The Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party pledge their commitments

The British general election is just around the corner, but what exactly are the parties promising for the East Asian community and the wider public?

Theresa May’s snap election on 8 June will see the British public heading to the polls to cast their vote for the party they believe will steer the country in the best direction. The Prime Minister’s sudden decision to hold an election was announced on 18 April, leaving voters little time to make their decision.

To find out more about what each major party has to offer, we asked the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party to present their parties’ pledges to the East Asian community and wider British public.

Representing their parties are:

  • Conservative Party – Alex Yip
  • Labour Party – Sonny Leong
  • Liberal Democrats – Phil Ling
  • Green Party – James Chan

Conservative Party – Alex Yip

Alex Yip is a Conservative Councillor for Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands and was Andy Street’s campaign lead for the region.

“Britain faces an incredible challenge over the coming few years- negotiating it’s exit with the European Union, extracting ourselves from political and economic treaties and policies that the country has decided to set aside. It is quite simply the greatest test that the country has had to face since 1945. We need to consider who we want to represent us, who we will send to the negotiating table against 27 other countries and how vital it is that we send the Prime Minister with a strong mandate and majority empowering them to negotiate from a position of strength. I believe this must be Theresa May and the Conservatives.

The Conservative party to me represents strong self determination- that we are responsible for our own destiny and if you work hard you will succeed on your own endeavours, that education is the cornerstone to the future of the country, and that a strong economy is vital for a strong country and that we need to spend within our means.

The national debt currently stands at £1.7 trillion- that twelve zero’s- or £26,000 for every man woman and child in the UK. The interest alone on this is £40 billion a year- and it is still going up. We need to stop spending more than the country receives in taxes and live within our means. We cannot continuing mortgaging the future, passing down this debt to future generations to deal with while being wasteful in how we use peoples hard earned money today. The Conservatives support small and medium businesses, have increased the personal tax allowance taking 3 million people out of paying tax all together, increased apprenticeships and have taken steps to cap welfare so that it pays to work.

We also stand by our pledge to spend 0.7 of our GDP on foreign aid. This goes to helps the poorest of the poor and those without which in turns makes the world safer, counters terrorism, and tackles problems such as disease, conflict and migration which are problems beyond any one country but affects us all. Difficult choices have to be made in the coming Parliament which will define the country for the next century. I would only trust Theresa May and the Conservative Party, which have the skills, strength and proven ability, to lead us during this vital time in our lives.”

Labour Party – Sonny Leong

Sonny Leong CBE is the Chair of Chinese for Labour. He is a member of the Development Board of Labour Party 1000 Club, and also sits on the Executive Committee of BAME labour.

“Not another one! ’Brenda from Bristol’ speaks for Britons sick of elections. I am sure many of you feel the same – so do I.

This snap election is totally unnecessary. It has nothing to do with Brexit but all to do with Tory Party management. Theresa May is not governing in the national interest but for her own political survival within her Party.

She has proved herself to be untrustworthy, by trying to get away with breaking a manifesto pledge on National Insurance and by calling an election she promised repeatedly not to hold.

She is asking us to vote for her so that she can deliver a strong and stable government. This was exactly what David Cameron asked us in the General Elections in 2015. The result is there for all to see – the referendum has the country totally divided and isolated. Instead of strong and stable government, we had an administration that was weak and wobbly creating an atmosphere of total chaos. Blaming everyone except themselves for the mess they created.

Not this time.

Now that it has been called, it gives us the opportunity to campaign for an alternative vision for Britain – one that is welcoming to the world; one that cares for the weak, unfortunate and poor; one that will challenge the establishment in cosying up to tax dodgers, right wing media and broadcasters. We will expose seven years of broken promises by this wicked and cruel Tory government.

The British Chinese community have a choice on June 8th to elect a Labour Government.

Under the Tories, the NHS and social care have been pushed into a state of emergency, with soaring waiting lists and hospitals in financial crisis. Our elders in the community now have to wait longer for a GP appointment – this is not fair on them who have called this country their home. Labour will integrate the NHS and social care for older and disabled people, funding dignity across the board, and ensure parity for mental health services.

Education is the number one priority in any Chinese family and we have seen schools across the country face cuts and class sizes are rising, while those young people who want to go to university face huge debts. Labour will ensure there is universal childcare to give all children a good start in life, allowing greater sharing of caring responsibilities and removing barriers to women participating in the labour market. Labour will bring about the progressive restoration of free education for all; and guarantee quality apprenticeships and adult skills training.

