A Green Party contender has joined the race to become Skegness’ next MP – and said she is confident she can offer voters a fresh alternative.
Mother-of-three Victoria Percival, 39, is the latest candidate vying to replace Mark Simmonds on May 7.
She is putting the call for the living wage at the heart of her campaign, telling The Standard: “We’ve got people in work, working their backsides off and yet cannot afford to put food on the table. We have got to pay people a living wage - especially in Boston and Skegness which has such low wages.”
Victoria attended Kitwood Girls school – the last year before it became the Haven – living in Carlton Road and the Woad Farm area and studying at Boston College.
Victoria was employed in a factory and then later worked for Wetherspoons - a job that took her away from the area until recently when she moved back home to Boston.
Having previously volunteered in children’s centres she now runs her own small business selling baby carriers and slings at cost price to the NHS.
She said she knows there is a stereotypical view of the Greens but is not ashamed of the party’s passion for the environment, adding: “I am proud to be worried about the environment – I think we should be worried about the environment and it should come into politics and businesses.”
She believes others are coming around to the Green’s way of thinking on the environment - but stresses it has a wider appeal standing for the ‘common good’.
She said: “I do believe we can win this seat. I am there to give people a choice. If they don’t want to vote for the usual parties - or UKIP - I am there to give people something different. I do believe that social media and the media are giving us a voice. People realise we are not just ‘yoghurt weavers’ - we have got policies and they are pretty good policies.
“Once people know what the Green Party are about and do a bit of research I think absolutely we can win here.”
Victoria wants to fight any privatisation of the NHS and says more must be done to give local people the skills to take the top jobs at the Pilgrim Hospital.
She feels people feel effects from immigration because of a lack of investment in health and schools to conincide with large scale arrivals into Boston and says the system must be ‘fair’ – dealing firmly with any anti-social behaviour while ensuring everyone gets equal access to services.
She added: “We need to invest in housing. The Green Party are not against that and we do recognise that people need homes and that people need social housing.”
Victoria is a recent recruit to the party, which has enjoyed a surge in membership.
That has coincided nationally with a big debate about whether or not the Green Party should be invited to TV election debates.
Unsurprisingly she thinks they should, adding: “It’s really important that we have our voice. People have been polled and asked ‘do you want the Green Party to be there’ and over 70 per cent said yes so let’s listen to them.”