Bartender turned election candidate, Stephen Porter, says “the broken electoral system” is the reason voters can’t trust politicians, in an exclusive interview with The Northern Voice.
Standing as Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough’s Liberal Democrat candidate, Porter said: “The major problem you’ll always have with trusting politicians, is that the first past the post system is broken. Your average Labour MP or your average Tory MP, could literally not campaign and still get in.
“If you look at the candidates where you live, there will be somebody who is working class, who is doing this for the right reasons, whose heart’s in the right place, but people don’t vote for them.”
This is the first time Mr Porter has stood for parliamentary election, he said: “I’m not thinking I’m going to be an MP by Christmas, but I would like at the end of the election for seven, eight or even nine million people to have voted to revoke Article 50, and if I can add 1,000 to that, I’d be very pleased with myself.”
However, with the majority of Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough voting to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, the Liberal Democrats’ promise to completely overturn Brexit has potential to cause friction.
Mr Porter said: “I don’t think the Brexit vote here will affect this election as much as people think.
“I know loads of people who have come over from Europe to work here, and they are genuinely worried about their futures in this country.
“People have been here for 10 years, they’ve got kids here, they’ve got partners here, they’ve got friends and family here, and for them Brexit isn’t some hypothetical thing that we should get done for the sake of it, it’s their lives.”
One of the biggest issues in this years General Election is climate change, the Liberal Democrat manifesto states they aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.
Mr Porter said: “2045 is actually a bit later than we wanted, we were hoping for 2030, but one of the things I like about my party is that we’ve looked at the practical realities of how we can achieve that.
“Some of these houses in Hillsborough have been here since the 1930s, we really need to start insulating homes, and we need to look at public transport. We’ve got a tram network here in Sheffield that’s constantly under threat, and the bus services ares saying that they can’t afford to run the buses.
“When you say ‘we need to make industry greener’, that’s a massive, difficult task.
“I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, but everyone wants to save on their electric bill, and everyone wants to save money by not using their car, and I think that’s a good place to start.”
The Liberal Democrat candidate, who advocates for people’s right to free association, shared his pride for the “political appetite” of the constituency.
He said: “We’ve got a real fighting spirit in Sheffield, especially in Brightside and Hillsborough, we’ve always been fighting for justice here.
“It’s one of the poorest parts of South Yorkshire and people have always been willing to stand up for themselves, and I hope it spreads.”