Cost of living and Christmas market return among Lincoln Lid Dem candidate’s priorities

Primary school teacher and city councillor Clare Smalley is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Lincoln in the upcoming general election on July 4. Councillor Smalley is a representative for the Abbey Ward and, most recently, she was appointed leader of the opposition to the Labour-led City of Lincoln Council following May’s local election.

She explained how she felt both Conservative MP Karl McCartney and the Labour-led city council have let Lincoln down over the last few years. “I just think we have a Conservative MP who has let Lincoln down,” she said.

“We have lots of issues going on in Lincoln, and he’s not really representing us in Parliament, as he does what the Conservatives want rather than what’s best for Lincoln—I think it’s about finding that balance.” Councillor Smalley also highlighted how the City of Lincoln Council seems to be ‘forever fixing problems with housing.’

Read more: Lincoln’s Labour candidate outlines pledges and gives verdict on Christmas market return

She said: “The Liberal Democrats have been doing well over the last few years—every year we are gaining councillors off Labour—and I think residents are ready for a change, and we can offer that.”

With the Liberal Democrats continuing to feel a resurgence in popularity following the local elections, having gained 104 seats across 107 councils in England, Councillor Smalley feels as though the party can continue to represent those who feel Labour and the Conservatives are moving further right on the political spectrum and are craving a “serious alternative.”

“We all know the dreadful record the Conservatives have with crashing the economy, Liz Truss, and all the nightmare of COVID and Partygate,” Councillor Smalley said.

She noted that she was deemed high risk and so was forced to isolate while some Tory MPs partied in Westminster. “It really did touch a nerve, that.”

Equally, she feels as though Labour leader Keir Starmer doesn’t seem to be very ‘fixed’ on his policies. “He seems a bit of a yes man, and I think people are seeing that when we’re talking to them on their doorsteps. I think we can offer something different.”

Although she appreciated Labour candidate Hamish Falconer for being a “nice guy,” Councillor Smalley claimed he was “shipped in” from London, whereas she has lived in the city for 30 years. “We have really good policies, and we want to represent the people. I want to continue that journey.

Should she be elected, Councillor Smalley pledged to try and bring back the famous Lincoln Christmas Market, which was cancelled by the City of Lincoln Council following overcrowding concerns in 2022, when around 320,000 people attended over four days.

Despite repeated calls for its return by campaigners, business owners, and Conservative MP Karl McCartney, newly-appointed council leader Naomi Tweddle (Labour) revealed that there are still no plans to reinstate the historic event. Nevertheless, Councillor Smalley believes it’s incredibly important to bring back the market in a “safe and sustainable” way as it will “improve the city for everyone, including visitors, and provide that Christmas experience we’re missing.”

Furthermore, she hopes to help improve health services, including GPs and social care. This comes days after a report from the Institute for Government stated that state services were “substantially worse” than when the Conservatives took office in 2010.

Lastly, she pledged to support those tackling the ongoing cost of living crisis, which she described as a “catastrophe” caused by the Conservative government. She said: “Everyone deserves better, and it’s about making sure we provide the right support for people and helping them get out of poverty.”

With that in mind, Councillor Smalley posed the possibility that Conservative votes could simply ‘disappear’ across the constituency after 14 years of government control. Specifically noting Rishi Sunak’s D-Day blunder when he left a remembrance ceremony early to film an interview with ITV, which he later apologised for.

Councillor Smalley addressed voters who will be entering the voting booths in just a few short weeks, saying: “I am standing to represent people. I’m just a normal person with normal experiences. I live here, work in a primary school, and see the problems that families face day-to-day.”

Full list of general election candidates in the Lincoln constituency:

  • Karl McCartney (Conservative)
  • Hamish Falconer (Labour)
  • Clare Smalley (Liberal Democrat)
  • Sally Anne Horscroft (Green)
  • Jamie-Lee McMillan (Reform UK)
  • Linda Richardson (Workers Party)
  • Charles Shaw (The Liberal Party)
  • Craig Marshall (Social Democratic Party)
  • Laura Ashby (Independent)

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