In at number four was a reply from the Conservative candidate. Maybe I should finish with a post showing cardboard cut-outs for the candidates that don’t reply!
Thank you for writing to me with your questions. To be as clear as possible, I will respond to each individually.
1. I believe in equality before the law and supported the introduction of civil partnerships because I strongly believe gay couples should have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. I would not, however, vote for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill because, as a Christian, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.
2. The current system does not provide fair justice because it in fact provides no justice in these cases. It urgently needs reform. It is vital that we get this tiny number of national security civil damages claims heard properly by a judge which they cannot be at the moment without releasing highly sensitive intelligence material into open court.If we do not do this the taxpayer will have to pay out millions of pounds to people who have not proved their case and may have terrorist connections. And we will never know whether there is truth in some of the serious allegations that have been brought alleging that the UK has been involved in mistreatment of detainees.
3. We should take every step that is necessary to keep the country safe. We shouldn’t put our civil liberties at risk by doing so, but where there are gaps that need to be plugged, we need to plug those gaps. I believe this legislation is vital to help catch paedophiles, terrorists and other serious criminals.
4. As a businesswoman with 31 years experience, I think it’s hugely important that business is transparent and free of corruption. I would carefully consider any legislation or regulation that would improve business practice.
5. I believe the NHS is our most precious national asset. That is why I am pleased that the Government is increasing investment in the health service to £12.5 billion over the next four years. I will fight locally and nationally to protect our NHS and hospitals.
6. I am pro-life, but I would note this is not an issue that is going to be revisited during this Parliament.
7. The role of a local MP is to be a strong local champion in Westminster for your constituency. I have spent the last five years campaigning with local residents and campaign groups to fight plans for inappropriate development in Eastleigh. The role of an MP in the planning system is to represent local peoples’ concerns and I believe a Conservative MP would provide a strong counterbalance to the Lib Dem Borough Council that is responsible for planning in Eastleigh.
8. I am pleased that the Conservatives are committed to being a green government, whilst also doing all we can to keep energy bills as low as possible. We have established the Green Investment Bank and published ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions, setting an example to other European countries.
9. Please visit my website for more information on my campaign and core values. (http://www.vote4maria.co.uk/)
10. I will worry about that after Thursday! All my focus at the moment is on the next two days. But I would say that I fought the General Election in 2010 in Eastleigh and here I am again! Although I was disappointed to lose in 2010, I continued to live and campaign in the area about the issues I care passionately about: protecting the countryside and standing up for disability rights.
I hope I have answered all of your questions and am very happy for you to publish my responses. My only request would be that they are published in full and not taken out of context.
Another detailed reply, which is a good sign, and I am impressed that she stayed in the area after the last general election.