ELECTION PROFILE: Sheffield Hallam rivals fight to win Clegg’s voters - and seat

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There are eight candidates going head to head in Sheffield Hallam - set to be one of the most closely watched in the country as it is defended by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Here they explain why they are standing for their vote on May 7 and what their priorities are.

The statements are in alphabetical order.

Nick Clegg - Liberal Democrat candidate

“It’s been an honour and a privilege to serve the people of Sheffield Hallam over the last 10 years as their local MP. I’ve always said that it is my proudest role in politics and one that I hope to continue doing for many years to come.

As a local MP, I’ve dealt with over 38,000 pieces of casework, and as Deputy Prime Minister I’ve been able to take the problems I’ve seen here in Sheffield and change things for the better over the last five years.

Just after I was elected in 2005, a young girl’s family came to see me in tears because their daughter had an eating disorder, but all the support she got as a child evaporated when she turned 18.

It was from that moment that transforming mental health became one of my key priorities, and I’m keen to continue the work I’ve started in Government.

That is why as part of our plan to invest an extra £8bn a year in the NHS we’re committing £3.5bn to mental health provision. We’re the only party to commit to the £8bn that the Head of the NHS says that it needs.

Liberal Democrats have delivered for Sheffield.

We’ve helped put the economy back on a sure footing after the mess that Labour left, given 200,000 people at tax cut of more than £800, invested £62m extra for disadvantaged pupils and cut unemployment by 50% in Sheffield Hallam.

If you believe that Sheffield needs a stronger economy and a fairer society, then the only way to guarantee that is by voting Liberal Democrat in May.”

Steve Clegg - Liberal Democrat candidate

“Dear voter,

I am honoured to have been selected to stand as the English Democrat candidate for Sheffield Hallam.

The English Democrats are the only party who are campaigning to put the people of England first. The Scots, Irish and Welsh already have this and we need it too.

We are campaigning for England to have its own parliament and would scrap the Barnett formula which discriminates against the English.

We should be proud of our achievements and leadership in the world. We would campaign to get high technology manufactures to come to Sheffield. We have an highly skilled and enthusiastic work force, so it would be a win/win situation.

We campaign for England to leave the EU which has been a drain on England since we joined. It’s time to leave the EU now. We shouldn’t wait for a “renegotiation.” Jobs created in Sheffield should go to Sheffield people.

Vote English, Vote English Democrats-“Putting England First!”

Vote Steve Clegg. The only Clegg worth voting for!”

Oliver Coppard - Labour candidate

“At this election, the most important question you must ask yourself is – who can you trust to stand up for our community?

I’m working to be the next MP for Sheffield Hallam because this is my home; I was born and raised here and I still live just down the road at Hunters Bar.

From Forgemasters to unfair government cuts, the damage inflicted on Sheffield over the last five years is all too well known. Sheffield Hallam deserves better than to be used solely as a means to an end, or simply as a platform for a career politician to launch themselves onto the national stage.

As your MP, fighting our corner will always be my priority in Parliament.

Up until now, I have worked in local government developing the environment and the economy of the ex-coal mining communities of South Yorkshire. I understand the challenges our region faces and the values of our city.

That’s why I will work to protect our public services, champion our universities and support our private sector.

That’s why I will make rebuilding trust in politics central to everything that I do. And that’s why I will always remain accessible and transparent, at the heart of our community.

Whatever your political beliefs we can surely all agree that your local MP should be working every day to make sure Sheffield gets the attention, investment and support we so badly need.

If you lend me your vote on May 7th, that’s exactly what I’ll do.”

Peter Garbutt - Green candidate

“My campaign isn’t “get Clegg out!” but “get Austerity Out!”

Whether it’s Conservatives promising more cuts to welfare payments, or Labour or the Lib Dems proposing to make not quite as many cuts, the other parties have signed up to austerity. This involves scapegoating the disabled, the unemployed, the young.

The Green Party would fully restore Central government grants to councils so their services are properly funded. We’d save the Independent Living Fund for the disabled, stop workfare and sanctions for the unemployed, restore Education Maintenance Allowance for 16-17 year-olds to support them through their education.

We’d pay properly for universities, and scrap tuition fees and the debts students are being burdened with before they start their working life.

We’d put an end to exploitative zero-hours contracts. We’d make the minimum wage a living wage - and make sure it’s properly enforced. By 2020, we’d raise it to £10 an hour.

Our programme is bold. To pay for it, we’d close tax loopholes, increase corporation tax on large companies and put the top rate of tax up to 60 per cent. We’d cut costly and pointless spending such as the High Speed rail link to London and replacing Trident nuclear weapons.

Our aim is to reduce inequality, and, by creating over a million good new jobs, and bringing in more tax revenue, we’ll also bring down the deficit.

