‘Local issues for local people’ – Meet Ray Blake, the Independent candidate for Hitchin and Harpenden

Ray Blake

Ray Blake - Credit: Archant

The Independent Hitchin and Harpenden candidate standing in next month’s General Election will be at Hitchin Town Hall tomorrow, and says he wants to be a voice for the local community.

Ray Blake will be in the Lucas Room at the Brand Street site to discuss issues with local residents.

Financial adviser Mr Blake, who is an Ickleford parish councillor, exercised his democratic right to stand after concerns about cuts in education.

He told the Comet: “I am worried about the proposed cuts in education.

“I want to be another voice, and I want to open a dialogue. It might been seen as an impossible task, but I am working hard to listen to local issues.

“It does concern me there are not more independents in Westminster. I want to be a voice for the people.”

Mr Blake wants additional funds of £10 billion into schools and education, and insists it could be paid for by reducing tax relief on pensions.

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He also believes in a second referendum, explaining: “I believe it right within our democracy to return to the electorate and hold a second referendum to make sure the majority of the UK still wish to exit the EU – this I believe is right once the terms of our exit have been agreed.”

The 50-year-old says he has not had election leaflets printed due to the short timescale between PM Theresa May calling the election and the polling date of June 8.

“However, this I feel has not hindered me – as social media, meet and greets and the Hitchin hustings on Friday, June 3, will allow me to communicate to local people,” he said.

“The usual choice comes from the three main parties, and I know overturning a 20,000 majority is a massive challenge.

“Having said that, nearly 20,000 members of our community did not vote in 2015.

“Is this because they do not feel they are being represented properly by the three main political parties?

“I want to be a voice for our local community and do all I can – as many friends and family have told me they do not feel they have been well represented over recent years by their MP and wish to have somebody that concentrates on local issues for local people.

“I feel being an independent candidate will allow me to stand up for the beliefs of our community and will no doubt bring more publicity especially if I am successful.”

Mr Blake says he has plenty of life experience and no desire for higher office, adding: “I wanted to stress I am happy to serve the community for a minimum 10 years.

“I have no other political ambitions and if I am still asked to remain as local MP after this time of course it would be an honour to serve.”

Mr Blake will be talking more about his policies at Hitchin Town Hall between 10am and 1pm tomorrow.

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