Election candidate Ian Walker says it is time for Sheffield Hallam to have its first Conservative MP since 1997, in an exclusive interview with the Fulwood Post.

Walker is third in our series of Hallam constituency candidate interviews ahead of the 2019 General Election.

“We’ve tried other parties and it’s time it comes back to the Conservatives,” he told the Fulwood Post.

“It is time for Sheffield to have a voice at the heart of government; we need an MP who is seriously concerned about the constituents and has the experience and the skills to lobby to ensure that we have the best for Sheffield.”

Mr Walker has worked in the engineering and manufacturing industry most of his life and believes this will be an asset to him if elected.

“I felt one of the problems with the disconnect between ordinary voters and the Westminster bubble was there were too many career politicians who have not had an outside job as a nurse, a doctor, an engineer and that was one of the reasons why politicians didn’t seem to really understand what the electorate was about.

“My view as a whole is that politicians should be local people, raised up by their peers to go and represent them at Westminster and not random people parachuted in from goodness knows where.”

On Brexit, Mr Walker believes the UK should push forward with the current deal negotiated by Boris Johnson.

“Most people, whether they voted leave or remain, recognise the democratic referendum we had and want Brexit done so we can move on to other things in our country.

“My view is that the deal we have now with Boris Johnson is the best we’re going to get – whatever deal anyone came up with, some people are going to be dissatisfied with some aspect of it.

“In industry the world is a big place, the growth is in Asia, Africa.

“We want to continue trading with Europe but I think we need to raise our vision, raise our hopes beyond just looking into Europe.”

With Hallam constituency a major student area, Mr Walker said that job prospects are what he can offer the young people of Sheffield.

He believes that a good jobs market and a well-run economy is what comes at the top of the priority list for students.

“I think most students want to know is that when they leave university they can get a good job, that there will be a growing economy, and that they will have a good career progression.

Having held several voluntary positions in the NHS, including as Non-Executive Director for NHS North of England, he highlighted that his priority is protecting the UK’s health system and its “unique character”.

“The NHS is about getting the right treatment, when you need it, for free – that’s something we are absolutely determined to protect.

“It’s only with a growing and vibrant economy that we can continue to grow, and invest in the NHS.”

Citing his engineering background, Mr Walker emphasised the importance of investment into sustainable technologies and his belief that Sheffield can play a key role in the sustainable industry.

“We need to focus on the climate. We see the effects of it around the world, and Sheffield is ideally placed to develop the industries and technologies of the future.

“Europe has been too inward-looking for too long; real things are happening elsewhere, and we need to catch up our game and be able to invest in technologies of the future so we have new industries, and train our young people for these industries of the future.”

The Tory candidate also believes that better transport links both within the city, and connecting Sheffield to the rest of the country, are vital.

“I’ve been lobbying for better-integrated bus services within Sheffield. I think it’s behind the times, with competing bus services at different prices. If you look at London it’s much more efficient.

“I’ve had a meeting with Transport for the North so we can have better links with neighbouring cities and towns, and indeed London.”

The country goes to the polls on 12 December; Mr Walker is one of seven candidates for Sheffield Hallam.

Read our other candidate interviews here

Labour’s Olivia Blake

Independent Liz Aspden

Liberal Democrat Laura Gordon

The Brexit Party’s Terry McHale

UKIP’s Michael Virgo

The Green Party’s Natalie Thomas