A Message From Ralph Berry

I am proud to have four nominations, including the support of the Co Op Party and from those Union members who attended the two local Unite branches that have nominated me. I am very encouraged by the number of people from across the Constituency and beyond who have offered words of encouragement, endorsements and offers of support. I hope you will consider supporting and voting for me in the final selection on 23rd November.

Keighley is a seat Labour must win to be able to form that much needed Labour Government, as we know Keighley is suffering from this Tory led Coalition Government’s attacks on working people and families. Keighley and Ilkley people just cannot afford another Tory /Liberal government. I believe I am the person who can lead the Labour Party in Keighley to regain this vital seat.

The current MP Conservative Kris Hopkins believes that the poor, the hungry, the homeless, should tighten their belts. His callous contempt for local families affected by these Governments policies is truly shocking. We have seen youth unemployment rise by 75% in the last year. Foodbank usage has rocketed and schools throughout Keighley and Ilkley report their worries about the affect the recession is having on our children. Labour understands the pressures and anxiety facing ordinary families; the Conservatives do not.

I am passionate about the NHS; and indeed I have served as Chair of The Bradford Health Authority and then The West Yorkshire Ambulance Service. We all know Labour will have to restore the public accountability of the NHS, end the competitive market and the reorganisation that nobody voted for and was never in any manifesto. Indeed Conservative Hopkins has voted for the privatisation of the NHS and more recently the plan’s to redirect millions of pounds of GP resources to the better off areas of the South, but he is silent on these issues at home in Keighley.

I have been working for last few years as Education Lead for the district to turn this round the mess left by Kris Hopkins when, as Conservative Leader of Bradford Council he was responsible for the poor and worsening educational performance, failing our children. This last year we had the best ever A-level results and in recent weeks I have been taking on the flawed and irresponsible Free School programme, which proposes to take resources away from the schools that need them most. My record as an experienced campaigner means I am working with the Labour Party at a national level to fight the Government’s Education policies.

Labour must lead the fight against the attack on the income and living standards of ordinary people, and the most vulnerable, none more so than the impact of Welfare Reform and the hundreds of families hit by the Bedroom tax. I am proud that Ed Miliband has committed our party to abolishing this incompetent and spiteful policy, and has put social justice back into the political debate. That is why Labour’s attack on the greedy Energy Companies is so important and why its relevance has put David Cameron and his privileged crew on the back foot. We must use these polices in all Labour’s campaigning in Keighley.

I was a probation officer for 12 years so am appalled at the moves to privatized the supervision of thousands of offenders into the hands of morally bankrupt organisations like Serco and G4S, we know only too well that such Privatisation destroys jobs, and delivers worse services and rewards the donors of the Tory party . It will also place the public locally at risk and damage local Community Safety partnerships.

I am very aware how important safeguarding our children is in Keighley, because you will have seen me in the local papers dealing with this issue. As lead Councillor for Bradford’s Child Safeguarding I am proud that our work has been assessed as good, with outstanding leadership. I will bring this hands on direct experience as Labour candidate in Keighley and all the strong relationships I have built with a wide range of local community organisations, including churches and mosques. I would make it my job to build am inclusive and enthusiastic campaign, involving all members, in close partnership with the Trade Unions and Co-op, but also drawing in local organisations which whom we share values and concerns.

Many of you will know that I have a large and extended family in the Bradford District. I have children at college and university and one still at a local school. I am deeply embedded and committed to Labour in the area, and it would be a huge honour to be the MP for Keighley aspiring to follow in the best tradition of local representation set by Ann Cryer when she was the MP.

Please contact me if you wish to meet to discuss anything concerned with the way forward to Labour winning in Keighley.

Yours in comradeship

Ralph Berry

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