Prue Bray

party: Liberal Democrats
constituency: Rochester and Strood

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)

The Lib Dems have already done some of this in government. In future we would tighten the regulation of new technologies like CCTV and biometrics, protect free speech and public interest journalism,and prevent heavy-handed policing of demonstrations, amongst other things, with a second Freedoms Bill.

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

Yes, and more than that, the Lib Dem manifesto includes a commitment to undertake a post-legislative review of the 2013 Defamation Act, which Liberal Democrats drove through Parliament, to ensure the new provisions are reducing the chill of libel threats.

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

See previous question. There are lots of ways to get more money for building affordable homes, not just the one you are suggesting.

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

organisation: Open Rights Group (ORG)

Only to a very limited degree. The Lib Dems want a Digital Bill of Rights to enshrine our rights online. The Bill will include the right to free expression, privacy from inappropriate use of our data by government and the private sector, the protection of consumers from unfair terms and conditions, and the ability to control data that is held about us.

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

The Lib Dem manifesto includes a commitment to give the NHS a legal duty to identify carers and to develop a Carer’s Passport scheme to inform carers of their rights in the NHS, like more flexible visiting hours, and to enable them to assert their role as expert partners in care and gain access to support.

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

The Lib Dems would require landlords to refund rents to tenants where a property is found to contain a serious health risk and allow tenants to withhold rent from landlords who have not carried out court-ordered improvements within a reasonable period of time. So that is a yes, I think.

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

organisation: Generation Rent

House prices are too high in a lot of areas because of high demand and a shortage of supply. The answer is to provide more housing, either by building or by bringing empty properties back into use. Government (national and local) can help by enabling more affordable and social housing to be created. The Conservatives and Labour governments since 1980 (the advent of Right to Buy) both contributed to the huge reduction in social housing and should both be ashamed of themselves for it.

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

I don't think this would be a good idea. Why? Because such a substantial disincentive to landlords would result in the disappearance of a lot of housing, especially from the bottom end of the private rented sector where there is already too little property available, which would mean either higher Housing Benefit bills nationally or a lot of homeless people in B&Bs. Better to build the new social and affordable housing by other means, such as the contribution levied on developers of new housing. If only George Osborne hadn't raised the threshold at which they start paying to 10 houses instead of 1, we could have had a lot more affordable homes already.

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

In theory a nice idea. In practice a great disincentive to landlords, especially at the bottom of the rental market, which would result in less housing being available. Evidence from across the world suggests that rent controls don't really deliver what you want. Better to build more houses.

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

organisation: CISTA

The Lib Dem manifesto contains the following:
We will:
Adopt the approach used in Portugal where those arrested for possession of drugs for personal use are diverted into treatment, education or civil penalties that do not attract a criminal record.
As a first step towards reforming the system, legislate to end the use of imprisonment for possession of drugs for personal use, diverting resources towards tackling organised drug crime instead.
Continue to apply severe penalties to those who manufacture, import or deal in illegal drugs, and clamp down on those who produce and sell unregulated chemical highs.
Establish a review to assess the effectiveness of the cannabis legalisation experiments in the United States and Uruguay in relation to public health and criminal activity.
Legislate to make the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs independent in setting the classification of drugs, while remaining accountable to Parliament and the wider public.
Enable doctors to prescribe cannabis for medicinal use.
Put the Department of Health rather than the Home Office in charge of drug policy