Voters go to the polls on Thursday, May 4, for the Essex County Council elections and on Thursday, June 8, for the General Election.

For more information about election coverage on Everything Epping Forest and Everything Harlow, email or ring David Jackman 07710 447868.


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: New MP gets record majority

THE new Brentwood and Ongar MP, Alex Burghart, won the seat with the largest majority - 24,002 votes - in the history of the constituency. 
Mr Burghart saw the majority increase by 7% compared to 2015.
He said: "It's an enormous honour to be elected MP for this fantastic constituency. 
"Sir Eric Pickles served Brentwood and Ongar in exemplary fashion for 25 years before standing down in April - his are mighty big boots to fill. 
"During this campaign me and my team have worked non-stop to take our message across the constituency. We've knocked on thousands of doors, made hundreds of phone calls and met teachers, doctors, business leaders, farmers, police officers, students and retired people. 
"Thank you to everyone who has helped me during and to all those who voted for me in this vitally important election. But no matter how you voted, I am here to represent you and look forward to working hard to support this constituency."


EPPING FOREST: Eleanor Laing retains seat and maintains her record of increasing majority at each election

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing has retained her seat with an increased majority and maintained her record of increasing her majority each time she has defended the seat. 
The Deputy Speaker polled 31,462 - an 18,243 majority over Labour candidate Liam Preston (13,219 votes). 
Liberal Democrat candidate Jon Whitehouse polled 2,884 votes while UKIP, who were second two years ago, polled 1,871 votes.
Green Party candidate Simon Heap received 1,233 votes with Young People's Party candidate Thomas Hall getting 110 votes. 
Mrs Laing, who thanked Epping Forest District Council, the counters, the other candidates, police and her team and family for their support, said: "It has been a very pleasant and dignified election here in Epping Forest. 
"It's a great privilege to be the MP for Epping Forest. I was first elected just over 20 years ago. I can hardly believe I've spent 20 years as the MP here but during that time I've had terrific support from so many people right across the constituency. 
"Epping Forest is a great place. We are all very fortunate to live in this brilliant part of the country. 
"I had thought when I passed the 20th anniversary of being elected that it would be very nice to spend another three years before we had another General Election so this surprising and arguably unnecessary General Election is clearly proving to be one of the most interesting in our political history, and I'm not sure if the Returning Officer and all his staff and the other candidates are contemplating possibly being back here again quite soon!
"I'd be perfectly happy not to be back here for many years!" 
The turnout in Epping Forest was 68.12 per cent. 


Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing with the official result CLICK HERE

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing celebrates her victory with her supporters CLICK HERE


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: Conservatives retain seat with 24,000-plus majority

CONSERVATIVE Alex Burghart won the Brentwood and Ongar seat with a resounding 24,002 majority as he replaced Sir Eric Pickles as MP. 
Labour's Gareth Barrett, who stood in Epping Forest two years ago, was second with 10,809 votes. 
Liberal Democrat candidate and Brentwood borough councillor Karen Chilvers polled 4,426 votes while UKIP candidate Michael McGough received 1,845 votes, Green Party candidate Paul Jeater 915 and Independent candidate Louca Kousoulou 104 votes.
The turnout was 70.6 per cent.


HARLOW: Robert Halfon retains seat with reduced majority

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon retained his seat with a slightly reduced majority - down from 8,350 in 2015 to 7,031 - but with 54 per cent of the votes. 
The full result (turnout 66.37 per cent): 
Hannah Clare (Green) 660 
Mark Gough (UKIP) 1,787 
Robert Halfon (Conservative) 24,230 
Geoffrey Seeff (Liberal Democrat) 970 
Phil Waite (Labour) 17,199


