Page last updated at 18:39 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 19:39 UK

City candidates give their views

by Nic Rigby
BBC News website, Norwich

Ian Gibson
Former MP Ian Gibson, who stood down after expenses allegations

BBC News has taken a close look at the candidates for the forthcoming by-election in Norwich North which was prompted by the resignation of Labour 's Ian Gibson.

He stepped down after Labour's National Executive Committee barred Mr Gibson from standing at the next election amid criticism of his expenses claims.

The seat covers the northern suburbs of the city. It includes prosperous areas like Sprowston and Thorpe St Andrew as well as some of the city's poorer areas such as Mile Cross.

The candidates, for the by-election on Thursday 23 July, are:


Chris Ostrowski is defending the Labour constituency. The 28-year-old, who was working for John Lewis in London before winning the nomination, studied at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

He says: "Labour has an excellent record in Norwich. We have delivered seven Sure Start children's centres across the city - in 1997 there were none.

"Crime is falling and the number of police officers is rising.

"Labour have introduced Neighbourhood Policing to help clamp down on anti-social behaviour in our streets and parks and they are working.

"But there is still so much more to do. I know that Norwich is a great place to live, and it deserves the best."


Conservative candidate Chloe Smith was brought up in Norfolk and is now a governor of her former comprehensive school in Swaffham.

The 27-year-old, who lives in Norwich, studied English at the University of York and works for a leading international firm which advises private business and government departments.

Her hobbies include cycling and badminton and she also raises money for charity.

She says: "I know that faith in politicians is at an all-time low. I want to make it very clear that I won't play the system and won't bend the rules.

"I will abide by the standards that people expect politicians to live by. I haven't just arrived here for the by-election, I have a long-standing record of campaigning for our community.

"I will be a strong, local MP who will stand up for you."


Liberal Democrat candidate April Pond, 47, who lives in Shelton, near Norwich, was educated at Norwich High School and Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design.

She is a successful businesswoman who has run various businesses including cafes, restaurants and shops. Her first business was a sandwich round when she was 22. Her pastimes include jazz singing and she also has four dogs.

She says: "I think people know me as someone who gets things done. I think I would serve Norwich people the way they used to be served by Ian Gibson. I am good at problem solving.

"I firmly believe that Norwich is a wonderful place to live - but we have to fight to be heard in Westminster.

"My most serious concerns are in the way health and social services are being eroded. The permanent black and red alerts at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital because there are not sufficient beds is not acceptable."


The Green Party candidate is local councillor Rupert Read. The 43-year-old lives in Norwich and works as a lecturer in philosophy at the University of East Anglia.

Mr Read has written a number of books on philosophy and his hobbies including walking in the countryside, cycling and reading.

He says: "I passionately believe in the Green cause and believe what we are trying to do is vital to improve the quality of people's lives and improve the likelihood that human civilisation will last into the future."

He said people in Norwich North were concerned at plans for more homes and development which could eat into the green fields around the city: "We are saying Norwich must not get over-heated".

He also called for "genuine eco-housing, where we build sustainable communities well served by public transport and with the best possible facilities for safe cycling and walking".


Glenn Tingle, 46, of Sprowston, is standing as the candidate for the UK Independence Party. Mr Tingle runs a construction company and was involved in building the Chapelfield and Castle Mall shopping centres in Norwich.

Mr Tingle, who runs marathons for charity in his spare time, has also worked as a medic in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

He says: "I joined UKIP so I could represent the views of the majority of the people in this country - to have control of our borders and our fishing waters."

"I'm also prepared to put 10% of gross salary back into the constituency. I can't see how we can be governed by the European Parliament and we need to get control of immigration."


Norfolk-born former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray is standing on the platform Put An Honest Man into Parliament.

Mr Murray, 50, who enjoys cricket, reading and real ale, left his Foreign Office post in 2004 after criticising human rights abuses by his host government.

Mr Murray, who is currently Rector of the University of Dundee, says: "I am standing because I think the public realise that the political parties are not there to serve the public.

"The MPs are making a career out of politics, they are putting that before public service. I am looking to give people an alternative."


Libertarian Party candidate Thomas Burridge is, at 18-years-of-age, the youngest candidate in the election.

The Dereham sixth form pupil, who is planning to go to university, has a part-time job at Waitrose.

He says he decided to stand as a candidate for the Libertarian party "because of the massive debt we have at the moment, which we are all going to have to pay for".

"Enough is enough. We will give freedom back to the people of Norwich North."


Independent candidate Bill Holden is the only candidate in the by-election who fought for the seat at the general election in 2005.

The 52-year-old, who has an Open University degree in social sciences with politics, is a casual postal sorter with the Royal Mail.

He says: "I believe I could represent people in Norwich with more accountability than the parties do.

"I don't believe any party has a monopoly on good ideas. In terms of practice I will vote with my conscience. I would not be driven by party whips."


Plasterer Peter Baggs, 60, of Wombourne, near Wolverhampton, has decided to stand as an independent in the Norwich North by-election.

He says he decided to stand because "I am fully aware of politicians making promises and when they get elected they have a lapse of memory".

He added: "I have become annoyed by the politicians who instead of ruling for us seem intent on ruling over us and our wishes.

"A better way would be for us to choose real representatives who would respect and obey the majorities' wishes and run this country for us accordingly."


Anne Fryatt, from Leeds, is standing as the candidate for the None of the Above Party.

Ms Fryatt, who works in marketing, believes voters should have the option to not vote for any of the candidates in an election and instead tick a box: "None of the Above".

"Basically I am standing to facilitate the opportunity of having that on the ballot paper. It is also an opportunity to test the community, to see how responsive people are," she said.

"At the moment the electorate have the choice of being run over by a train or by a bus. A vote for us is a positive thing."


Alan "Howling Laud" Hope is the candidate for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

The 55-year-old party leader from Fleet in Hampshire has previously worked as the lead singer in the country and western band Three Wheels - which in the 1970s played the Theatre Royal in Norwich.

He says: "We've always said we are the official loonies, not to be confused with the other loony parties.

"We need the voters of Norwich North to show the way for the rest of the country and gain the return of our deposit which would be the first time."


The Reverend Robert West, 53, who lives in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, is standing as the candidate for the British National Party.

Former Army officer Mr West, who has a theology diploma and BSc in Economics, works as a speaker and supply teacher.

He says: "We will be fighting this by-election on local issues and how they are impacted by the mass immigration invasion of this country.

"We intend to establish the BNP as a name in the area in order to build for future elections."

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