With just three weeks until Polling Day, The Comet has been asking Parliamentary candidates in Hitchin why they deserve your vote.

There are six candidates vying to become the MP for Hitchin, a newly created constituency following the 2022 boundary review.

Unusually, two sitting MP's from the last Parliament are competing for one seat here, with the former members for Mid Bedfordshire and Hitchin and Harpenden both on the ballot here.

We asked each candidate to tell us why they should be your next MP:

Bim Afolami, Conservative Party (MP for Hitchin and Harpenden in the last Parliament)

Bim Afolami has been the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden since 2017Bim Afolami has been the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden since 2017 (Image: Bim Afolami MP)

Serving as Hitchin’s Member of Parliament since 2017 has been the privilege of my life. Together, we have achieved so much. From the Discretionary Grants our work helped secure for small businesses across the country during Covid, to a new Herts Hospital and a new Cancer Hospital, to record numbers of police on our streets in Herts and Beds, and much more besides.

In this election, people in the new Hitchin constituency have a clear choice between me, an experienced Member of Parliament, with a track record of delivery, who will stand up and fight for our communities, or another Lib Dem or a Labour MP who’ll back Keir Starmer’s plans for higher taxes, more development, and a retirement tax on your pension.

With your vote, I will finish the work I’ve started to protect our beautiful countryside. I’ll back our villages against the threat of Luton Airport expansion. I’ll continue my work to deliver more jobs and apprenticeships.

I’ll make sure we have safer streets and communities – with our record number of police officers in the right place, tackling crime.

I’ll keep improving local healthcare, with new GP surgeries in North Herts and Central Beds. And I’ll tackle congestion, including opening up Eastern access to Hitchin Station and securing a new HGV relief road.

Alistair Strathern, Labour Party, MP for Mid Bedfordshire in the last Parliament

Alistair Strathern won the Mid Bedfordshire By-election last yearAlistair Strathern won the Mid Bedfordshire By-election last year (Image: Alistair Strathern, MP)

This election is our chance for change.

Starting out as a maths teacher, or later at the Bank of England, I’ve always wanted to do my bit.

Last October, it was the privilege of my life to be elected as the MP for my home. Since then, I’ve brought people together from all parties and backgrounds, to achieve meaningful results on issues like GP funding and armed forces accommodation.

With my home of Shefford joining our new Hitchin constituency, I’m re-standing to deliver the change our towns and villages need.

From struggles to see a doctor to the pressures of the cost of living, we just can’t afford five more years of decline. There will be no quick fixes, but if I’m re-elected I’ll start the hard work: delivering more doctors and dentist appointments, championing access to affordable childcare and opportunities for young people, protection for nature, proper infrastructure for new homes, and support for our fantastic local businesses.

Independent pollsters and experts agree Hitchin will be a close race between Labour and the Conservatives this time. There could be just a few votes in it. I hope I can earn your trust to get things working again.

Charles Bunker, Reform UK

Disillusioned ex-Tory Charles Bunker is standing for the insurgent Reform UK in HitchinDisillusioned ex-Tory Charles Bunker is standing for the insurgent Reform UK in Hitchin (Image: Reform UK)

Hitchin and its surrounding villages are carried deep into my soul for I have lived here since I was five years old.

I am standing as the Reform UK Party candidate in this election because I believe Britain is broken and I do not see the Labour, Conservative or Liberal parties having the solutions to our problems. They are all international liberalists who put their ambitions on the global stage ahead of you and your family.

Mass immigration is a major issue. It is overwhelming our medical services, housing stock, and infrastructure. It is damaging our quality of life, challenging our culture and making us financially poorer. Despite what they say, none of the other parties will control immigration. Only Reform UK has the resolve to keep control of our borders.

The Windrush Scandal, the Grenfell Tower Fire, the Post Office Scandal, the Blood Scandal, raw sewage in our rivers, our lights kept on courtesy of imported electricity from Europe, a cost-of-living crisis, an unaccountable civil service, and a country burdened with debt, which summarises the state of our nation today, are all symptoms of a failed political system.

Swapping one set of failed professional politicians with another will not provide the radical solutions our country requires. Our Country doesn’t just need change. It needs radical Reform.

Applying its philosophy of compassion, competence, common sense and integrity, only Reform UK will deliver the fundamental reform our country needs. It is why I ask you to support me with your vote on July 4.

Chris Lucas, Liberal Democrats

Chris Lucas is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the new Hitchin seatChris Lucas is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the new Hitchin seat (Image: Chris Lucas)

Every vote for me at this election is a vote to elect a strong, local champion who will fight every day for our NHS and care. People desperately want change, from fixing health and care services to cleaning rivers and providing safe homes. Liberal Democrats have a plan to make our community, where I live and work, a better place. 

Our manifesto covers all these difficult issues, from climate change to political reforms and rebuilding our EU bridges. Things Conservatives and Labour don’t want to talk about or act on. We will focus on your priorities with affordable solutions; supporting the vulnerable including our youngsters, and making large institutions like banks pay towards it, regulating public utilities to lower bills.         

This incompetent Conservative Government has to go. And in so many parts of the country, we have shown that it is the Liberal Democrats who can get them out. I want to see real change to give people the fair deal they deserve, something the big parties with their vested interests cannot deliver. 

We want a fair deal to fix the health and care crisis, get our economy back on track, renew the environment, and make a fairer society for all.

Sid Cordle, Christian People's Alliance

Sid Cordle is the leader of the Christian People's AllianceSid Cordle is the leader of the Christian People's Alliance (Image: Archant)

I am standing on a platform of getting things done in Hitchin.  Our existing MP has achieved very little.

He’s talked about stopping Luton airport expansion but hasn’t and has no solution. We want a new airport for London with 6 runways in the Thames Estuary with new road and rail links to it.

This to be paid for by cutting QUANGOs which cost £90bn in 2010 but £265bn last year, a £100bn rise in real terms. Our existing MP in his role as Economic secretary to the Treasury has presided over this crazy wasteful spending.

He’s promised a new access to the station from the rear but done nothing. I would solve the problem by building a new tunnel to link up with the underpass there. The existing lift is right by the entrance.

He’s talked about making the area around Hitchin an area of natural beauty to stop development on it. It has not happened and new developments are taking place. Labour and Lib Dems support the building. I would stop it.

Will Lavin, Green Party

Veteran campaigner Will Lavin is flying the flag for The Greens in HitchinVeteran campaigner Will Lavin is flying the flag for The Greens in Hitchin (Image: Will Lavin)

At this election The Green Party are expecting our biggest vote share ever, and we are hopeful of getting several more Green MPs elected.

A big Green vote helps to hold the other parties to account. None of them have been brave enough to really tackle the climate crisis, poor air quality, and the disastrous state of our water – which Greens have been campaigning about for decades.

The Green Party will raise taxes for the ultra-rich in order to properly fund the NHS. We will embark on a widespread home insulation programme to save energy and reduce bills. There are great opportunities for creating jobs in renewable energy and Green technologies.

I have found Hitchin voters to be very receptive to the Green message. In recent local elections, I comfortably beat the Conservative and LibDem candidates. In Hertfordshire we have had huge successes in getting councillors elected.

Labour will win this general election – so there is no need to vote tactically. So rather than voting for the “least worst” option, now is the time to vote positively – vote Green.

The General Election takes place on Thursday, July 4 with counting taking place overnight.