EPPING FOREST: Five of the six candidates at Hustings

FIVE of the six General Election candidates standing in Epping Forest took part in a hustings at Epping Catholic Church. 
Labour candidate Liam Preston was unable to attend the evening which was attended by more than 50 people and chaired by Lindsey Brown, from Churches Together in Epping and District.
Liberal Democrat candidate Jon Whitehouse told last night's gathering: "This area has its fair share of challenges and issues. This is the election we were told wouldn't happen or needed but here it is." 
He highlighted education and the NHS as key issues. 
"We need Liberal Democrat MPs to make sure these issues get a good hearing."
He highlighted education - and school budgets - and the NHS - specifically waiting times and appointments. 
Green Party candidate Simon Heap said he had been "shocked" at some of the decisions made locally. 
"There's too much onesidedness in Parliament. We need other views and approaches. We need to think long-term. We are not in it for the glory."
He added housing was a "very pressing issue" and added he had concerns about the Epping Forest District Council Draft Local Plan." 
UKIP candidate Patrick O'Flynn said he would be delighted and honoured to give up his position as an MEP to become MP. 
When a Daily Express journalist he launched the newspaper's campaign to get Britain out of the EU. 
He said: "I'm not the only person on the panel who supported Brexit but I am the one who gave it the most wellie." 
He said UKIP would cut net migration to zero and highlighted the pressures on housing, green belt and public services, and said he would boost police numbers and reopen closed police stations. 
Conservative Eleanor Laing said she had had the "enormous privilege" of having been Conservative MP for the last 20 years. "I have talked to an awful lot of people across Epping Forest over the 20 years and in particular over the last several months during these extraordinary times in British and world politics and I have a very clear view of what people in Epping Forest care about. 
"Most of all they care about security for their families, their jobs and their country. They all tell me about hope and aspiration for the future. 
"Most people in this area decided we would be in a better position if we were outside the European Union. 
"We are heading out of the EU and what we now need to do is get the very, very best deal for our country, our children's children and our future.
"We want to look forward not backwards. Theresa May and the Conservative Party is the right future for Britain."
Thomas Hall, for the Young People's Party, said the Party was fighting "out of control house prices" with home ownership being "a distant dream for many." 
The Party would introduce a land value tax which would mean the scrapping of various other taxes and bring about an immediate 60 per cent drop in house prices. 

Eleanor Laing (Conservative) on EU - Pleased we are leaving "overbearing, bureaucratic organisation" 

Jon Whitehouse (Liberal Democrat) on Brexit - "We may have jumped off the cliff but we haven't landed yet". 

Jon Whitehouse (Liberal Democrat) on nuclear weapons - "We need to move down the ladder of nuclear engagement. We would not have the same number of submarines." 

Eleanor Laing (Conservative) on Trident - "We need Trident. Nobody wants to use a nuclear weapon. Nobody wants war but if we don't have a nuclear deterrent then those who wish evil upon us will be free to bring evil upon us." 

Patrick O'Flynn (UKIP) on Trident - "Trident is a deterrent. Trident has been used every day it has been in existence. It has been used and it has worked. What it has never done is been fired." 

Jon Whitehouse (Liberal Democrat) on police cuts - "One of the biggest losses was the loss of police officers linked to schools. It is knowledge that is often the most powerful way of combating (crime)."

Simon Heap (Green Party) - "We should legalise cannabis." 

Thomas Hall (Young People's Party) - "...would probably legalise most things". 

Patrick O'Flynn (UKIP) on policing - "Cuts to police was a foolish thing to do and a wrong priority. We need a full return to stop and search powers for police. More searches would mean less weapons and less deaths." 

Simon Heap (Green Party) - "We need to be more aware of mental health." 

PICTURE (left to right) Thomas Hall (Young People's Party), Eleanor Laing (Conservative), Patrick Flynn (UKIP), Simon Heap (Green Party) and Jon Whitehouse (Liberal Democrat) click here


HARLOW: Labour candidate sets out key issues

HARLOW Labour parliamentary candidate Phil Waite has set out his key issues ahead of the General Election on June 8. 
He wants to see a new hospital for Harlow, dignity and properly funded care in old age and an end to nurses using Foodbanks. 
Mr Waite said; “These are very, very serious issues and people should be deeply concerned about the capacity of our local health service to provide them with the care they need if they require hospitalisation. 
“Princess Alexandra Hospital is not up to the job and while there are many hard working and dedicated staff working under extreme pressure, there are too many vacancies, particularly within the nursing staff. The effect of this is that patients may not receive the care they need. 
“The blame for this must lie squarely with this Tory government which has sought to privatise the health service and raid capital budgets to support revenue spending. 
“We need urgent investment to enable us to build a new hospital in Harlow. We need to lift the cap on public sector pay to make nursing a viable long-term career choice and we need to address the crisis in adult social care to reduce the burden on the NHS. 
“Labour has committed to all these things. We will invest an addition £30 billion over the next Parliament in health and social care, we will reverse privatisation and we will lift the cap on public sector pay.”


