Name: Tom McNeil
Political Party: Labour Party
In 50 words why should the people of Meriden vote for you?
Because I will always prioritise the health and education of Meriden’s constituents while ensuring that Labour fights for a good Brexit – a deal that protects our economy and balances people’s concerns over British sovereignty and immigration.
In 50 words what do you believe is the key issue in the borough you will fight for?
Under the Conservative Government schools in Meriden will each face cuts of between £64,668 and £1,166,109 annually by 2019, meaning larger classes, fewer teachers and overworked staff. I would fight for increased funding, because investing in our young people makes long-term economic sense.
How would you do that and how would you find the money?
In recent times, the Conservative Government has prioritised cutting taxes for the wealthiest: income tax for people earning over £150,000, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and corporation tax. They have also failed to tackle large-scale tax avoidance.
Overturning this would be a start. More importantly, failure to invest in education now will cost us so much more in the future – large class sizes and overstretched teachers will not be able to help shape the minds of our young people. Trying to save a penny today will mean we don’t have the future scientists and engineers that our country needs to compete on the world stage.
Brexit negotiations are a key issue for many voters – in 100 words, give us your views on it:
Labour accepts Brexit and that it will go ahead. It also accepts that people need to feel heard over their concerns around British sovereignty and immigration rules. I campaigned to remain in the EU but I have to accept that the vote didn’t go the way I wanted. Now my priority is to oppose a Hard Brexit, which would significantly damage our economy – it would be much harder to trade with our major trading partners and allies, meaning lower tax revenues from businesses and reduced funding for our schools and hospitals. I promise to fight for the best deal possible.
What are your views on the state of the healthcare in the borough and what would you do to change it if you believe it needs changing?
The argument made by the Conservative Government that there simply isn’t the money to support the NHS doesn’t stack up. Aside from the reasons I set out above for how we can save our schools from financial collapse, the UK seriously under-invests in healthcare when compared to many other developed countries in the world, including the USA, Japan, France and Germany. This points towards under-funding. It is no surprise that the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has suffered significant financial difficulties in recent times, given the failure to plug the funding gaps. This has also resulted in unnecessary costs such as on locum staff and a threat to service cuts. If elected, I would call for increased funding, alongside a programme to take more preventative measures around issue such as diabetes and mental health difficulties. Without proper funding, we let ill health cost us in other ways, such as people’s inability to work and contribute to the economy, and the costs of treatment for illnesses that could have been avoided if, for example, GPs could afford to be more accessible.
What is your favourite hobby/interest?
I really love running – it gives me space to think about things and get away from it all, even if only for a while.
What would be your ideal way to spend a day?
In 2015, when I last answered this I said “I’d like to go for a long run in the morning, have a cooked breakfast when I got back, go to the cinema (preferably a gritty British film) then enjoy a roast dinner accompanied by a couple of alcoholic drinks with my partner and friends before a very deep sleep”. The answer is the same.
Favourite holiday destination?
I’ve not really done that much travelling, but I have recently spent some time at the Gower Peninsula, just outside of Swansea – running along the cliff edge while looking out at the sea made me very happy.
Favourite memory in life?
My answer probably changes to this depending on the time of day you ask me, but seeing lots of my close friends in the same place for my 30th birthday, is right up there.
In 2015 I said “Donnie Darko – it’s weird and I like that”. I still like weird films that don’t just repeat familiar formats and soundtracks, which I personally find boring.
Favourite television show?
I’ve quite enjoyed the modern version of House of Cards. I should note, I’m nothing like the main character, who is a psychopath.
At the moment, a random US band called The Bilinda Butchers. I shared some Tweets with them recently and I love how strange it is that I can talk to a band online from across the ocean.
My favourite book I have read this year is The Handmaid’s Tale. It reminds me that it would be too easy to forget how Nazism came into being, and that we must challenge prejudice when we see it.
What is your greatest strength or weakness?
I can be very impatient, particularly when I’m tried. I’m working on this flaw of mine.
Top five dinner guests – alive or dead – and not including the leader of your political party!?
I’m not mad keen on cooking, so I’d honestly eat out somewhere that gave decent size portions for an equally decent price. I’m not overly excited at the idea of dining with celebrities and I’m not sure that well known people are necessarily the most enjoyable to eat with, so I’d be happy having dinner with five of my best friends.
Who is the person/s you mist admire in life – not including the leader of your political party!?
My great grandmother was a brilliant woman and was one of my best friends growing up. I seriously admired her card playing skills too.
What is the most embarrassing moment in your life?
Well, I once attended a party at an elitist club at Oxford University and there was a dead pig on the table and then I…..joke. That was David Cameron. If I told you my most embarrassing moment, I’d have to kill you.
How would you like to be remembered?
I’d like to be remembered as a loyal friend who could be relied on.
For a million pounds would you join one of your rival political parties?
No, but the thought did just cross my mind that I could join a rival party, then donate the million to Labour.
How about for ten million?
Now I’m thinking it would be great to join a rival party, get the ten million, donate six million to Labour and then use the remaining four million to buy a shed in London and rent it out at extortionate rents to a rival party MP. I’m joking.
What was the last lie you told?
I was late for work recently and I blamed the transport. I actually just really wanted to grab a coffee before getting in to knuckle down for another day of hard slog.