1. Are you in favour of Britain renewing its Trident nuclear weapons system ?
Yes, I think our nuclear deterrent has largely guaranteed peace in Europe and the world for many decades. Even after the Cold War there are known and unpredictable risks that make this a worthwhile precaution.
2. Do you think our country is right to be involved militarily in the Ukraine, even if in a training and support role?
I think it is reasonable to provide some training and support., I hope this might deter further aggression. The UK was also a guarantor of Ukraine's security as part of the deal that led to Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. We should take that responsibility seriously.
3. Do you give full weight to the urgency of minimising global warming? In the light of this, do you accept that much of the known fossil fuel reserves should be left underground, especially the most environmentally damaging such as tar sands and Arctic oil?
I think we should seek to minimise emissions both because of concern about climate change and the health dangers of pollution. I think it is realistic to acknowledge that these changes will only be effected by societies that are already meeting the needs of their population. It would be wrong in principle and also counter-
4. What is your attitude to fracking?
Fracking should only proceed in a tightly monitored and regulated environment. If it really did cause earthquakes or pollution of drinking water, it should be stopped. I think the evidence is that shale oil and gas might contribute to our economy and to energy security without the problems claimed by some.
5. Many people can’t afford to heat their homes over the winter. We can’t afford to ignore climate change either. How would you tackle fuel poverty in a long-
Obtaining secure plentiful domestic energy supplies (see answer 4) is an important part of this. In addition, rather than loading environmental surcharges on people's bills, we should incentivise much better insulation in British homes. We are too far behind in this regard.
C. ECONOMICS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
6. Do you think our economy can or should go on growing indefinitely?
Yes. History suggests that this is the case. We are wonderfully creative creatures and are amongst the best educated in the world.
7. Are you opposed to the the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? If so why; if not, why not?
I am in favour of free trade but concerned about the detail of this agreement. For instance, whilst from my reading of the documents it appears clear that healthcare would be retained as a national responsibility, the adjudication mechanism could conceivably overturn that. As we have found in the context of EU membership, it is dangerous to surrender the right of veto. Democratic sovereignty and control are too precious to give up.
8. Do you intend to help shrink the yawning gap between rich and poor and check the extraordinary concentration of wealth in very few hands? If so, how?
Yes, but I am much more interested in improving the lot of the poor and don't think the 'gap' is the most important thing. I joined the Conservative Party in the 1980s exactly because it was doing so much to increase opportunity and spread wealth more widely. We should be increasing educational and other opportunities, creating jobs and opportunities for progression. We should be exploring ways to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to own a real stake for example more funded pensions and more employee share ownership. Ultimately, we need a vibrant, growing economy if we are to continue to lift people out of poverty (see answer 6).
9. Do you recognise that low wages and benefits, plus harsh and arbitrary stoppage of benefits, is causing serious and unjust hardship? Do you want to restore the safety net which ought to protect British people from serious want?
We should have a safety net for people in genuine need. Welfare benefits have to be just and affordable. I think it was right for example, to introduce a cap to prevent anyone from receiving more than £26,000 a year from benefits. The most important goal is to help people who can work to obtain work. Universal Credit should, when fully implemented, remove the benefits trap that had become such a disincentive to work for so many people.