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: Brexit is main issue for Conservative candidate

BREXIT is the "main issue" facing Brentwood and Ongar Conservative candidate Alex Burghart as he continues his first General Election campaign. 
He said: “Since being selected as the Conservative election candidate for the Brentwood and Ongar constituency, I have moved to Brentwood and have been out and about every day meeting residents, Essex Police, business owners, disability access campaigners, local charities and farmers. 
"The main issue on the doorstep is, understandably, Brexit. I voted Leave - and, as someone who has worked with the Prime Minister as a Special Adviser, I can assure everyone that Theresa May is, without doubt, the best person to get Britain the best possible deal.
"People want to know who they can trust with the economy, jobs and public services. Only the Conservatives can deliver the economic security that will protect jobs and public services. 
“There are also concerns about unauthorised traveller encampments and I’ve been speaking to the authorities to make sure everyone is working effectively so that the public are not inconvenienced. 
"I am also investigating whether a new crime of 'intentional trespass', similar to the law in Ireland, could be brought in to allow police to arrest travellers if they fail to move on."
Mr Burghart is looking to take over from Sir Eric Pickles. "Sir Eric has done a sensational job serving local people for the past twenty-five years. I look forward to campaigning hard to follow in his footsteps at the coming General Election."
Mr Burghart is a former teacher who, until his selection, was a Special Adviser to the Prime Minister. 
He is married with two daughters and lives in Pilgrim’s Hatch.


EPPING FOREST: Conservative candidate questions UKIP's decision to stand

THE Conservative candidate for the Epping Forest constituency has questioned UKIP's decision to field a candidate saying "UKIP are fighting yesterday's battles". 
Eleanor Laing, who is one of six candidates in Epping Forest, said: "It is going to be an interesting campaign. I wonder why UKIP are putting up an MEP here in Epping Forest. MEPs are the last thing we want here! 
"UKIP are fighting yesterday's battles. We have won the Referendum. What we need now is a strong Conservative government to get the best deal for Britain as we leave the EU." 
UKIP candidate Patrick O'Flynn has been asked via social media to contact Everything Epping Forest.


HARLOW: 2015 General Election UKIP candidate backing Conservative Robert Halfon

UKIP's 2015 General Election candidate in Harlow is giving his support to Conservative candidate Robert Halfon this time around. 
Sam Stopplecamp said: "I passionately support Britain leaving the EU. I believe that only Theresa May and her local candidates can deliver this. 
"As a former UKIP candidate for Harlow I am giving my strong backing to Robert because he has kept his word and honoured the people by voting consistently in Parliament to make sure our withdrawal from the EU is happening. 
"I strongly urge any Harlow UKIP voter, or anyone who believes in Great Britain and, who wants us to leave the EU, to vote for Robert Halfon and Theresa May to make sure we get the best deal for an independent Britain." 
Mr Halfon said: "I'm delighted and honoured to have the strong support of Sam Stopplecamp. 
"Sam is an honourable and decent man who cares deeply about the future of Harlow and our country. 
"Sam knows that since June 23 last year, after the EU Referendum, I have done everything possible to ensure that the wishes of Harlow and the Country have been followed. I have consistently voted in Parliament to trigger Article 50 and for us to leave the EU. 
"I welcome Sam's support to ensure Theresa May gets the best deal for an independent Britain."


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: EXCLUSIVE: TOWIE star distances herself from father's MP bid

TOWIE star Georgia Kousoulou is distancing herself from her father's bid to be the next MP for Brentwood and Ongar telling Everything Epping Forest she is "not getting involved in it all".
Georgia's father, Louca, is standing as an Independent candidate on June 8 - one of six candidates looking to replace Conservative Sir Eric Pickles who had held the seat for 25 years. 
Georgia told Everything Epping Forest she would "rather stay out of it", adding: "I'm not getting involved in it all."


