Stephen Priestley

party: UK Independence Party (UKIP)
constituency: Brent Central

back to candidate list

How would you reform surveillance law, oversight and practice to respect the rights of law-abiding people?

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

This is clearly a vital question, and of paramount importance is balancing the rights of law-abiding people with the need for special intelligence services to foil plots intended to kill innocent civilians, such as the atrocities committed in 2007 in London. If elected, I would ensure that there are rigorous mechanisms in place to regulate and oversee how agreed surveillance procedures are implemented - these must be transparent to ordinary citizens, who have a right to be protected from unwarranted intrusions into their private realm.

The right of parents to remain with their children in hospital has been established for over forty years. How would you ensure carers of people with dementia are equally welcome in hospital?

organisation: John's Campaign

In my view, this is an area which needs to be formalised with hospitals. Visiting arrangements for carers and families with patients with dementia should be given equal parity to those with physical health problems. This is an area in which further legislation may be required, to ensure that carers are given greater rights.

Should people in Scotland and Northern Ireland have the same free speech protections from libel bullies as their neighbours in England and Wales?

organisation: English PEN

This is complex as there are differences in legislation in both countries, however in principle, I would support that the same free speech protections be available throughout the United Kingdom, as part of having a fair and equitable democratic system

Recent polling show that people support rent control by a margin of nine to one. Do you support a rent control that limits rent rises between tenancies as well as during tenancies?

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes, at recent hustings, I have been outspoken in support of this issue. Housing is an essential human necessity, and in London, exploitation of tenants by unscrupulous landlords has been a major problem. The cost of rentals must be fair and capped, to ensure that it remains affordable for as many people as possible. I also believe that tenancies should be extended from 6 months to up to two years or longer, as is common in many other European countries, to again offer greater security to tenants.

The standards of goods and services that are essential, such as food and water, are generally highly regulated. Do you support enforced minimum standards in housing as a precondition of a renting?

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes - there should definitely be agreed minimum standards. Local authorities, housing associations and private landlords should all have to comply with ensuring that no property can be rented out unless it meets agreed housing requirements. Tenants need to be adequately protected and not vulnerable to exploitation from either institutions or private landlords

Britain spends £24 billion on housing benefit and less than £1.5 billion on building homes. Do you support an increase in the social housebuilding grant to £5 billion a year to build homes?

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes. I also support the government commiting to providing a mix of housing options, and to local authorities working far more closely with housing associations to deliver greater number, access and quality of housing provision, in Brent Central and nationally, and would campaign fiercely for this issue in the community and House of Commons

Governments implement policies that directly and indirectly impact on house prices. Do you think house prices are too high?

organisation: Generation Rent

Without a doubt. For the vast majority, buying a house is not an option, as house prices are way beyond what most ordinary people can afford. This is a problem which needs to be urgently addressed, and which requires creativity from the government to tackle the powerful vested interests of property developers and estate agents!

Private sector landlords receive over £27bn a year in housing benefit and tax breaks. Would you support a rent tax that recouped up to a third of this to fund new housing supply?

organisation: Generation Rent

Yes, I would support any initiative which recoups monies for the purposes of having far greater funds available to commit to increasing the housing stock both locally and nationally

To what degree should access to information on the internet be restricted by the state or private companies?

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

Information should only be ever restricted if there would clearly be harmful consequences of disclosure of sensitive data - the threshold for what is deemed 'harmful' should be very high, so that information can not be withheld for spurious reasons, and can only be withheld if vital security interests are at stake, eg. if national security or the safety of individuals and groups would be severely compromised

Would you support the creation of a Royal Commission to review Britain’s drug laws?

organisation: CISTA

Yes, in my view, there is a need for greater innovation in this important policy area - the direction of policy in relation to drug laws should not be subject to party-political point scoring, but should be determined by experts in the field, so that drug use is approached in a fair and proportionate way, which gives the users support rather than driving drug use and drug users underground. The aim should be to concentrate on those drugs that can be empirically demonstrated to cause the greatest harm to users and also the general public - so that resources and responses are concentrated in the most vital areas.