My First General Election: ‘I’ve learned a lot about the candidates and I think I’m ready to make my decision’ – Harry Rutter

PUBLISHED: 15:44 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 09 December 2019

After spending time with the candidates, Harry Rutter (pictured) says he is ready to make his decision in the general election. Picture: Archant/File

After spending time with the candidates, Harry Rutter (pictured) says he is ready to make his decision in the general election. Picture: Archant/File

Archant/File

For anyone following this process you’ll know that exactly one month ago I had no idea who I was going to vote for in the general election.

Steve Barclay (Conservatives) is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/FileSteve Barclay (Conservatives) is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/File

For anyone following this process you'll know that exactly one month ago I had no idea who I was going to vote for in the general election.

But with polling day less than a week away I think I'm ready to cast my vote - here's how I came to my decision and what I've learned.

I'd be lying if I said the process hasn't been extremely confusing, but it made me feel better visiting people my age and finding out we're all in the same boat.

I've been to visit three out of the four candidates ahead of polling day on Thursday, December 12 and its been great to hear things from the horse's mouth.

Diane Boyd is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/FileDiane Boyd is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/File

Steve Barclay - Conservatives

I met Steve at a little Italian restaurant right in the town centre of Whittlesey. He was really welcoming and we got straight into the questions.

Barclay had clearly made a huge impact on locals and had great answers for all of my questions - giving a detailed answer on things to do for young people.

All you have to do is look at his social media to see he is making a real effort to canvas and meet more people in NE Cambridgeshire ahead of the election.

Rupert Moss-Ecardt (Liberal Democrats) is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/FileRupert Moss-Ecardt (Liberal Democrats) is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/File

Steve was honest about balancing his role as Brexit Secretary with being a local MP. He told me it was tough but he was doing just fine.

I must stress the point in these opinion articles is not for me to tell you who to vote for, or who I'm voting for, but to help you make your own decision.

Diane Boyd - Labour

I met Diane on a really rainy day in Wisbech, but that didn't stop her positive attitude shine through right from the get go.

Ruth Johnson (The Green Party) is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/FileRuth Johnson (The Green Party) is standing for North East Cambridgeshire in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Archant/File

I'm sure many people would just give up when names on sheet of paper are starting to fade due to a massive downpour right as we started canvassing.

I followed Diane as she spoke with residents and from what I could see she was really popular with the older generation in the Fenland town.

I had to address the elephant in the room and that was the fact Diane lives miles away from NE Cambs - but I was happy to find out she was spending a lot of the time here.

I even managed to find her at the March Christmas Market where she was meeting constituents. I introduced her to one of the young people featured in my video.

She seems extremely keen to meet as many people as possible to get her name out there after none of our young people managed to identify her.

Rupert Moss-Eccardt - Lib Dems

Rupert. Unfortunately we were unable to catch him on the campaign trail due to his other commitments, but we did have a great chat in the newspaper offices.

He was very quick to remind me that, despite his accent, he was a local lad who grew up working on a farm, picking strawberries.

One thing he really stressed was stopping Brexit. He explained that it will affect a lot of people in the Fens and NE Cambs.

Rupert was a likeable character with a big personality. Do I think people in the Fens will relate to him? Probably not.

Ruth Johnson - Green Party

Ruth works full-time and was unable to give us a time during the week that we could have a chat with her, understandable when you're trying to juggle a career.

We have however published all of the information she provided us with, including the manifesto and key Green Party policies.

I did catch up with Ruth earlier this year outside of her campaigning as a hopeful MP. She was pushing a campaign to get more primary school pupils to walk or cycle to school.

My mind is made.

It's been a tough decision and given all of the national press stories and drama I think I speak for most when I say I'll be glad when it's all over.

But that time is just days away and I think I have to balance what I've found out nationally and what the local candidates have told me.

To make life easier for you I am releasing video interviews with Steve, Diane and Rupert. They are all un-cut and all follow the same questions.

One or two questions have been slightly altered for more of a personalised answer. After all, not all of the candidates are Brexit Secretary.

The videos will be released on Monday, December 9 on the week of the general election. I hope you take from them what I have and that you can make your decision.

Polling day is on Thursday, December 12 and I will be at the count on the night and will give my final thoughts on the whole process after we get the result.

Happy voting.


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