ELECTION PROFILE: Don Valley constituency

Generic views of Thorne town centre
Generic views of Thorne town centre

As six candidates bid to become the next Don Valley MP, the NHS, education, tax and the economy are the hot issues helping constituents decide which way to vote.

In just under three weeks, the nation will go to the polls in what is shaping up to be the most unpredictable General Election in recent times.

Generic views of Thorne town centre

Generic views of Thorne town centre

Shadow Energy Secretary, Caroline Flint, who has been MP in the constituency since 1997 and is set to go head-to-head with Carl Jackson of the Conservative Party, Rene Paterson of the Liberal Democrats, Steve Williams of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, Louise Dutton of the English Democrats and Guy Aston of the UK Independence Party.

The Don Valley is another Doncaster constituency regarded as a Labour stronghold, and has only had a period of four years without a Labour MP since it was formed in 1918.

The only time in which voters in the constituency opted to vote for a party other than Labour was in 1918 when James Walton of the National Democratic Party was elected.

Despite this, any of the six candi dates could be elected.

Generic views of Thorne town centre

Generic views of Thorne town centre

But which policies will help influence the way the constituency’s 73,000 residents decide to vote?

We asked our readers to tell us what issues really matter to them in this year’s election.

Speaking on social media, Leon French commented: “Economic competence matters to me.”

He continued: “I want a party to take our economy forward instead of following the failed socialist policies of France.”

Holly Emery said ‘NHS, Education, Tax and the country’s finances, equality for women in the workplace’ are what is important to her.

Commenting on the type of candidate he would like to see represent him and others in the Don Valley, John Jj Davis, wrote: “Someone that is going to deal with the fly tipping, rubbish and general poor standard of living that people of Hexthorpe have to put up with.

“Seem to have been failed so far.

But some voters told us they felt apathetic, and that their intentions on May 7 may involve avoiding polling stations all together.

Gemma Minty commented: “I think the election is embarrassing.

“A group of grown posh boys all slagging each other off and making fake promises when we all know that regardless of whoever ‘the face’ of the country may be, they are all run by the same people and nothing will change.”

Daniel Winslow said he did not know enough about what each of the six candidates had pledged to do for the borough.

“I’m pretty clear on the national policies of each party, what I want to know is specifically what are they going to do for Doncaster,” said Daniel.

He continued: “How are they going to champion the town? How are they going to encourage investment and put us on the map!?”

The constituency covers the Hatfield, Thorne, Branton, Auckley, Tickhill, Rossington, Wadworth and Conisbrough areas of the borough.

And following a boundary change which took effect after the 2010 General Election, Sprotbrough was moved from Don Valley into the Doncaster North constituency, while Thorne has been moved from the Doncaster North ward to Don Valley.

Voting apathy appears to have become commonplace in the Don Valley constituency, with turnout fluctuating between 55 per cent and 59 per cent over the last 15 years.

Turnout was at an all time low in 2001, with just 54.8 per cent people turning out to vote, this increased back up to 59 per cent at the last election.

However the 2010 turnout was also far lower than the national average, which was 65.5 per cent in England.

If you want to vote in next month’s elections you need make sure you are registered.

And time is running out for Doncaster constituents to have their say in this year’s election, as the deadline for registering to vote on Monday April 20.

If you are not yet registered you can either visit https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and follow the instructions. Alternatively, you can also download a voter registration form from that website and send in your application by post.

While registering residents an opportunity to check their details and inform the elections team if they are not correct.

Everyone over the age of 16 has to take responsibility for ensuring they are on the voting register.

To register online, residents just need their date of birth and National Insurance number to ensure they have the right to vote.

Chief Executive and Returning Officer Jo Miller urged anyone who is not yet registered to do so. She said: “The outcome of these elections affects every single person in Doncaster so make sure you are registered and cast your vote. Registering only takes a few minutes

The Doncaster Free Press will feature a profile on the candidates for the Don Valley constituency, as well as Doncaster Central and Doncaster North on April 30.

If you are a candidate please contact Sarah Marshall on 01302 347221 or email her at sarah.marshall@jpress.co.uk for more information.