I have sent the following letter to the Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News:
Two letters in last week’s Weekly News particularly caught my eye. The first, from D Alder, asked the views of Halton’s Parliamentary Candidates in relation to Trident and Britain nuclear deterrent. The second, from Harold Mercer, misrepresented the Conservative Party’s position on overseas aid. I thought it would be helpful to reply to both.
On Trident; I support the replacement of the Trident nuclear system. I also support the Proliferation Treaty and would welcome a reduction in our weapons arsenal, but I believe that Britain needs it own, independent, modern, nuclear deterrent. I hope we never have to use it, but I believe we should always have it to safeguard the security of our people.
On overseas aid, the position is very different from that set out by Mr Mercer. We have promised to protect two budgets if we come into office; health and overseas aid. We are committed to achieving the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income on aid by 2013. Our top priority will be to ensure that every single pound of taxpayers’ money delivers the maximum impact. We will move towards results-based aid, where money is handed to governments only when development results have been achieved. We will focus our aid on the countries where it will make the biggest difference, and spend £500 million a year to save lives by tackling malaria; a cause championed by local Conservative MP Stephen O’Brien. We believe in honouring our obligations to the poorest around the world.
As the people of Halton decide who to support at the next election, I believe they deserve the very best information about those of us who seek their vote. I am hoping to have a number of opportunities to debate with my fellow candidates during the campaign to discuss these issues and many others, meet with as many voters as possible on the doorstep (as I have been doing since November 2008) and answer your questions (which you could email me via my blog; http://benjaminjohnjones.blogspot.com).
This election offers us the perfect opportunity to give Halton and the country the change it desperately needs. I hope that together we can take it.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Halton