We’re in the election spotlight

PEOPLE in Henleaze, Westbury-on-Trym and across Bristol will go to the polls on July 4 in the general election.

The city will be in the national spotlight because the new Bristol Central constituency is a key target seat for the Greens. The party’s co-leader Carla Denyer,  a former Bristol City Councillor is challenging Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire. The other candidates are Rob Clarke, Reform; Nicholas Coombes, Lib Dem; Kellie-Jay Keen, Party of Women; Samuel Williams, Conservative.

Under new boundaries, Bristol Central includes Ashley; Central; Clifton; Clifton Down; Cotham; Hotwells & Harbourside; and Redland council wards. 


Nicholas Coombes (Lib Dem)
Nicholas Coombes is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Bristol Central. He is campaigning for a fair deal; to restore the broken social contract between our state and its citizens.

Liberal Democrats will invest in carers, recognising and rewarding the work that they do looking after loved ones, and supporting the NHS.

Having fought to remain in the European Union, we want to put Britain on a path to re-joining the single market; to improve relations with our neighbours, boost trade and cut tariffs.

We are fighting to clean up our environment and stop water companies dumping sewage. We would continue to decarbonise energy supply, started when the Liberal Democrats were in government but trashed since by the Conservatives.

Liberal Democrats would also introduce a proportional voting system, to end the frustration of tactical voting and deliver representative government.

Professionally, Nicholas is a chartered Town Planner, specialising in energy and transport infrastructure. He is currently working on the development of an offshore windfarm. He wants to use his expertise to fight climate change, and get Bristol moving.

Nicholas has recently won a seat on Bristol City Council. This is his second period as a Councillor, having previously served 8 years in the role. He has been appointed to the Transport Committee and is Vice Chair of Audit.

He lives in Clifton with his partner, and outside of work and politics he enjoys hiking and cycling in the countryside. He also sings with his local choir and plays classical piano.

Thangam Debbonaire (Labour)
I am proud to have represented you in Parliament for the last 9 years.

My politics have been shaped by my life experiences. My dad left his home in India and came to this country to take up a place at the Royal Academy of Music. He made this country his home. Growing up in a creative household, I became a professional musician before moving to Bristol over 30 years ago to work for domestic abuse charities.

As the local MP since 2015 I have taken over 40,000 issues on behalf of our community – working to ensure Bristol remains a welcoming place for refugees, fighting for residents affected by the cladding scandal, campaigning for more dentists for our community including successfully in St Paul’s and protecting local bus routes.

In Parliament, I have always stood up for Bristol’s values. I’ve fought for bold action to tackle the climate emergency, voted against the Tory party’s cruel Rwanda scheme and fought for closer ties with the EU. I also tabled and voted for a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

You can read more about my successes as your MP on my website – www.debbonaire.co.uk.

If you re-elect me I promise to:

1. Take radical action to tackle the climate emergency.

2. Give our children the best start in life with free breakfast clubs and mental health support.

3. Support families in Bristol by tackling the Tory cost of living crisis

4. Tackle knife crime with a targeted programme to identify the young people at risk.

Bristol finally has the chance to make real change with me as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. You deserve to be represented at the heart of government by someone who can help transform Bristol and beyond for the better.

Carla Denyer (Green)
Carla Denyer is a renewable energy engineer who got into politics because she could see our country’s problems and wanted to roll up her sleeves and help fix them.

In 2021, she became Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, having led Bristol to make the first climate emergency declaration in Europe. She’s used her platform to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, more action on the climate emergency and protection of our NHS.

In 2019, Carla made a significant impact as the Green Party’s MP candidate in Bristol West. She not only came second but nearly doubled the Greens’ previous vote share, receiving the highest number of votes that the Green Party has ever received in a General Election outside of Brighton Pavilion.

As a councillor and campaigner, social justice is at the heart of Carla’s work.  Whether on renters’ rights or access to public transport and key services, Carla consistently stood up for the people who need it the most.

Samuel Williams (Conservative)
I’m Samuel Williams, and I’m running to be your next Member of Parliament for Bristol Central. My grandmother came to the UK from Jamaica as part of the Windrush generation and worked in the NHS to help rebuild our nation following the Second World War. Growing up as a mixed-race, dyslexic boy from a single-parent home, I know the challenges many of us face. An experienced businessman and charity leader, I stood to be the Mayor of the West of England in 2021; and I’m here to be a voice for the unheard and underrepresented—a voice for a hopeful future and a thriving Bristol Central.

Bristol Central is full of potential, vibrant communities, and rich history. But under Labour’s prolonged city, regional, and parliamentary leadership in Bristol Central, we’ve seen excessive spending and mismanagement. Projects like the failed Bristol Energy Company have wasted resources that could have been better used. I believe Labour has neglected our city’s transport, education, and affordable housing needs.

As your representative, I will prioritise:

• Safeguarding our climate and green spaces: I am committed to environmental sustainability, preserving our green areas, and delivering an inclusive green economic transition.

• Improving local health care: Enhancing healthcare services and access for all residents, including innovations like Pharmacy First.

• Advocating for new housing: Ensuring the development of affordable and quality housing, and supporting first-time buyers.

• Empowering education: Investing in education for better opportunities for our youth, including supporting Special Education Needs provision.

• Backing our high street and boosting our economy: Supporting local businesses, investing in our high streets, and stimulating growth

This election, let’s choose a brighter future for Bristol Central. Vote for change. Vote for me, Samuel Williams. Together, we can make Bristol Central thrive.

