Kettering Labour candidate insists it's all to play for
Labour's general election candidate in Kettering says she is not fazed by a battle to overturn a 10,500 majority.
Clare Pavitt is bidding to become an MP for the first time when the nation goes to the polls next month and she will attempt to unseat Conservative Brexiter Philip Hollobone, who was first elected in 2005.
Kettering is now considered to be a safe Tory seat but Clare, who has worked in local government for 18 years, believes Labour can cause an upset.
She said: "I think this election is anyone's game.
"Traditional voting habits are absolutely out of the window and people are starting to open their eyes to voting behaviour and look at things in a different way.
"Winning is about bringing Kettering back to where it should be. It's about saying enough is enough.
"People deserve a quality life and the opportunities to progress and have a happy life, not just getting by day by day. It's got to change.
"In 1997 Phil Sawford overturned a 12,000 majority. I think anything is possible in this election."
Clare will also be up against Lib Dem Chris Nelson, Green Party candidate Jamie Wildman and Independent Jim Hakewill, a local councillor and former mayor.
Talk of Cllr Hakewill being a realistic threat was swatted away by the Conservative candidate, but Clare said he would not be wise to dismiss him.
If elected Clare would be Kettering's first female MP and she is standing on five pledges to would-be constituents.
She wants to stand up for local NHS staff after she almost died at KGH in 1996 and says fears over the future of the NHS are not scaremongering.
She said a private health insurance system would be "devastating" for people who live in Kettering.
She said: "That's why it's so important we protect the NHS. There are hundreds and thousands of people like me that are on moderate earnings and everybody has the right to basic health."
Clare, a former Tresham College student, has also pledged to help eradicate home insecurity by kick-starting a social housing programme and also wants to help make Kettering carbon neutral by 2030. She does her bit for the planet by making eco bricks.
She also wants to 'create positive futures and rebuild pride' by investing in young people and has pledged to help revitalise the high streets across the constituency.
She criticised the 'hugely disappointing' vision for our town centres and said more should be done.
She said: "I don't think it's good enough to say high streets are dying because of online shopping and competition because that's just offloading the responsibility.
"That's saying 'it is what it is' but it shouldn't be what it is. This is our town and our community and we should be having a vision for a modern high street...people are going to our competition because the shops that were here are now there."
Clare, who used to work in Boots in Kettering's town centre, said Labour's plan to nationalise industries such as rail services, water and broadband is "exciting".
For some Brexit is the election's defining issue and Clare, a remainer, said she would vote remain again in any future referendum.
She said that she would take a soft Brexit if it was on the table and added that she respects the leave vote and would "100 per cent" back any mandate given to her in Kettering in a future referendum.
She said: "Their opinion should be valued and respected. That being said, we are in a very different place now to where we were three years ago.
"What is Brexit is actually the question. Even the leavers don't want to leave in a certain way.
"The vote on Theresa May's deal was defeated three times and a huge part of that defeat was the Conservatives voting against it, including local Conservatives.
"If their ambition is to leave, why didn't they just vote for the deal in the first case and respect the constituency vote?"
Across the country some Labour remain voters could vote for the Lib Dems, who are pledging to cancel Brexit altogether if they gain a majority.
Clare said the Lib Dems historically do not do well in Kettering and that it could be a wasted vote.
She urged people to vote for her for "real change".
She said: "Kettering is an amazing place. When I first moved to the area it was absolutely thriving...it was the place to come to.
"It just isn't like that at the moment. Austerity has really bitten parts of Kettering hard."