Election 2015 Q&A: UKIP’s Sargent wants reduced EU influence

UKIP candidate for Torridge and West Devon, Derek Sargent

UKIP candidate for Torridge and West Devon, Derek Sargent - Credit: Archant

In the latest of our features profiling each of the candidates for May’s General Election, we meet UKIP candidate for Torridge and West Devon, Derek Sargent

How long have you been active in politics?

Strangely enough, I have been interested in politics since my teenage years when I always stayed up late to watch the election results on TV. Later, travelling the world as a member of the Royal Marines and then the security industry, I was unable to play an active role in politics, but now I am retired, I am able to devote the necessary amount of time to becoming a candidate.

Why have you decided to stand for election?

I want to see a halt to the erosion of our national identity into the undemocratic European Union. This has been happening by subterfuge ever since the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1973 by the then Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath. We have since been subjected to even closer political union by the political establishment without we the British electorate having the chance to voice our concerns in a referendum. We are now in the situation where we have lost control of our borders, most of our legislation is formulated in Brussels and we are subjected to uncontrolled mass immigration.

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What are the major issues facing Torridge and West Devon between 2015-20?

Torridge and West Devon is the second largest constituency by area in England and encounters all the major problems associated with a mainly rural economy; low wages, expensive housing, high energy bills and poor job prospects. We are faced with an aging population who are suffering unnecessarily because of the savage cuts in funding by the present Tory/Lib Dem coalition. We have seen the closure of Care Homes and Day Centres for the elderly and cuts to the provision of public transport services which profoundly affect the mobility of elderly residents. This has been happening whilst £11 billion has been spent on our overseas aid budget each year.

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What would you like to see done to combat these?

We need to stimulate the local economy where people can create businesses, jobs and wealth and build affordable homes for our young people. To achieve this, we need to improve our communications with the rest of the country by making the A361 a dual carriageway. This will entice greater investment to the area and ensure more tourists visit our beautiful countryside all year round. If local businesses are to be successful, superfast broadband must be rolled out to the whole of the constituency, rural as well as urban. To the south of Okehampton, the provision of an alternative rail route between Plymouth and Exeter via Tavistock and Okehampton will revitalise the area and bring relief to the overcrowded roads.

How would your party deliver on this for the people of Torridge and West Devon?

UKIP wants to free the UK from the shackles of EU bureaucracy. Our fishing industry, which once fished 80% of Europe’s fishing grounds and is now restricted to just 13% of the fish caught, will be rejuvenated if we leave the EU. Our farming industry, which presently receives just 50% of the contribution Britain makes to the Common Agricultural Policy will still receive the farm payments as now but will be free of overbearing EU regulations. We will campaign to get rid of the Climate Change Act which has been responsible for covering our country side in uneconomic Wind Turbines and Solar Panels. Planning issues should be in the hands of local people who should decide on the type of new housing provision in the constituency and be able to decide on controversial planning applications such as the Knapp House Scheme.

In one sentence, what would you pledge to offer to the people of Torridge and West Devon should you be elected?

I pledge to put the people of Torridge and West Devon first, to uphold the highest standards in public life, to abide by the spirit as well as the rules on expenses and allowances, to continue to live in the constituency of Torridge and West Devon as I do now and not to enter into any other form of employment.

Why should people give you their vote?

It is time for change from the old establishment parties who are all led by out of touch professional politicians who have never worked outside of the political arena. I understand the fears and anxieties of the locals here in Torridge and West Devon and I promise to listen to them and act on their concerns.

Away from Politics, give us a quirky fact about yourself?

I conducted the late HRH Diana Princess of Wales around the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines in 1984 during parts of her visit to the centre. She was a very interesting and lovely lady.

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