BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Sunday, 25 April 2010 12:28 UK

Gurkhas join in election campaign in Maidstone

Gurkhas in Maidstone
The Gurkhas took their singers and dancers to Maidstone town centre

Gurkhas have joined in the election campaign in Maidstone to support the Liberal Democrat candidate for Ann Widdecombe's former Kent seat.

Lib Dem candidate Peter Carroll set up the Gurkha Justice Campaign, which last year won the right for the Gurkhas to settle in the UK.

Mr Carroll said the Gurkhas, who are based in Folkestone, travelled to Maidstone on Saturday.

"They brought all their musicians and dancers and it was like a carnival."

A major issue in Maidstone and Weald is the campaign to keep full maternity services at Maidstone Hospital.

Mr Carroll, Labour's Dr Rav Seeruthun and Conservative Helen Grant have all been involved in the hospital campaign.

'Big issues'

"Maidstone and the Weald has got a couple of big issues - one being the hospital," said Maidstone GP Dr Seeruthun.

"The second is the economy and we need to be in safe hands at the moment."

Ms Grant, who is running in the London Marathon in aid of the charity Tomorrow's People, spent Saturday delivering leaflets in the constituency.

She said her campaign was going well.

"It is wonderful," she said. "People are very engaged - very interested - and we have a sea of blue boards across the constituency."

Ms Widdecombe announced in 2007 that she would not stand for re-election in the seat she had held for the Conservatives since 1987.

In the 2005 election she won with a majority of 14,856.

The candidates for Maidstone and the Weald are: National Front: Gary Butler; Liberal Democrat: Peter Carroll; Conservative: Helen Grant; Green: Stuart Jeffery; UK Independence Party: Gareth Kendall; Labour: Rav Seeruthun; Christian Party: Heidi Simmonds.

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The Gurkhas, who are based in Folkestone, travelled to Maidstone on Saturday



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