Candidate Comments – Matt Hemsley



Question 1 – Why are you standing for Cardiff North?

Over the last two years politics seems to have become darker, about finding someone to blame for our problems or a group to scapegoat. I believe we can have a positive future ahead of us, and I’m standing for Cardiff North to offer that positive vision to people here.

Question 2 – What personal qualities do you have that would make you a good MP?

Part of being a good MP is knowing that you don’t have all the answers – and knowing that many of your constituents know more about their community or a certain policy area than you do. I like to think I’m a good listener and willing to take on board different points of view before making a decision.

Question 3 – When did you join your party and why?

I joined in 2007, and it was really first and foremost the then Labour Government’s relentless attacks on our civil liberties and personal freedoms that led to me wanting to become a more active liberal. Remember them trying to introduce ID Cards?! That fight still continues, because both the Tories and Labour recently voted to snoop on all of our e-mails and store all our internet history for a year. It’s just not on. I was also passionate about the environment and tackling climate change, which impacts on the poorest communities around the world.

National Issues

Question 4 – What pledges in your manifesto would you change?

Some in my party won’t like me for saying this, but I think the Pensions Triple Lock needs to go. I’m 32. We’ve an ageing population and we’ve some difficult decisions ahead about how we structure public spending to meet the clear need there will be in pensions, health and social care. But pensioner poverty has fallen significantly, and pensions are now rising way above the rate people are earning. We need a fair deal for pensioners, of course, but I think the Triple Lock should be looked at again.

Question 5 – Where do you stand on brexit and how do you think the process will affect Cardiff North?

I am an internationalist and an optimist and I hope that Britain can find a way to Remain in the EU. One of the most disappointing aspects of politics over the last few months is how Labour and Plaid have totally given up the fight on this. Labour have abandoned the fight for free movement to work and study and the Plaid manifesto doesn’t mention the Single Market at all, yet so many Welsh businesses rely on it to sell goods to so many people, which creates jobs here in Cardiff. I think Brexit will worsen our public finances, which means a risk of less money for the NHS and our schools, and our university sector – which employs many people in Cardiff – is going to lose out. I’ll fight as hard as I can for Britain’s place at the heart of Europe. And I’m the only Cardiff North candidate who will be doing so.

Question 6 – What national issues would you like to get involved in and why?

There are so many. But at the moment the world is seeing its worst migration crisis since the second world war. People are fleeing war, persecution and climate change. I want to make sure that Britain remains an open and tolerant nation and steps up to help those in huge need, by continuing our commitment on aid and also by welcoming more refugees – setting an example that challenges other European nations to welcome more refugees, too.

Local Issues

Question 7 – What local issues will you prioritise?

Air pollution in our towns and cities is actually claiming lives, we’re seeing a rise in respiratory health issues such as asthma, for example. So improving public transport, cycling and walking is crucial to removing polluting vehicles from our towns and cities. I want to make sure Cardiff has a serious plan to reduce car use, which has to start by improving the public transport offer.

Question 8 – For local issues that aren’t an MP’s direct responsibility, how will you make a difference?

It’s about being willing to work with the Assembly Members in Cardiff (and across Wales) to challenge them and support them in those areas of policy. I am a passionate believer in devolution, so one of my primary jobs as an MP is to fight for that fair deal for Wales and get more powers to the Assembly.

Question 9 – What will you do to ensure you’re a visible MP?

I’ll deliver regular leaflets, keep knocking on doors, maintain an online presence, open an office in the constituency and hold surgeries in various locations across Cardiff North. I’m sure readers will have some ideas as to where I can hold them!


Question 10 – What’s the most difficult question you’ve been asked during the campaign and how did you reply?

People have asked why vote Liberal Democrat in this seat, a traditional Tory – Labour marginal. The clear answer is that we are the only party fighting for our place in Europe and for a positive future for Britain. We need to send a message to both the old parties that people think differently to them. UKIP barely won a seat, but with 15% of the vote they forced the Tories into offering the EU referendum and turned the Labour Party against immigration. Vote Liberal Democrat and we can start changing the terms of the debate back to ones about the open and tolerant Britain we want to see.

Question 11 – What would you say to someone who isn’t planning on voting?

That I’m sorry I’ve not yet been able to convince them that I’m voting yet and ask them why it is their planning not to vote. People have different reasons not to, and sometimes having that conversation about what interests them can make a difference. But I’d always leave encouraging people to cast their ballot. It does make a difference.

Question 12 – What’s your favourite biscuit?

I love a Garibaldi. Both the biscuit, and the Italian revolutionary!