Our candidate for the Brent ward by-election is Mark Maddison.
Mark with Simon Thomson and campaigners
"I have lived in Dartford all my life. My wife works in our local A&E, my children go to local schools and I have worked in and around Dartford for almost 20 years. I currently work for a housing association, delivering voluntary training and employment opportunities to residents. I see everyday the challenges faced by people on low wages, zero hour contracts, or trying to run their own small business. Locally what has made me get involved, and want to represent you, is watching the gradual decline of our town. I believe Dartford deserves better.
"Residents tell me they are fed up with the failure of Tories to tackle the traffic gridlock they regularly suffer. Dartford does not need another river crossing here, as they propose. Local residents have suffered far too long the congestion and pollution from the existing crossing and I am campaigning for a new crossing downstream.
"As our local hospital is about to re-tender its parking contract, we need to make sure local residents are fully consulted. I shall be pressing DVH and the council to make sure your views are heard.
"After 12 years in control of Dartford, the Conservatives have failed dismally to arrest the decline of our town centre and to regenerate Lowfield Street. Residents no longer have any faith in Tesco to deliver change - nor have I. Dartford needs a new resident-led approach to tackling this key issue and Labour will work together with you to secure a much needed new vision for the town centre.
"I’m not going to make promises that I can’t keep, but I promise you this:
• I will keep regular contact with residents by surgeries, on the phone and the net
• I will press for a full review of traffic issues around Brent
• I will work for a resident-led alternative future for Dartford Town Centre_
• I will consult fully with residents over parking issues associated with the hospital
• I will oppose Tory plans for a new river crossing at Dartford"
Labour parliamentary candidate, Simon Thomson says:
"I was delighted when I heard that Mark had been selected as our candidate. He has the passion to be an outstanding councillor for the residents of Brent making sure that your voice is heard on issues including an alternative Thames Crossing and parking, particularly in and around our local hospital.
"I also know he shares my anger at the way Dartford has been treated by a Conservative council. For over a decade the local Tories have presided over the decline of our Town Centre and the shambles that is Lowfield Street and we desperately need a fresh start.
"From increased waiting times at GP’s Surgeries, to the spiralling cost of rail fares and energy prices residents have been hit hard. Labour will invest to protect our NHS, freeze energy bills and cap rail fares but we can only do this with a Labour MP and a Labour Council working together.
"I hope you will give Mark your support so we can start changing Dartford for the better."
Former Mayor and Brent councillor Margaret Eaton says:
"I've known Mark all his life, and can't think of a better councillor for Brent ward. He's a good listener, knows his way around,and can get things done. The Tories have neglected our area: traffic stacks up almost daily; bushes overhang so many footpaths; pavements cracked; and rubbish in every corner.
"I know Labour and the Tories were prepared to cover the loss of councillors in the short term; it is a shame that UKIP are just being opportunist in not waiting until May. They have chosen to waste thousands of pounds of your money on this needless election. But if there has to be an election, let's make sure we elect Mark."
Sarah Wimhurst, Fleet Estate says:
"Of course I'm voting Labour. I work for the health service. We need councillors like Mark who are going to speak up for us."
Alan Omogbai, Princes Rd says:
"Young people need representatives who will speak for them. And we need to get involved in arguing for our future. I think Dartford Labour actually cares about people. I've been impressed by Mark since getting to know him"