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: Labour candidate to fight for leisure centre

THE Labour candidate in Brentwood and Ongar has vowed to fight to protect the Ongar Leisure Centre site from housing after it was earmarked for potential development in the Draft Local Plan.
Gareth Barrett is the Labour Group Leader in Brentwood, having grown up in Brentwood attending St Peters Primary School and Hedley Walter High School before heading for University. 
He became councillor for Brentwood South taking a Conservative seat in 2014. 
He was a School Governor at his old school for five years and is a former trustee of the National Union of Students. 
Professionally he works for a trade association and is completing a PhD in politics part-time at Birkbeck, University of London. 
He said: "Brentwood and Ongar is my home. It’s where I grew up and it's where I chose to buy my first home. I am proud to be Labour’s candidate for June’s general election. 
"This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. The NHS and social care is in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk. 
"I will fight to keep Ongar Leisure Centre where I spent many happy afternoons and birthday parties as a child, campaign until the bottlenecks in the High Street are fixed and make sure solutions are found for the parking problems especially around the main GP surgeries. I will be personally active in making all levels of Government deliver for local residents. 
"People in Brentwood and Ongar need a truly local representative who will put them first. I will work tirelessly between now and June to let local people know that this general election will be a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for the people of Brentwood and Ongar or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few." 
Brentwood and Ongar Labour Party chairman Richard Millwood said: "I welcome the selection of Gareth Barrett as Labour’s candidate. “As someone who lives in the constituency, I know that if elected he will put this area first and will be a committed local MP - that’s what Brentwood and Ongar deserves. 
"Over the coming weeks I will be joining Gareth on the campaign trail and am looking forward to supporting him as Labour’s candidate."


HARLOW: Health Secretary visits hospital

HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt has paid a third visit to Princess Alexandra Hospital. 
The Health Secretary and Harlow Conservative candidate Robert Halfon met doctors and nurses and spoke to the hospital's leadership team about Harlow's case for a new hospital. 
Mr Halfon said: "One of my top priorities for Harlow is protecting our NHS. I've worked hard to secure extra funding and more doctors and nurses for our hospital.
"Since 2010, Harlow hospital has had 27 more doctors and 35 more nurses. Our A&E saw 10,628 more people in under four hours last year than it did in 2009-10. 
"I've also managed to secure a 6.32 per cent funding increase for West Essex CCG for our doctors' surgeries and, over the next three years, Essex will receive £49.9m of additional Government funding for care." 
He added: "I've made sure our NHS in Harlow is a top priority for the government and have had many meetings with the Health Secretary and the Hospitals Minister, both of whom have visited our hospital a number of times.
"As well as more funding, I've also been working hard to campaign for a new hospital that is fit for the 21st century. This is something I will keep campaigning hard for if I am reelected on June 8." 
Mr Hunt said: "The staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital are working incredibly hard and doing an amazing job but I saw myself how their working lives are made so much harder by the ageing facilities at the hospital. 
"I heard from Robert Halfon and the hospital leadership about the exciting proposals which are coming together to invest capital in upgrading these facilities, including the option of a brand new hospital. 
"These proposals are at an early stage but upgrading services on this important site will be a priority for a Conservative government if Theresa May is re-elected on June 8."


EPPING FOREST: Six candidates to contest seat

SIX candidates will contest the Epping Forest seat at the General Election on Thursday, June 8.
They are: Thomas Hall (Young People’s Party YPP), Simon Heap (Green Party) Eleanor Laing (Conservatives), Patrick O’Flynn (UKIP), Liam Preston (Labour) and Jon Whitehouse (Liberal Democrats).


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: Six candidates to contest seat

SIX candidates will contest the Brentwood and Ongar seat at the General Election on Thursday, June 8.
They are: Gareth Barrett (Labour), Alex Burghart (Conservative), Karen Chilvers (Liberal Democrat), Paul Jeater (Green), Louca Kousoulou (Independent), Michael McGough (UK Independence Party).


HARLOW: Five candidates to contest seat

FIVE candidates will contest the Harlow parliamentary seat at the General Election on Thursday, June 8. 
They are: Hannah Clare (Green), Mark Gough (UKIP), Robert Halfon (Conservative), Geoffrey Seeff (Liberal Democrats) and Phil Waite (Labour).


TINKER TALKS: A young person's view on the General Election

Year 12 student Matthew Tinker is Head Boy at Roding Valley High School in Loughton. He was an Epping Forest youth councillor and Youth Parliament member for Epping Forest. He is now the Procedures Group representative for the East of England on the UK Youth Parliament. Last year he spoke in the House of Commons about the future of the NHS and has since become a volunteer within the Mental Health service at the North East London NHS Foundation Trust championing young people by giving them a national voice.
He will be writing a series of columns in the run-up to the General Election giving a young person's view on the issues.

