WE asked the candidates who have so far declared they are standing for the Whitehaven and Workington constituency in the upcoming General Election to reveal their top three priorities and one policy commitment.

Here's what they had to say...

Andrew Johnson (Conservative)

News and Star: Andrew Johnson (Conservative)Andrew Johnson (Conservative) (Image: Submitted)

Main priorities:

1. Ensure that the new coking coal goes ahead to provide 500 new well-paid jobs for local people, along with potentially 1,000+ more jobs in the wider supply chain. These are jobs that can be delivered now, not vague promises about future green jobs. The new mine will also bring in significant investment to the local area and support the wider economy such as our town centres.

2. Deliver new nuclear at Moorside through the deployment of up to four Rolls Royce Small Modular Reactors, along with supporting industries such as green hydrogen production and synthetic fuel production, with the latter being a genuine alternative to fossil-fuel based petrol and diesel.

3. Improve transport links with the rest of the county, and the wider UK, through the upgrade to the coastal railway line between Carlisle and Barrow, and major improvements to our road network along strategic routes like the A595, A66 and A5086.

Policy commitment:

Reforming adult social care is absolutely vital not only to ensure that we can continue to deliver the best care possible, but we relieve the pressure on the NHS through delayed discharges from hospitals. I will be a constant campaigner to finally make this happen.


Josh MacAlister (Labour)

News and Star: Josh MacAlister (Labour)Josh MacAlister (Labour) (Image: Submitted)

Main priorities:

My top three priorities were informed by thousands of conversations with people and businesses across West Cumbria.

1. Action to bring down bills by setting up GB Energy to grow our domestic clean energy production for cheaper energy and a massive investment in home insulation to create warmer homes in West Cumbria, saving people hundreds of pounds a year off energy bills.

2. Protecting and improving local NHS services, including maintaining a fully-staffed, fully operational, 24/7 A&E at West Cumberland, hundreds of extra evening and weekend appointments a week to get waiting lists down, getting more dentists treating NHS patients, improving GP access and recruiting more doctors and nurses.

3. Backing new nuclear and industry to create good quality, unionised, long-term jobs in West Cumbria. I'm already bringing together local business leaders to get us ready to bid for a major investment to expand the Port of Workington, which could transform West Cumbria's economy, and I'll start banging on doors in Westminster for new nuclear on day one if I'm elected as your MP.

Policy commitment:

Labour’s no. 1 policy commitment is to deliver economic stability after years of chaos under the Tories.


Jill Perry (Green Party)

News and Star: Jill Perry (The Green Party)Jill Perry (The Green Party) (Image: Submitted)

Main priorities:

1. A safe, warm and truly affordable home is a priority for everyone. We need protection for renters through rent controls and end to no fault evictions. The planning system is broken and should be fixed so that new housing is the kind that people need, in places where they need them. Existing housing must be well-insulated.

2. One of my priorities is to defend our NHS from creeping privatisation and make sure people have access to free healthcare. We will push for a properly funded NHS to bring down hospital waiting times and provision of more GPs and NHS dentists.

3. A fair and kind society is important for me. We need a fairer tax system which means those with the broadest shoulders will carry more of the financial burden. But the cost-of-living crisis means we must push for immediate measures to help people address the alarming increase in the cost of day-to-day living.

Policy commitment:

Of course, we are the Green Party so our commitment to action on climate change and protecting the natural world is non-negotiable. We need to do this by stopping damaging developments and funding public transport improvements to make it more frequent, more reliable and more user-friendly. We will also act to make active travel (cycling and walking) safer and more attractive.  Our Green MPs will push the next Government to be bold on climate action.


Chris Wills (Liberal Democrat)

News and Star: Chris Wills (Liberal Democrat)Chris Wills (Liberal Democrat) (Image: Submitted)

Main priorities:

1. Lib Dem policy is to build 150,000 social homes a year in the UK by the end of the next Parliament. I would add that Central Government should give Local Authorities grants to buy up and retrofit existing housing stock.

2. Fix the NHS – and a key way to do that is to fix Social Care.

3. Build a dual-carriageway from Carlisle to the west coast. This would even improve public transport with fast bus services.

Policy commitment:

Lib Dem policy promises free retrofits for low-income homes. My commitment to you as your MP will be to make this happen using local materials, locally trained people and new local jobs.  I have a plan to purchase wool from our farmers – who are currently struggling to sell it – and turn it into the highest quality home insulation material.

One way to gather the wool can be through wool co-operatives to ensure a steady and fair price for farmers. This process will create new local jobs in a processing centre.

Next, the treated wool is formed into the actual insulation material – more local jobs.

In conjunction with local Further Education colleges, who are already interested, local people will be trained as home insulation fitters.

More people will be trained and employed as home insulation surveyors.  This is win, win, win all the way.  And remember the starting point is our wonderful farmers who really need more diversification to survive to give us great food.  It’s a promise I’ll keep if you vote me in.