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Matt Cooke, Torfaen candidate for the Green Party, answers ten questions from Cwmbran Life readers

Readers of Cwmbran Life were asked to come up with questions for candidates standing for Torfaen. Around 40 questions were submitted on the Facebook page .

You can see all the questions in their original format here. Ten questions were shared with the candidates and here are the answers from Matt Cooke, Torfaen candidate for the Green Party.

1.     Before you tell me what you intend to do, please tell me what or how you have already, individually accomplished something positive for the people?

I have provided a voice for young voters.

2.     What would you do in Parliament to help people struggling to find employment and working families who can’t afford expensive childcare?

I will fight the cruel benefit sanctions to ensure unemployed people have a secure income while they are seeking employment. I would try and implement the Green Party’s policy of free child care for children aged 1-6.

 3.     The NHS waiting lists in Wales are a disgrace compared to England. People waiting nearly 18 months to have cataract surgery. What are you going to do to protect our NHS and improve waiting times?

The Labour party has failed Wales in its running of the NHS. The NHS is desperately in need of more funding and staff. The NHS is a top priority and I will do my best to ensure that NHS services receive adequate resources to reduce waiting times and to ensure it remains a decent free public service.

 4.     We only see you out and about at election time. You should be talking to people day in day out to see what problems they face in daily life. What have you been doing since the last election to help people?

I’m fairly new to politics and this is the first election I have gotten involved with. I joined the Green Party and chose to stand because I care about social justice, and I will be committed to implementing those values in Torfaen.

 5.     Would you support the legalisation of assisted dying for people who are terminally ill or are permanently and incurably suffering, in order to protect their right to autonomy and self-determination?

It has always been my belief that people should have the right to choose when to die, so yes, I would fully support the legalisation of assisted dying.

 6.     If you could change only one thing as the MP for Torfaen, what would it be?

I would like to ensure that more businesses in Torfaen, at the very least, pay the living wage of £7.85 an hour.

7.     I’m a young, first time voter who’s unsure who to vote for. With this election so wide open why should I vote for you?

You should vote for me because as a Green Party candidate, I will fight the austerity spending cuts to public services, I will also fight to protect the NHS from privatisation. I will ensure that the beautiful Torfaen countryside and resident wildlife is protected, preserved and safe from fracking. I will campaign to renationalise the railways. I will stand up for people from all walks of life, promoting a fairer and more equal society and take action against tax avoidance. Vote for me if you want to say NO to business as usual, and take Torfaen in a different direction that will secure a future for generations to come.

8.     With a chronic shortage of affordable housing in Torfaen and nationally, what hope can you give to the next generation that they will ever be able to set up a home for their family?

I believe that everyone has the right to a secure, affordable, decent home. Wales Green Party will take action to bring more empty homes back into use and convert empty municipal buildings where appropriate. I will oppose the ‘right to buy’ scheme which has depleted an already insufficient stock of social housing.

 9.     Local Government funding has been cut beyond recognition over the past few years. What will you do to protect local services in local government?

As previously stated, I will fight to reverse the austerity cuts that have been imposed by the Tory government over the past 5 years and instead, start investing money into local services.

10.  Why are you willing to spend £100bn on a weapon system that kills indiscriminately rather than on education, social welfare and the NHS? Scrap trident and you won’t need to make any cuts. In fact you could make an improvement.

I wholeheartedly agree. The Green Party is NOT willing to spend £100bn on a weapon system that kills indiscriminately, and if there is a vote on the renewal of Trident, I will vote in favour of scrapping it. As stated in the question, the money would be much better spent on public services.

Email Matt Cooke- [email protected]

Click here to see the full list of candidates standing for the Torfaen seat

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Matt Cooke, Torfaen candidate for the Green Party, answers ten questions from Cwmbran Life readers

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