THE race to Downing Street has officially begun with Parliament being dissolved on Wednesday. 
With the General Election now just weeks away, the Sixth Form Prefect Team at Roding Valley High School are excited to confirm that they will be hosting a ‘Mock General Election’. They will be working with the Humanities Department to give more than 900 young people from Years 7-10 the opportunity to vote. 
Head of School Sharon Jenner said she is "delighted" Roding Valley is hosting its own mock General Election which will provide an opportunity for students to explore the current political climate, appreciate opposing views and have their voices heard. 
I want them all to challenge, question and form opinions on the political policies that will shape their future.
What is truly astonishing about this General Election is that young people are actively wanting to engage with politics and understand what each party stands for. 
Roding Valley is attempting to give its students an apolitical and informed education about the political processes within our country. 
Youth participation seems to be at an all-time high in Epping Forest.
Young people are continually questioning what each party stands for. Social media is the main source of information for my peers, with the Sky News bulletin within the app ‘Snapchat’ a particular favourite among the 11-18 age category. 
While we wait for the official campaigns to begin in Epping Forest, I would like to remind all people, young or old, that if they are eligible to register to vote, then register! 
Even if you know you are not going to vote on Thursday, June 8, register to vote! 
We are lucky to live in a democracy, we are lucky to be given the opportunity to vote in a fair election, so make sure you are registered to vote by May 22.


COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Conservatives gain district seat

THE Conservatives have gained a county council seat in Epping Forest after district council leader Chris Whitbread was victorious by just 144 votes in Epping and Theydon Bois. 
He ousted Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Whitehouse, who polled 2,275 votes, with the result the last of the district's seven seats to be declared, at 1.30am. 
Mr Whitbread told Everything Epping Forest: "I'm delighted to have been elected. What I hope to do is serve the people to the best of my ability. 
"There's a big job of work to be done and we hope to deliver on our promises." 
The other new face at County Hall in Chelmsford is Gagan Mohindra who takes over from retiring Conservative county councillor John Knapman in Chigwell and Loughton Broadway. 
Mr Mohindra's victory came six days after he failed in his bid to be selected as the Conservative General Election candidate in Brentwood and Ongar having made the final two from a shortlist of three. 
He said: "I would like to thank my agent and predecessor (John Knapman) for his strong and stable leadership and I hope to follow in his footsteps." 
Loughton Residents Association councillor Chris Pond retained his Loughton Central seat while Valerie Metcalfe (Buckhurst Hill and Loughton South), Anthony Jackson (North Weald and Nazeing), Maggie McEwen (Ongar and Rural) and Ricki Gadsby (Waltham Abbey) also held on to their seats. 

Former Epping Forest district councillor Lesley Wagland (Conservative) won a Brentwood Rural seat. 

Turnout 30.2% 
Joseph Barkham (Liberal Democrats) 549 votes 
Simon Heap (Green Party) 1,093 votes 
Valerie Metcalfe (Conservative Party) 2,742 votes ELECTED
Jason Phillips (Labour Party) 466 votes 

Turnout 22.4%
Joanne Alexander-Sefre (Liberal Democrats) 545 votes 
Mitch Diamond-Conway (Labour Party) 518 votes 
Gagan Mohindra (Conservative Party) 2,033 votes ELECTED

Turnout 38.69% 
Simon Bullough (Labour Party) 353 votes
Barry Johns (UK Independence Party) 264 votes
Chris Whitbread (Conservative Party) 2,419 votes ELECTED
Jon Whitehouse (Liberal Democrats) 2,275

Turnout 25.8% 
Angela Ayre (Labour Party) 328 votes 
Jonathan Hunter (Conservative Party) 801 votes
Chris Pond (Independent, Loughton Residents Association) 2,824 votes ELECTED
Paul Rissbrook (Liberal Democrats) 121 votes 

Turnout 27.45% 
Anthony Jackson (Conservative Party) 3,081 votes ELECTED
Stefan Mullard (Labour Party) 500 votes 
Arnold Verrall (Liberal Democrats) 346 votes 

