accessible councillor who will hear about people’s concerns and be available. The last guy didn’t go to the meetings he was invited to.

What expertise would you bring to the role?

In 2012 I worked in the UK Youth Parliament with Boris Johnson. I enjoy campaigning.

How will you improve the safety of the area for students?

I want to address the street lighting. The Council changed the bulbs to be more energy efficient but they are now worse because the light is dimmer. I would also campaign for high visibility policing as well as more secure bike-racks on campus and more of them.

What are you doing about your studies?

The two work together and I want to be able to commit to both. I’ll fit meetings  around lectures to make sure I meet people.

You promised to hold forums with residents and students. What do you hope to achieve?

People don’t really know how to communicate. I would talk to the Union about getting a space for them or use Woodhouse Hall. I will take questions from students and raise issues that need to be addressed.

How will you be more accessible?

You can contact me on email and Twitter. I aim to be at as many events as possible. Plus I’ll be living on campus and meeting with people.



Jonathan Pryor – Headingley – Labour

Why are you running?

I want to represent students. I am a mature student so I have a unique perspective. I also enjoyed being a case worker and dealing with people’s issues.

What expertise would you bring to the role?

I live in the area and I know the issues well. I’ve lived in Hyde Park for three years.

How will you improve transport?

I want to increase the frequency of trains from Burley Park Station, to four every hour. Cycling infrastructure also needs improving, especially on Headingley Lane.

How do you plan on improving rubbish collection?

Around the Ash Road and Arc Pub area there are lots of wheelie bins. I want to implement a wheel back service so the bin men put bins back onto driveways. In the Burley Park area I think big bins would be better instead of individual ones and there should be a weekly collections service rather than fortnightly.

How do you plan on making the area safer?

We need to keep the street lights on and encourage people to report crime in the area so Police can map out popular routes for burglars.

You tweet about the flaws of other parties, recently about a UKIP candidate saying that homosexuality can be cured and that the Conservative Government need to own up to their mistakes. What makes Labour different and what will you bring to this role that other parties won’t?

The Lib Dems have sold out and UKIP are just the BNP in nicer suits.I want to look into bringing back Education Maintenance Allowance, reduce tuition fees and help students to get the living wage.




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