Prospective Liberal Democrat MP for Guildford, Kelly-Marie Blundell, appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics South show last week. Hosted from the BBC’s Southampton studios by Peter Henley, Kelly-Marie’s fellow panellists were Flick Drummond, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South, and Chris Oxlade, Labour parliamentary candidate for Crawley.
Topics discussed included last week’s Budget, particularly the new First Time Buyers ISA, which Kelly-Marie welcomed as a good scheme to get people saving to buy each month. Kelly-Marie took the opportunity to highlight that Labour had not explained how their election pledges would be funded in contrast to the Liberal Democrats, who last week produced their own alternative budget.
She also flagged how Liberal Democrat policy had lifted many low earners out of income tax altogether by raising the personal tax allowance and the party was committed to raising this threshold further to £12,500. When Chris Oxlade bemoaned the state of tax credits, Kelly-Marie branded them an excuse for employers to pay people too little and called for them to be abolished entirely.
She went on to explain that the Liberal Democrats supported raising the threshold for higher rate taxpayers to £50,000. She also stated that by anchoring Liberal Democrat policy in the centre ground - cutting £50 billion less funding than the Conservatives have proposed and borrowing £70 billion less than Labour have planned - the party would keep the country on an even track.
In response to a news piece by a local Asperger Syndrome’s sufferer explaining how disabled people were experiencing discrimination and disability hate crime, she explained that the Liberal Democrats were the only party committed to introducing disability hate crime legislation and called for an awareness campaign to educate people against committing such crimes. She also said she supported more local council and police funding to tackle the crimes saying “Lack of funding should never be used as an excuse for (those with a disability) not having equality.”
When Peter Henley alleged that a vote for the Liberal Democrats in Guildford was only ever a protest vote she countered that between 2001 and 2005, Guildford had a Liberal Democrat MP and there was certainly the appetite to take the seat back from the Tories. She responded that the Liberal Democrats had been retaining and winning many seats in the local elections and warned that a Conservative majority would be detrimental to the country.
When the panel were asked by Peter Henley whether it was difficult to be “squeaky clean in politics and get everything right as it comes out of your mouth?”, Kelly-Marie responded “I don’t think we should put politicians on a pedestal and I admit to being human. If people want politicians that they can approach and can get to know, then we need to be as human as everybody else.”
Commenting on her participation in the programme, Kelly-Marie said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to present the Liberal Democrat case on this highly respected and long-running politics show. I hope that Guildford’s electorate enjoyed the opportunity to see me put forward my policies and “set out my political stall”.