Turnout 28.4% 
Maggie McEwen (Conservative Party) 2,336 votes ELECTED
Lawrence Mendoza (UK Independence Party) 282 votes 
Liam Preston (Labour and Co-operative Party) 316 votes 
Brian Surtees (Liberal Democrats) 432 votes 
Robin Tilbrook (English Democrats) 58 votes 

Turnout 22.76% 
Ricki Gadsby (Conservative Party) 2,283 votes ELECTED
Robert Greyson (Labour Party) 590 votes 
Ron McEvoy (UK Independence Party) 448 votes 
Dave Plummer (Green Party) 325 votes 
Timothy Vaughan (Liberal Democrats) 177 votes


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: Labour select candidate

A BRENTWOOD borough councillor has been selected as Labour’s candidate for the Brentwood and Ongar constituency in the General Election. 
Gareth Barrett is the Labour Group Leader in Brentwood. He became a councillor for Brentwood South, taking a Conservative seat in 2014. 
He grew up in Brentwood, attended St Peters Primary School and Hedley Walter High School before studying Economics at the University of Essex. 
He works for a trade association and is completing a PhD in politics part-time at Birkbeck, University of London. 
He was a school governor at his former school for five years and is a former trustee of the National Union of Students. 
He said: "I am proud to be Labour’s candidate for June’s General Election. Brentwood and Ongar is my home. It’s where I grew up and it’s where I chose to buy my first home. 
"This Tory government has overseen the biggest cuts to our public services in a generation. The NHS and social care are in crisis, our schools are struggling under the weight of the budget cuts and cuts to police budgets are putting our safety at risk. 
"People in Brentwood and Ongar need a truly local representative who will put them first. I will work tirelessly between now and June to let local people know that this General Election will be a choice between a Labour Party that will stand up for the people of Brentwood and Ongar, or a Conservative Party that only looks after the privileged few."
Brentwood and Ongar Labour Party chairman Richard Millwood said: "As someone who lives in the constituency, I know that if elected on June 8 he will put this area first and will be a committed local MP – that’s what Brentwood and Ongar deserves. 
"I look forward to supporting him as Labour’s candidate."


TINKER TALKS: A young person's view on the General Election

Year 12 student Matthew Tinker is Head Boy at Roding Valley High School in Loughton. He was an Epping Forest youth councillor and Youth Parliament member for Epping Forest. He is now the Procedures Group representative for the East of England on the UK Youth Parliament. Last year he spoke in the House of Commons about the future of the NHS and has since become a volunteer within the Mental Health service at the North East London NHS Foundation Trust championing young people by giving them a national voice.
He will be writing a series of columns in the run-up to the General Election giving a young person's view on the issues.

An excited buzz ventured around Roding Valley High School's Sixth Form Study Centre when Prime Minister Theresa May announced a General Election. 
For the first time in my 13 years of education - some of my peers actually have a say in the political system and by goodness they are excited to cast their democratic vote. 
Theresa May’s ‘Snap’ General Election came as a surprise to all and none more so than to the younger generation. 
The initial reaction was simply confusion. 
Kyle Johal, a Year 12 Government and Politics student said: "I believe that the Prime Minister called this election in attempt to secure a strong Conservative majority in the House of Commons, in the hope that she will be able to pursue the 'Hard Brexit' that she has previously alluded to." 
Others suggested that the Prime Minister was simply taking a major gamble. The main issue for young people seems to be education.
Those who I have spoken to refer to the fact that we have been the generation who have gone through the most amount of exam changes in recent history. 
A clear vision for education is what is sought. 
Furthermore, the NHS is a priority issue for young people. In 2016, the UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ consultation showed that 109,919 young people thought that more funding for the NHS was needed; this opinion is still present and most young people actively support the NHS. 
Davenant Foundation School’s newly appointed Head Boy, Joseph Pascoe, is a NHS Youth Advisor. 
He told me: "The NHS is a fundamental aspect of society that should be protected." 
As a spokesperson for his school, Joseph said: "There is excitement at the prospect of a new General Election." 
Ultimately it is clear that the young people of Epping Forest are passionate about the upcoming election. They are looking for the parliamentary candidates to actively engage with them during the campaign. Young people deserve to have their #youthvoice heard.


