By James Moules
CHARITY worker and mother of two Carla Gregory is looking to make a breakthrough for a brand new political party in an upcoming by-election.
She is standing in her home constituency of Chesham and Amersham for the Breakthrough Party – a recently founded party offering an explicitly socialist agenda.
The election has been called for June 17, 2021 following the passing of incumbent Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan.
Carla wasn’t involved politics in her formative years. She explained to Redaction Report that the rise of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sparked her interest.
“I didn’t really have much interest in politics until about six, maybe seven years ago. I started watching Question Time and getting really angry at it and thinking – no, this isn’t productive,” she said.
“Then Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader and I just loved everything about him and his policies and how he carried himself. I thought he was fantastic and that everything he stood for was great.”
Corbyn stormed to the Labour leadership in 2015 offering a democratic socialist vision for the party. However, he stood down in April 2020 following the party’s disastrous result in the 2019 general election – in which Labour scored its lowest number of seats since the 1935 election.
“It was a letdown,” Carla said. “It was really sad for the next day for me. I sort of avoided politics for a bit but kept up my rants online.
“Alex Mays, who is the founder of our party – we’ve actually known each other since we were teenagers so we still had each other on social media – got in touch to say he was starting a party and that I would definitely like the values.
“That was in January. Now we’re in June and I’m standing for MP in my home town.”
She said that the Breakthrough Party’s main aim is “making sure that everyone has a fair and equal chance in society.”
“We want to be a voice for everyone else – not just the people who can afford to vote Tory,” she added. “Everyone has the right to a decent home. Everyone has the right to not worry about how they’re putting food on the table.”
The party, which was founded in January 2021, considers itself to be democratic socialist.
It lists its four core areas of focus as reforming the world of work, housing, policing, and climate policy.
Carla said: “I like the word socialist. A lot of people don’t, but I see it as a badge of honour. I didn’t know what it really meant until I got involved with the Breakthrough Party. But once I looked into it I realised it was everything I had been shouting about for years.”
She also believes that an improvement of political education in Britain is vital, adding: “It’s not made to be simple or understood to people who don’t have an active interest in it. Politics affects everyone, so everyone should be able to understand what’s going on within it and what decisions are being made.
“The political education in this country could do so much better and it should be made more accessible to everyone.”
An Amersham resident, Carla wants candidacy to help address several issues facing her local area.
“We’ve been developing our policies with our members. We have an open discussion about policies before it then goes onto a formal vote.
“Our members voted for us to campaign for a £15 living wage, which, especially in Chesham and Amersham, would help so much with the cost of living – and throughout the UK it would be the same.
“We would also want to ban Fire and Rehire. It’s just looking after workers and their rights and improving workers’ rights. There has been so much work done for workers’ rights over the years, but I don’t feel like that fight is over.”
Carla also expressed her opposition to HS2, saying: “We would advocate to stop HS2 and keep fighting to stop it until the day the first train went down the track.”
She added that economic inequality in Chesham and Amersham would be one of her priorities.
“There is a lot of money here, and there are people with fantastic amounts of money that they can go and spend on the local economy – which is great,” she said.
“But there are also people here who are on minimum wage. No one seems to be speaking out for those people. That doesn’t seem right. They need some representation.”
A total of eight candidates are standing in the Chesham and Amersham by-election. The constituency is widely characterised as a Conservative safe seat, with the party frequently winning more than 50 per cent of votes cast.
In the 2019 general election, Tory Cheryl Gillan got 55.4 per cent of the vote while the second placed Liberal Democrat candidate Dan Gallagher scored 26.3 per cent.
Asked if other parties should withdraw in favour of the Liberal Democrats to maximise the opposition vote, Carla said: “Why would we want to replace a Blue Tory with a Yellow Tory? I don’t agree with the Lib Dems’ policies and their stance. It’s not where we are with the Breakthrough Party.
“I don’t think there’s anyone offering a socialist option at this ballot other than us. Some of the other parties have glimpses of it, but not the full on socialist policy platform which we have tried to bring home and bring to Chesham and Amersham.
“I’ve lived here my whole life. I know what I’m up against. And the response has been really encouraging.”
Redaction Report asked Carla what she would say to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Keir Starmer if given the chance.
She said: “I’d ask Boris what he’s thinking. There are so many questions I would ask him about how he’s handled the pandemic and how he’s handled Brexit. Everything’s just been awful.
“With Keir Starmer, he needs to start listening to the members. We’ve got a lot of ex-Labour members who are coming to us and saying you’re showing more of what we’re interested in than the Labour Party have done in the last 18 months.
“I’d tell them to be worried. There is a new socialist party out there and we’re very serious.”
Featured Image: Breakthrough Party (Credit)
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