In the lead up to the general election, the Hexham Courant contacted all four prospective parliamentary candidates for Hexham to give them the opportunity to outline some of their key policies.

In alphabetical order, their responses are below.

Penny Grennan (Labour)

Through my father, I learned the vital importance of education and equality of opportunity.

Brought up at the time of the 1930s means test, he left school at 13 and went to Ruskin College, Oxford, in his 20s on a Trade Union scholarship. He completed his career working for Labour governments and the EU. The Trade Union and free education served him well.

I’ve worked in marginalised communities in the North-East, I’ve lived in this constituency for over 30 years and understand the issues that people face, especially in rural areas. I’m a WASPI woman on a zero hours contract and I’ve experienced the failures of the benefit system. Austerity was a political choice made by the Tory and Lib Dem coalition and it has devastated our country.

Everywhere, we see record numbers using food banks, a lack of really affordable housing, our NHS stretched beyond its limits, and massive reductions in education spending. Above all, there is no plan to tackle climate change.

Labour offers hope and opportunity for our region. A green industrial revolution will bring thousands of jobs to the area through investment in renewable energy, improvements in transport and full fibre broadband to homes and businesses.

The building of council funded homes, the payment of a real living wage and an end of zero-hour contracts will bring an end to in-work poverty and chronic insecurity. We need change for our society and our planet, and only Labour can provide that.

Stephen Howse (Liberal Democrats)

This election is our opportunity to build a brighter future together.

Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement is only the start of a long Brexit process. It does not ‘get Brexit done’, as he pretends. Any form of Brexit will hit the North-East hardest of any English region.

The Liberal Democrats want you to have the final say on the prime minister’s deal – but we need to pick up votes and win in places like Hexham for that to happen.

If there is a referendum on the prime minister’s deal, the Lib Dems are committed to fighting for Britain’s place in Europe. If elected, I can promise to readers that I will lead the charge in Hexham, working together with people from across the political spectrum.

Of course, any party needs a plan for what comes next, whatever happens with Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats have a plan for our future which the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says adds up, whereas they say Labour’s and the Conservatives’ plans are “not credible”.

Stop Brexit and we can invest the economic benefit of a £50bn Remain bonus in our schools and the NHS.

We can invest in transport to upgrade the woeful Tyne Valley rail line and make the A69 road safer. We can tackle the climate emergency and boost the green economy, creating well-paying, skilled jobs in the North-East. I hope readers will back me as the candidate in Hexham who wants to end the Brexit mess for good.

Nick Morphet (Green Party)

The elephant in the room at this election is climate breakdown. It’s such a huge problem that it’s hard to know how best to tackle it. Many people tell me that they’re doing what they can as individuals.

Unfortunately, the problem is far bigger than we can possibly hope to fight as individuals. We need government support.

The Conservative government aims for net zero emissions by 2050, but this seriously weak target only gives us a 50/50 chance of avoiding dangerous climate breakdown. We’re also way off target and headed for a runaway warming scenario of extreme weather, crop failure, economic instability, millions of climate refugees and even societal breakdown.

Tackling climate breakdown effectively will require enormous changes to society, but they can be made to work for everyone. The Green Party’s manifesto is packed with bold and brilliant policies, and they’re needed now more than ever. Our Green New Deal will provide a just transition to a zero carbon society, making sure nobody gets left behind.

If elected, I will represent you in parliament to the best of my ability, hold government to account over environmental and social issues, and push for the Green New Deal that we so badly need.

I will fight for a cleaner, greener, wilder Northumberland that stabilises our climate, teems with wildlife, protects us from flooding and makes each one of us healthier, wealthier and happier.

Guy Opperman (Conservatives)

Serving as your MP is an enormous privilege.

I am incredibly grateful for the trust you have put in me at a difficult time in our national political life.

I am very proud of my local record.

Since 2010 unemployment has nearly halved in the constituency; we are seeing new schools built and investment in high quality patient care at Hexham Hospital.

Our precious green belt is being protected, new police officers are being recruited for our rural communities and our roads are being improved.

So, despite all the political uncertainty, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that when we work together, politics can be a force for good and does make a positive difference in people’s lives.

That is why the first task of the new Parliament will be to get Brexit done and end the gridlock at Westminster.

No delay, no political fudge, no more referendums.

It is more than three years since Britain voted to leave the European Union and my commitment to voters is that I will vote for us to leave the European Union with the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister.

As a democrat I believe we must honour the result of the European Union referendum and get Brexit done. Then we can focus on the key priorities for our country and begin to rebuild trust in politics.