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: District council cabinet member shortlisted by Conservatives

EPPING Forest District Council cabinet member Gagan Mohindra is on a shortlist of three to be the Conservative candidate in Brentwood and Ongar at the General Election. 
The finance portfolio holder, who has been a district councillor since 2006, is contesting the Chigwell and Loughton Broadway ward in the Essex County Council elections. 
He is a self-employed businessman, chairman of Epping Forest Conservatives and chairman of the Board of Governors at Epping Forest College. 
He fought North Tyneside in the 2010 General Election. 
He is up against Alex Burghart who is currently lead adviser on social justice in the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit. 
He was previously Director of Strategy for the Children’s Commissioner and from 2012 to 2016 was Director of Policy at the Centre for Social Justice. 
He has also served as a policy adviser at the Department for Education. 
The other candidate is Sarah Heald who is currently Director of Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations at Pennon Group, the utility firm which owns South West Water. 
She is a former Associate Partner at financial PR firm Finsbury and investment banker at the Bank of Montreal. In 2014 she was long-listed in Havant and in Banbury. 
Her father is Sir Oliver Heald, MP for North East Hertfordshire.


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: Liberal Democrats select candidate

BRENTWOOD borough councillor Karen Chilvers has been selected as the Liberal Democrats' General Election candidate in Brentwood & Ongar. 
Karen, 46, has lived in Brentwood for 25 years and has served as councillor for Brentwood West since 2007. 
She is a children's author and marketing consultant. She has also been a disability rights campaigner since becoming disabled herself in recent years and strongly believes in equal rights. 
She said: "I dearly want to represent the people of my home constituency in parliament and that is why I am standing here - to be your voice in parliament.
"People may regard this as a safe Tory seat but with thousands joining the Liberal Democrats and thousands more - from all parties - set to vote for us there could be a number of upsets and this could be one of them."


BRENTWOOD AND ONGAR: Sir Eric Pickles to stand down

BRENTWOOD and Ongar MP Sir Eric Pickles is to stand down at the General Election after 25 years as Member of Parliament. 
Sir Eric, who was knighted in 2015 and had a 21,810 majority at the 2015 General Election, said he had taken the decision "after much heart searching". 
Sir Eric broke the news of his retirement in a letter to Brentwood and Ongar Conservative Association chairman councillor Mark Reed after the association invited him to stand again. 
Sir Eric said: "It has been an enormous honour to represent the constituency for 25 years. Brentwood and Ongar is a wonderful place to live. Throughout that quarter of century, I have enjoyed success and some setbacks, but have always been sustained by the friendship back home in the patch. 
"This was particularly true when public office, either as member of the Shadow Cabinet in Opposition, Party Chairman or Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, kept me away from the constituency. The warmth of local support was always a source of great strength." 
He added: "I have served in elected office, either as a councillor or a Member of Parliament for just short of 40 years, starting with the wonderful Margaret Thatcher up to and including Theresa May. 
"I strongly believe that it is in the national interest for Theresa to receive the clear endorsement of the British people for her difficult task of removing this country from the EU. She has proved to be a great PM and has my full support in the coming campaign. 
"I had intended the present Parliament to be my last one, and I am grateful for the invitation to serve a further five years. After much heart searching I have concluded that now is the right time for Brentwood and Ongar to have a new representative in Westminster. Accordingly, I do not wish to have my name put forward as a candidate. 
"The next MP for Brentwood and Ongar will have my enthusiastic support.” 
Sir Eric was chairman of the Conservative Party from 2009 to 2010 and is currently the chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel and the United Kingdom Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues. He was appointed in 2015.


EPPING FOREST: MP "very pleased" about early General Election

EPPING Forest MP Eleanor Laing says an early General Election is "the right way to provide stability" for the country following the EU Referendum.
Mrs Laing, who will be contesting her sixth General Election having first been elected in 1997, told Everything Epping Forest she is "very pleased" at the Prime Minister's announcement to go for a June 8 election, three years earlier than scheduled.
Mrs Laing said: "The country has been in a period of turmoil since the EU Referendum last summer and the right way to provide stability is to ask the people.
"We are already on an election footing here in Epping Forest because we have very important county council elections in just two weeks and I am looking forward to that campaigning continuing for several more weeks." Mrs Laing added: "I have every confidence that the British people will chose a strong and decisive Conservative government to take us forward. That's what gives us the best hope and the best opportunity." At each election since 1997, Mrs Laing has increased her majority, up to her current majority of 17,978 votes - when she polled 54.8 per cent of the total votes cast in 2015.

