Tomorrow, voters will head to the polls to decide who will be the next MPs for Braintree and Witham in the General Election.

While some of the candidates will be well-known to the electorate, there are some lesser-known faces standing to be your next MP.

So here are the candidates fighting for your vote and explaining why, in their own words, you should elect them to be your next representative in the House of Commons.

James Cleverly, Conservative

Conservative - James CleverlyConservative - James Cleverly (Image: PA)

It has been an honour to serve the Braintree constituency since 2015 and I’m proud of our Government’s achievements.

Essex Police now have a record number of officers, with more to come, drastically bringing down total crime, including violent crime.

We have new facilities at Braintree and Halstead Community hospitals, reopened ward spaces at Halstead and the new community diagnostic centre is opening soon.

When faced with the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, I’m proud of how the Government helped people financially and led the world with our support for Ukraine.

We have now brought down inflation and cut taxes for working people.

I’m determined to continue bringing down immigration, cutting taxes for working families, supporting local businesses, keeping unemployment low, investing in our public services, protecting our countryside, and ensuring we can feed ourselves.

I want to continue to deliver for Braintree and protect local people from Labour’s huge tax rises and their focus on the divisive woke agenda. I hope I can count on your support again on July 4.

Kieron Franks, Liberal Democrat

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It is a privilege to be selected as your prospective parliamentary candidate for Braintree at the next General Election.

I am determined to fight for this community.

The last 13 years of Conservative Government have decimated local services and thousands of residents across the constituency are struggling against an ever-increasing cost of living that the Government is not doing nearly enough about.

It is clear that only a Liberal Democrat MP will serve the local needs of Braintree residents, with Labour already having admitted defeat and the other parties didn’t even stand here in 2019.

I look forward to showing the people of Braintree that there is a real alternative to our calamitous Government and that they can achieve a fair deal with the Lib Dems.

*All words taken from the Liberal Democrats’ website as Mr Franks did not respond to the Times’ request for comment.

David Heather, Independent

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I have more than 40 years’ experience managing large global companies and smaller businesses.

My feet are planted firmly in the real world. I will be your independent voice in Parliament, not just someone who tows a party line ignoring or riding roughshod over our local issues.

I stand for common sense. I stand for honesty and integrity. To speak for you, the constituent. The people not a party.

I pledge to not join the gravy train. My salary will be donated to four local charities every year. That is true independence.

Do you believe in the reality you experience every day or the promises that are here today, gone tomorrow?

On July 4, you have the opportunity to take back your independence. To send a powerful message to the system that has taken you for granted. Vote for common sense.

On July 4, vote independent. Be clever - vote Heather.

Richard Thompson, Reform UK

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Choosing a representative is about selecting someone who truly understands and advocates for the needs and aspirations of their constituency.

As your Reform UK candidate, I am committed to being that voice for Braintree.

My deep-rooted connection to our community ensures that I am intimately aware of the local issues and challenges we face.

I pledge to work tirelessly to boost our local economy, enhance public services, and ensure that our rural and urban areas receive the attention and resources they deserve.

Reform UK stands for commonsense policies, greater transparency, and a commitment to putting power back in the hands of the people.

With your vote, I will champion these values in Parliament, fighting for lower taxes, better healthcare, and a fairer education system.

Together, we can bring about meaningful change and secure a brighter future for Braintree.

Vote for me, and let’s reform our community for the better.

Paul Thorogood, Green

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As a child, I grew up on the Fairview estate and then the Cressing Road area of Braintree, and attended Great Bradfords and Alec Hunter before gaining a 2.1 Honours degree in politics from Southampton University.

I have an NCTJ professional qualification in journalism and worked as a journalist for 23 years.

I started my journalism career at the Braintree & Witham Times before moving on to the Colchester Gazette, Ipswich Evening Star and several Fleet Street titles including The Daily Mirror when Piers Morgan was editor.

I now run my own small business and live in Coggeshall. I am married with two children who attend local state schools.

I am both a Braintree District Councillor and an Essex County Councillor. 

I became involved in local politics when plans for the Rivenhall Airfield waste incinerator were gaining traction.

A committed environmentalist, I am concerned with protecting and preserving the natural environment from pollution and overdevelopment.

Matthew Wright, Labour

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The NHS is the reason I’m still here today, but it’s currently on its knees, along with the rest of our public services.

We need a Labour MP, and a Labour government to fix it.

Braintree has been taken for granted for too long under the Conservatives.

