Interview with Eluned Parrot: Liberal Democrats Cardiff Central candidate

Eluned Parrot (Source: National Assembly of Wales)

By Hannah Woodward

Last year you came within 1000 votes of victory for the Welsh Assembly elections, how have you changed this years campaign to win votes and fight for Cardiff Central?

I don’t think its so much as we’ve changed our campaign, so much as the circumstances have changed a lot. I lost my seat to UKIP in the Welsh Assembly elections and that’s difficult personally for a politician. Brexit happened, and that just changed everything. Brexit has dragged our politics to the right and created an atmosphere in our politics, which is filled with division. I decided because of that drift to the right that I would stand up to those who are trying to drive wedges in our communities.

Brexit is obviously at the heart of every party manifesto, how do you feel about your party’s promise of a second referendum?

People should have an opportunity to see what the destination is. People voted to leave – yes we accept that, but what people were told was varied. When you look at Theresa May’s most chaotic option – the most disastrous option for Wales. People are very anxious about the prospect of a hard Brexit, and want the opportunity to say if the deal is not good enough – remain. If the deal is not good enough, the idea that you can just fall out of Europe with no consequences at all is ultimately a fairy tale, it cant possibly be true.

Cathays is heavily populated student area of Cardiff, and with the Liberal Democrats making a U turn on their tuition fees promise, how can students trust you to represent them in Westminster?

We need to be offering our young people a new deal for the future because right now a lot of young people say to me they’re really anxious about their future.

We would like to introduce a rent to buy scheme; so that people can get on the housing ladder so your rent goes to paying off the amount of money your house is worth, over a period of time renting allows you to earn your home. That gives people stability and one of the worst things about the rental market is actually is not just the price, and the fact that the high price means that you cant save for the future is actually instability as landlords chop and change as you are having to move every single year.

We need to make sure we are protecting jobs in Britain, as the Welsh economy high values its workforce. We would like to do help entrepreneurs who want to start up their own business we would like to give them a cost of living grant, starting up your own business and waiting for those first customers you have nothing to live off and this often deters people from setting up their own business, so that’s why we want to introduce this entrepreneurial grant.

The Labour manifesto also outlined a scrap on tuition fees, how do you think the Lib Dem policies are better suited for students?

There is a situation where the Labour party have conjured manifesto, which is incredibly expensive, and it is not clear how they will pay for the promises that they have made. Young people who are in University the most important thing is day to day living costs, and our policy is to introduce a maintenance grant for students to give a level playing field. For people who have tuition fees to pay back, obviously the repayment regime is relatively progressive. The payment regime has changed since Labour first introduced it to mean that if you earn less you pay far less back.

The Lib Dems are aspiring to be the leading opposition party, and with Labour striving to be the party in Government why should the United Kingdom vote for an opposition, as opposed to a party that would get in Government?

Good opposition plays and absolute crucial function in a good government. Good opposition holds Government to account and keeps a Government honest, the last two years what we have seen is a labour opposition that is too busy fighting within themselves. They allowed the Conservatives to cut housing benefits to 18-21 year olds – which played a role in the rise in homelessness. Labour did not even bother to properly oppose that – to let that pass without a whimper is unforgivable. To follow the Tories into the lobby behind Theresa May and the very right wing Conservative Government on Brexit is unforgivable. Currently we see two Labour parties and no opposition, and that’s what the Liberal Democrats can offer is a strong opposition.

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