Liberal Democrat Jon Whitehouse, who polled 16.1 per cent of the votes in 2015 (with 3,448 votes) told Everything Epping Forest, his party has yet to decide whether he will be standing again in Epping Forest. He said: "We will formally select our candidate shortly but I certainly hope to be closely involved in the campaign, as candidate or otherwise."
He added: "This election is a huge opportunity for voters in Epping Forest to change the direction of our country and ensure Britain has a decent opposition.
"Whichever side of the Referendum argument people were on, most did not vote for the extreme form of Brexit that Theresa May has imposed on us after being backed by Labour.
"The Liberal Democrats will campaign to protect our local economy by staying in the Single Market, back local schools by directing funds to them rather than the Conservatives' grammar school obsession, and tackle the NHS and social care crisis in Essex.
“The Liberal Democrats are the real opposition to the Conservative Brexit Government and the only party fighting for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.”

Labour, the Green Party and UK Independence Party have been asked for their comments.



ONE of the district's seven county councillors is standing down at the May elections as all seats come up for election. 
In Epping Forest, five of the seven seats are currently held by the Conservatives. 
The exceptions are the Epping and Theydon Bois seat where current councillor Jon Whitehouse is up against Epping Forest District Council leader Chris Whitbread, Simon Bullough (Labour) and Barry Johns (UKIP), and in Loughton Central where current councillor Chris Pond (Independent - Loughton Residents Association) is up against Angela Ayre (Labour Party), Jonathan Hunter (Conservative Party) and Paul Rissbrook (Liberal Democrats).
John Knapman is standing down as the Conservative county councillor for Chigwell and Loughton Broadway. 
Aiming to take his place is Epping Forest District Council cabinet member Gagan Mohindra, Joanne Alexander-Sefre (Liberal Democrats) and Mich Diamond-Conway (Labour Party). 
Voters go to the polls on Thursday, May 4, with the results to be announced in the early hours of Friday, May 5. 
Locally, the count will be held at Debden Park High School, Loughton. 
Everything Epping Forest will be providing live updates throughout the evening with results and reaction on its Twitter feed (@eefnews) and its Facebook page and group.

Full list of candidates: 

BUCKHURST HILL AND LOUGHTON SOUTH (currently Valerie Metcalfe, Conservative) 
Joseph Barkham (Liberal Democrats) 
Simon Heap (Green Party) 
Valerie Metcalfe (Conservative Party) 
Jason Phillips (Labour Party) 

CHIGWELL AND LOUGHTON BROADWAY (currently John Knapman, Conservative Party) 
Joanne Alexander-Sefre (Liberal Democrats) 
Mitch Diamond-Conway (Labour Party) 
Gagan Mohindra (Conservative Party) 

EPPING AND THEYDON BOIS (currently Jon Whitehouse, Liberal Democrat) 
Simon Bullough (Labour Party) 
Barry Johns (UK Independence Party) 
Chris Whitbread (Conservative Party) 
Jon Whitehouse (Liberal Democrats) 

LOUGHTON CENTRAL (currently Chris Pond, Independent - Loughton Residents Association) 
Angela Ayre (Labour Party) 
Jonathan Hunter (Conservative Party)
Chris Pond (Independent, Loughton Residents Association) 
Paul Rissbrook (Liberal Democrats) 

NORTH WEALD AND NAZEING (currently Anthony Jackson, Conservative Party) 
Anthony Jackson (Conservative Party) 
Stefan Mullard (Labour Party) 
Arnold Verrall (Liberal Democrats) 

ONGAR AND RURAL (currently Maggie McEwen, Conservative Party) 
Maggie McEwen (Conservative Party) 
Lawrence Mendoza (UK Independence Party) 
Liam Preston (Labour and Co-operative Party) 
Brian Surtees (Liberal Democrats) 
Robin Tilbrook (English Democrats) 

WALTHAM ABBEY (currently Ricki Gadsby, Conservative Party)
Ricki Gadsby (Conservative Party) 
Robert Greyson (Labour Party) 
Ron McEvoy (UK Independence Party) 
Dave Plummer (Green Party) 
Timothy Vaughan (Liberal Democrats)