Rob Clarke (Reform)
Kellie-Jay Keen (Party of Women)

All candidates were invited by the Voice to submit statements for our election preview.


Caroline Gooch (Lib Dem)
Caroline lives in Westbury Park, she trained as a PhD biomedical scientist and has over 20 years experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industry. She comes originally from Sheffield and has lived in Bristol for 8 years after moving here for work. 

Caroline recently won a council seat in Westbury and Henleaze, taking the most votes in the ward, and now serving as Vice Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee. She was previously Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of Bristol, and a co-founder of “It’s Our City Bristol” – the cross-party group that campaigned to abolish the role of Mayor. 

Caroline is passionate about the NHS, improving access to services, as well as joining up health andx0 social care. 

Caroline is using this election to champion Proportional Representation. It is profoundly unfair that under our First Past the Post election system, most of the votes cast do not count Britain is one of only two countries in Europe not to use some form of Proportional Representation, the other one is Belarus. 

Caroline also recognises that the hard Brexit negotiated by the government has called considerable harm to our country, with skills shortages, and the rising cost of food, as well as medicines shortages and increased red tape for our businesses and agriculture. The Liberal Democrats have a 4-step plan to work towards re-entry into the Single Market, which starts with repairing our relationship with our European neighbours and having mutual recognition of qualifications.

Darren Jones (Labour)
Welcome to Bristol North West! You’ve not been part of our political journey these past seven years, so let me give you a quick recap.

I was first elected to be the Member of Parliament (MP) for this Labour-Conservative marginal constituency, to wide surprise, in 2017. In 2019, the pollsters told us my time as the MP was to end, but I was re-elected! And now, in 2024, it’s time to go to the ballot boxes again. 

From fighting Brexit and calling for more action on climate change to holding Prime Ministers and Chief Executives to account, being my constituents’ Voice in Parliament has been a huge privilege. 

As our Champion in Bristol for the area where I was born, raised and live in today, I’ve enjoyed running coffee mornings, pub politics, town halls and online discussions enormously. My local campaigns – on issues from bus lanes to protecting green spaces – have brought the community together. 

These past seven years have, though, been in opposition. I’ve been able to call for change but not affect it. At this election, I hope to not just be re-elected as the local MP, but to be part of a new Labour government. 

If that happens, I will be a member of the Cabinet, leading on public spending as deputy to the Chancellor. It will be the toughest job I’ve ever had, but with your help and support, I know we can bring the change this country so desperately needs together. 

The only thing that won’t change is my dedication to our constituency. You’ll still have me fighting for local issues, visiting schools to deliver my public speaking masterclass and spending time with you in my coffee mornings and pub politics. 

Mary Page (Green)
I’m lucky to call Bristol North West home. In 2022, I led the successful It’s Our City Bristol campaign to remove the role of mayor, to help transform local democracy. We now have Green-led, cross-party collaboration in the council.

I’ve campaigned with Surfers against Sewage to stop sewage in our seas and rivers, and kayaked in the Bristol harbour to remove rubbish. We must make it easier to prevent pollution and reduce plastic waste..
“I’ve been chair of a Stoke Bishop Residents’ Association, helped litter pick in many of our communities, played hockey for Westberries and was part of a pub pool team.

I have a wide range of professional experience, including Business Development at the world-leading National Composites Centre, Marketing at Jobs 22, Political Research at South Gloucestershire Council, Journalism with BBC radio, and other independent media. More recently I was a Community Project Worker at Shirehampton Jobs, Training and Enterprise Hub.”

“In May’s Bristol council election, more people voted Green than for any other party. You and your neighbours have shown you’re tired of the two old parties and are ready for real change. After losing half their councillors, the Conservatives can’t win in Bristol North West. Labour are only offering more of the same, whereas the Green Party offers Real Hope and Real Change.

I am committed to:

– Clean up our seas and rivers

– Protect our NHS from privatisation

– Deliver free social care

– Stand up for renters’ rights

– Defend our Children’s Future

– End the conflict in Gaza

Laura Saunders (Conservative)
My name is Laura Saunders and I am standing as the Conservative Party Candidate for Bristol North West at this year’s General Election.

I was born in Southmead Hospital and still live in Bristol with my husband. I first became interested in politics while at school and joined the Young Conservatives while at university where I studied Russian and other Slavonic languages. I have worked on all aspects of a political campaign and delighted to now be standing for elected office.

I have been lucky to have a varied and interesting career, including working at the British Library to fund myself while studying at university. At present I work in international relations and international development. My experiences during my many years in politics have shown me just what it takes to be a great MP, the skills needed, and the importance of a life in public service. 

When not on the campaign trail I love reading, cooking, travelling, and learning languages. I currently have a Duolingo streak of 1,505. 

My campaign in Bristol North West focuses on six key areas; improving local health care, campaigning for better public transport links throughout our city (both rail and bus), backing our local high streets (like Britain’s biggest and best high street – Gloucester Road) and keeping free car parking, making our communities safer, protecting our beautiful green spaces, and promoting more home building prioritising brownfield sites. I am also passionate about youth engagement and women’s political leadership.

Bristol is a fantastic city which I am proud to call my home and would love to have the opportunity to represent our area in the House of Commons and be a strong voice for Bristolians in Westminster.

Scarlett O’Connor (Reform)

All candidates were invited by the Voice to submit statements for our election preview.