House building has fallen to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s. Most young professional British Chinese are not able to buy their first homes. Labour will build over a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes, through our public investment strategy. Labour will end insecurity for private renters by introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants

And our safety has been compromised with more than 20,000 police officers cut since 2010. Some of the most serious and violent offences are on the rise together with an ever increasing rise of racist and hate crimes targeted against the Chinese community, Theresa May and her government have no plans to bring in more police officers. Labour will protect police budgets, and get 10,000 more officers on the beat to keep us safe in the community.

Labour will continue to fight for every British Chinese vote up to the close of polls on 8 June. We will deliver a better, fairer Britain where prosperity is shared, everyone is rewarded fairly for hard work and where a home to rent or buy is affordable. We will build a Britain for the many not the few.”

Liberal Democrats – Phil Ling

Phil Ling was a Liberal Democrats candidate for Tooting, London in the UK’s 2015 general election. He now considers himself an an activist for the party and Treasurer of the Chinese Lib Dems.

“This election comes at the time when the UK is undertaking in the word’s of Michael Heseltine, Tory Peer and ex Deputy Prime Minister, “most momentous peacetime decision of our time” with Brexit. Sadly instead of looking to have an orderly and genial exit, the Tory party have morphed into UKIP and threatening the EU and pursuing a Brexit which is leaving uncertainty in the economy. Firms are already deciding to invest in the rest of the EU rather than in the UK for access to the single market and to protect their complex supply chain from tariffs. Brexiteers believe that leaving the EU will enable the UK to have free trade with countries like China, but when Germany and France each have 2-3 times more trade with China than the UK, it’s obviously not free trade agreements that are the problem. The Liberal Democrats are offering the chance to have a referendum on the terms of any deal to leave with the option to remain on the ballot paper. This is important as we decided on departure but not the destination with regards to the EU.

Brexit is important as you cannot have a strong economy with a hard brexit, it is already consuming time, as well as a financial cost to the Treasury. We also acknowledge though that the NHS needs more resources, as growing demand and services offered, means we’d put an extra penny on income tax in the short term, to raise £6bn for NHS, mental health and social care. Whilst also having a cross party commission, involving clinicians and the public, to decide on the long term plan for the NHS. We’d reverse the cuts to the Education budget, and protect real per pupil spending. The Liberal Democrats would prevent Government from snooping on us via the internet, with their proposal for backdoor access to services like WhatsApp. Lastly, a Chinese Liberal Democrat proposal, has been adopted, which is for firms with over 250 employees to publish their pay by ethnicity, as well as gender, to identify any discrimination.”

Green Party – James Chan

James Chan was the candidate for the Green Party in the St Helens South and Whiston constituency in the UK’s 2015 general election. He is now helping with the campaign for Ed Carlisle in Leeds Central.

“This general election has come as a surprise to many, but it marks another occasion where political game playing is given priority over political decision making for ordinary people across the country. The Green Party are committed to breaking politics out of its box and transforming into a modern representative democracy. Our struggle for electoral reform continues, but we know that we would have the backing of the majority of voters in making every vote count, and end the fallacy of tactical voting.

We promise to stand up for renters by introducing rent controls. Housing shouldn’t be a worry, but for many people, they have to face huge increases in rent every year. We will build 500,000 new socially rented homes to ease the strain on the over-priced housing market.

We promise to stand up for the NHS, to provide proper levels of investment and reverse the decline in funding for the NHS and social care. We will commit the NHS to be publically funded, and not let it be taken down the dead-end expensive road of privatised healthcare.

We promise to stand up for young people, to scrap tuition fees and reintroduce the Education Maintenance Grant and give the workforce of the future an education worthy of an aspirational, 21st Century economy. Education is a key pillar of the economy which should never be undermined.

We promise to give people a say on how we leave the EU. Taking back control of democracy means giving people the power to decide their country’s future. We should not accept a deal that makes us worse off than being a member of the EU, and we should not allow Theresa May to tie our hands over this most important decision.

And finally, we promise to invest in new energy, to free us from polluting fossil fuels. We will lead our society to a future that no longer threatens the climate and will give us the long-term stability and security for a prosperous future.”

Click here to register to vote and remember to cast your ballot on 8 June.