This is the change we need. The only way to get this change is to vote for it. Vote brave. Vote Green.”

Joe Jenkins - Ukip candidate

“Integrity and honesty are two things which no longer seem to matter to politicians anymore. Power and prestige however seem to matter far too much, and I do not think this is right.

I believe that elected politicians should be servants of the people, not their bosses. They should be listening, interacting and working for their constituent’s interests. However we just do not see this happen anymore, all we get are broken promises and outright betrayal.

I promise that if you vote for me I will only be answerable to you, and you can ensure this through the MP recall system that UKIP MP’s will fight for making sure that we are always accountable to our constituents. We will introduce a citizen’s initiative that will enable referenda to be called on issues that have gained popular support through petitions, giving you the people a direct say in the way our country is governed.

We will increase the personal allowance to £13,000 which will take everyone on the minimum wage out of income tax, we will put an extra £3bn into the NHS every year, we will cut inheritance tax and we will introduce an Australian style points system to ensure we have immigration that benefits us. We will do all this by not raising your taxes, but freeing our country from the crippling payments the European Union demands from us.

Believe in Britain, vote for UKIP and Joe Jenkins on May 7 and let’s make Britain great again.”

Carlton Reeve - independent candidate

“I don’t believe that the Westminster parties represent us any more. As someone who lives in Sheffield, I want somebody fighting for us in Parliament. I’m standing as an independent candidate because I don’t want to represent a party, I want to represent the people of Sheffield Hallam.

I am driven by my principles – a desire to see a compassionate prosperity in our country and a belief that we need to stop the cuts and start investing for a future where we all can flourish.

I am a Sheffield dad, university lecturer and small business owner – I’m not a career politician. I’m standing for election because of the broken promises of our politicians and government policies that have failed to address our economic challenges.

Worse than that, the Tory and Lib Dem decisions have meant that the weakest and most vulnerable in our society have suffered most.

If you elect me as your next MP, I will fight for you. This is my commitment: if there is significant interest within Sheffield Hallam on any issue, I will ask you how you want me to vote on it. I will present the arguments and then give you the chance to decide.

As your elected servant, I will act according to your wishes. Only an independent can do this.

As your MP, I want an on-going conversation with you, not just at election time but throughout the parliamentary term.

In this general election, you have two options – you can vote for more of the same (albeit with a different coloured badge) or you can vote for change.

Vote for me and I will stand up for you.”

Jim ‘Stop The Fiasco’ Wild - independent candidate

“I am standing in Hallam as a protest against traditional politics. Every five years we are given the opportunity to vote for representatives to go off to London and be part of a dubious group of MP’s, such is the allure of Westminster.

We need a system of governance that is smaller, regional and meets our needs. This must not mean a regional form of politics as well as Westminster, but instead of it.

If elected:

- I would only claim an average wage

- I would stay in the most deprived area of London

- I would be transparent and audio record all meetings

If you go to my website you will find links to speakers who challenge the same old ideas that change nothing.

We can have:

* Education and nursery provision free for everyone.

* Fair rents

*Social care and support for older people rooted in

communities where we are all engaged and supportive.

* Buying a house based on a permanently fixed low interest loan that is fair-traded.

The last thing any government wants you to do is to think critically about the way things are. Thinking critically demands us all to look at the past to understand the present and future.

Go to my website and find out about alternatives to the same old: http://t.co/GxECUBI0oO and follow me on twitter

Things can be different.”

Ian Walker - Conservative candidate

“Hallam is a three horse race, so every vote counts. Of the three in the running, I am the only one born, bred and still living in Hallam.

Married 30 years, we brought up our four children here.

People tell me they want an MP who has a track record in the real world, not another career politician.

I’m an engineer and have spent most of my life in Sheffield industry creating employment and exports

I have always given back to the city I love: I was a director of Sheffield’s NHS Health Authority, I’m a school governor and trustee of two local charities.

As chairman of Sheffield’s Training and Enterprise Council, supporting small businesses and apprentices, I helped secure £2bn of EU funding for South Yorkshire.

Now that has dropped to just £157M for Sheffield. We need an MP with fire in his belly to fight for Sheffield and our fair share of Northern Powerhouse funding.

Sheffield needs a Conservative voice in parliament. The latest Survation poll puts the Conservatives and Lib Dems neck and neck and an earlier, corrected, Ashcroft poll put us ahead.

However this election is about people, not numbers.

The coalition is over and the Lib Dems could well form one with Miliband. A Conservative majority is the only way to guarantee stopping Labour. We only need 23 more seats.

Let Hallam, where we came second last time, be one of them.

Don’t vote out of fear, vote for something positive and for someone you can trust.”