It is seen as a place where your vote doesn’t count, it’ll just result in another Tory MP. You deserve a local, hard-working MP that puts your interests first, and stands up for you.

I believe in fairness, stability, security, public service, and opportunity.

We’ve had 14 years of Tories failure, decline, and chaos. James Cleverley has played a central role in this, serving under five failed Prime Ministers.

I would like you to ask yourself one question. Do you feel better off than you did in 2010? If the answer is no, then use your vote for Labour, a vote for change.

James Abbott, Green

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I am standing to be MP for Witham with a background of commitment to local people and communities, having been a BDC councillor for 25 years and an ECC councillor for eight.

This election could be an historic reset.

Many feel distanced from politicians after scandals and failures at Westminster, including sewage in rivers and now the betting scandal.

Voters have voiced their priorities with me. It’s clear the NHS, cost-of-living and restoring nature are important. Greens would invest to restore the NHS.

This needs to include a community hospital for Witham and expansion of GP services in our villages.

Greens support legislation to tackle the climate and nature crises and to deliver truly affordable local housing and solar panels on new builds.

Locally I will always oppose Rivenhall Airfield incinerator. I support the campaign to put new grid cables offshore, to save our local countryside from massive pylons.

Timothy Blaxill, Reform UK

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I live, work and have raised my family in Witham. Simply put, I’m a local man who’s focused on making things better for our community.

Why am I standing? I have complete apathy for the current Government and standing opposition, who are all focusing on completely the wrong policies while the country is allowed to plunge deeper into disrepair.

The Reform contract gives a clear, simple message we can all unite behind. I’m absolutely focused on making Britain Great again.

We should be proud of our country, yet I feel this is becoming increasingly hard as resources are focused on the wrong group, ignoring the needs of the legitimate population.

This needs to stop without delay, only Reform has the answers needed to the difficult questions.

*All words taken from the Reform UK website as Mr Blaxill did not respond to the Times’ request for comment.

Rumi Chowdhury, Labour

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The choice is clear. In Witham, Labour is the only party that can beat the Conservatives.

You will have seen a lot about Labour’s plan. I hear your concerns, and your ambitions for the area. I also understand that many of you have given support to other parties in the past.

I’m asking you this time, to please lend me your vote.

We have so much in common, and together we can fight for important issues like climate, health, social care, and local issues that affect us all, like the closure of St Peters.

Most importantly, making sure there is extra cash in your pockets.

For 14 years, our district, county and central government have been run by out-of-touch Conservatives.

Can you honestly say your lives have got better? Missed opportunities with Brexit, economic decline, the highest taxes in 70 years. The chaos must end, it is time for change.

Chelsey Jay, Independent

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I’m a bred and born Withamer, I grew up in the town and I did the help-to-buy scheme so I could afford to stay in the place I call home to raise my own family.

I’m not your typical politician, I grew up on a council estate and am a normal person from the community you can really trust. I represent the people, not a party.

You tell me all the time that you don’t feel properly represented. It’s like us and them.

This is your opportunity to get one of us in.

I understand why people are tactically voting across the UK, but in our case, if you chose Labour just as the lesser of the two evils, you are choosing to settle, when you don’t need to.

You have another choice, me as your Independent. If you want loyalty you want to vote for a local.

Dame Priti Patel, Conservative

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Witham is my home and for the last 14 years I have had the privilege of representing this part of Essex.

I help thousands of residents and businesses with individual issues each year and have led campaigns to secure new investment in our schools, improved healthcare services, and billions of pounds for transport including new trains, road repairs and the A12 widening scheme.

As Home Secretary, I provided the funding for hundreds more police in Essex to make our streets safer.

If re-elected, I will continue to campaign to protect our countryside from inappropriate developments and pylons and will carry on working to secure new health centres in Witham, Kelvedon, Tiptree and for residents who use facilities in Maldon, extra GPs and more dentists.

And I will continue to be your strong voice, putting the Witham constituency first and standing up for our British values.

Ashley Thompson, Liberal Democrat

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I have lived virtually my entire life in Essex.

My work as an educationalist has led me to believe strongly in the need for better mental health support in schools.

The state of the NHS is another top concern for me. It’s time the people of Witham stopped being taken for granted and had a proper voice.

I’ve seen first hand the true extent of the toll that endless Tory cuts have had on youth services, child and adult social care, mental health services and most immediately visible of all, local highways.

I have experienced at close quarters the effects of the cost of living and housing crisis on everyone, but most especially the young.

I am more than prepared to fight vested interests in an effort to create a fairer and greener society for all.