VOTERS are being urged to make sure they go to the polls next Thursday (May 7).
There has been much talk of apathy among voters ahead of the General Election but all candidates contesting the respective seats in Warwick and Leamington and Kenilworth and Southam are emphasising the importance of people having their say at the ballot box.
Lynnette Kelly, Labour candidate in Warwick and Leamington, said: “I encourage as many local people as possible to vote in what are the most important local council and national Parliamentary ballots for a generation.
“The candidates have different opinions on key issues, from the future of the NHS to how to ensure opportunity and prosperity for all in our society.
“However, one of the things we do agree on is the importance of a high voting turnout and as many people as possible having a say in the future of Warwick and Leamington, and the country at large.”
Her call was echoed by her main rival for the seat, Conservative candidate Chris White, who is looking to hold onto the seat he won five years ago.
He told The Observer: “We cannot underestimate the significance of our fundamental right to vote, which people have paid dearly for around the world, and continue to do so today.
“From the suffragettes to our armed forces, our democracy pays tribute and acknowledgement to their sacrifice.”
Liberal-Democrat candidate Haseeb Arif was equally vocal.
“He said: “It is a tragedy that so many people feel their voices count for nothing – but they do.
Jeremy Wright, who won the newly created Kenilworth and Southam seat for the Conservatives at the 2010 election, also called on people to exercise their democratic right.
“Your vote at a General Election helps to decide two things – the individual who votes on your behalf in Parliament on different and often complex issues, and the government that runs the country.
“Both are hugely important and you only get the chance to have your say on them once every five years.”
Richard Dickson, Liberal Democrat candidate for the seat, said while he understood why there was a certain apathy he stressed how important each person’s right to vote was.
“With our current electoral system, the behaviour of some politicians and the way the way that some political parties are funded I can understand why people feel powerless to make things better.
“My job has taken me to places, like a Darfur border refugee camp, where people would do almost anything to influence the way that their country is run like we can.”
Labour candidate Bally Singh said voting was the way people could bring change.
“This year’s General Election is the most important in a generation. By voting at this election, we have the power to bring about the change that Britain needs.”