General Election 2015 in Lincoln: Why the candidates want your vote

With the General Election fast approaching, The Lincolnite has compiled a list of key points for voters to consider ahead of polling day on May 7.

The election has been widely tipped to be one of the tightest in recent history, with Lincoln as a marginal seat playing a pivotal role in who forms the next government.

Lincoln is the oldest constituency in the country, having first sent members to Parliament in 1265.

Since October 1974, Lincoln has also been a bellwether seat, having voted for the party that has formed the government in each election from that period.

Conservative candidate Karl McCartney is defending a majority of just over 1,000 from the 2010 election.

For the first time in Lincoln, candidates will take part in a political debate programme broadcast live online in video on The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo websites as well as on FM radio and online on BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

City of Lincoln Council and district and parish councils elections are also being held on the same day.

What the candidates said

The Lincolnite asked all the candidates for the Lincoln MP seat to write why people in the city should vote for them. You can read all their columns on our Elections 2015 page.

Karl McCartney (Conservative): “I am looking forward to fighting this General Election as Lincoln’s Member of Parliament for the last five years. Tough decisions have had to be taken by this government; consequently sacrifices have had to be made by the British people. I am proud of our achievements and the positive effect they have had on my constituents and constituency.” Read his column

Lucy Rigby (Labour): “I love living in Lincoln with my husband and my two children and I’m standing to be our Member of Parliament because I want our city to be a better, fairer and a more prosperous place. I’ve listened to people’s concerns and frustrations, and I’ve heard about their hopes and aspirations for the future. I’m standing for the many, not just a privileged few, and I want to see our city and our country really thrive.” Read her column

Ross Pepper (Liberal Democrats): “As a Liberal Democrat, I found the idea of a coalition with the Conservatives difficult. However, Liberal Democrat policies have been made law for the first time and are actually making a difference to our lives here in Lincoln. I will ensure that a stronger economy is delivered and a fairer society created to give every resident of Lincoln the opportunity to get on in life.” Read his column

Nick Smith (UKIP): “There isn’t another election for you to decide the future direction of your country, this is the only chance you get to change direction and choose on the big issues. Let’s make history in Lincoln together and make the country’s oldest constituency its most vibrant, and put some purple on the map. Remember it’s your future, we can’t change it without your support.” Read his column

Elaine Smith (TUSC): “I come from a truly working class background where hard work and struggle was ongoing. I want a fairer society where everybody matters and can contribute. I have had to deal with many personal traumas and knocks on my own and fortunately I have always come back fighting. I want to use my past experiences and achievements to fight for and build an alternative more caring society.” Read her column

Helen Powell (Lincolnshire Independents): “Lincolnshire Independents speak and act totally as independent councillors but have the added advantage of colleagues with different expertise and experience in all fields, making available a wealth of knowledge for the public good. It would be an honour for me to represent Lincoln as your Member of Parliament in Westminster making sure our story is heard and acted on.” Read her column

Key dates

Thursday, April 9: Deadline of 4pm for candidates to deliver nomination papers to Returning Officer and to withdraw their nominations

Monday, April 20: Deadline for voter registration. Register to vote online by clicking here

Tuesday, April 21: Deadline of 5pm for receiving applications for a new postal vote and postal proxy applications

Tuesday, April 28: Deadline of 5pm for applying for a proxy vote (except for emergency proxies)

Monday, May 4: The Lincoln Debate, to be held at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre from 7pm

Thursday, May 7: Polling day. Polling booths are open between 7am and 10pm. Counting of votes will begin when the polls close

Wednesday, May 27: The Queen’s Speech is delivered at the State Opening of the new Parliament