GE2017 | 500 Words: Richard Burden – Labour – Northfield


As part of our 2017 General Election coverage, we have contacted each candidate standing in Northfield, Bromsgrove, Edgbaston and Selly Oak constituencies asking them to contribute to this election’s ’500 Words’ series. 

Each candidate has been invited to describe themselves and their campaigns in their own words. Their submissions will be published without editing, in the order that they are received. Should they be longer than 500 words, they will be cropped.


Richard Burden – Labour – Northfield

In this area the issues at stake in this election go beyond party labels.  Your vote will be about the kind of MP you want to represent you. The bond between the individual MP and constituency is at the heart of our democracy. It means electing someone who is rooted in the community they represent, who is known to local people and who is trusted by them. It’s the difference between having an MP who is in touch and one who is not.

The Conservatives would have you believe that this doesn’t matter. Here and elsewhere in Birmingham they have parachuted in candidates from London and beyond who have no track record of work around here. All the  Conservatives want you to hear are their national campaign slogans and then for you to do as you are told by voting for whoever they have decided to put up for election.

I don’t think that is good enough. People around here deserve more respect. In all the years I have been an MP my approach has always been different.

This is my home. I live here. When Governments or the Council make decisions that affect this area they affect me and my family. I am a local voice who wants the best for my community. That means:

  • Protecting our NHS with the funds it needs to provide quality healthcare for all. I oppose Conservative plans to penalise people needing social care.
  • Backing a great education for every child. Labour has already forced the Conservatives into a U-turn on school cuts but they are still threatening school meals so there’s still so much more to do. ·
  • Supporting apprenticeships and opportunities for young people. Just a few months ago I intervened when new rules threatened to stop all Birmingham colleges from offering apprenticeships.
  •  Keeping our streets safe. Conservative cuts have hit our local Police hard. Along with other Labour MPs I stopped the Conservatives making even worse cuts to our Police but that is not enough. I want to see more officers and PCSOs on our streets.
  • Building the affordable homes to rent and buy that people need, together with action to fix the roads and make public transport cleaner, safer and smarter.
  • Making sure the Government delivers a Brexit deal that is right for our local economy and jobs.

These things mean I am active on the national scene too, as Shadow Transport Minister holding the Government to account and asking Ministers over 400 questions in Parliament in the past year.

Most of all though, to me, being an MP means being your champion. I have taken up 17,000 cases brought to me by local people in the past seven years alone. It means standing up for our area, in the good times and the bad ones, – whoever is in Downing Street. These are the Labour values to which I have always been true as your MP and they are why I ask for your continued support on June 8th.

See also:

Candidates 500 Words Election News Results

General Election 2017 Events & Hustings in South West Birmingham

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