• Mariam Gevorkian

Siobhain McDonagh: Hope for the Future

What is the number one issue your constituency is facing?

Over half the people who come to see me are have a housing problem, but that's not reflective of the community as a whole. My constituency faces a range of issues; jobs, incomes, schools, hospitals.

Have you seen any progress within these issues?

They've gotten worse. However we have been working really hard nationally to highlight the issues of homelessness and temporary accommodation. On my Twitter I have a video of a temporary accommodation block in my constituency. We have campaigns to build more housing and build on parts of the Green Belt, whilst working with MP's and Think Tanks.

What do you think is the root of the housing problem?

Because the demand for more housing outstrips the supply. And the resolution to this problem is a generational one, because to build houses at the numbers we need, it needs to be the top priority of any government.

Do you feel that your constituency has been let down due to the lack of priority on this issue.

I think everywhere in the country has been let down. I think mainly in London but not solely a London issue.

You campaign a lot for the 'People's Vote' regarding Brexit, what would you say to people that just want to get on with Brexit and don't advocate for another vote

I would say that Brexit is never going to be over and we are only at the beginning of dealing with the Brexit issue. Even if we get a withdrawal agreement through the government that only then starts our negotiations about our future trade arrangements with Europe. So this is going nowhere and will be with us for years.

Addressing how your constituency voted in the Brexit referendum, majority voted to Remain (54% stay 46% leave), what do you think divided voters?

Maybe a sense of patriotism and the belief that Britain could then get along with the housing crisis and NHS.

Do you think overall the Brexit issue has impacted the housing and NHS?

I think it's certainly taken the whole interest of the government. Nothing else is going on. Really that's why people want this to be over, so the government can deal with issues that really matter.

Is the issue of Brexit overly simplified to the public? Do you feel that people are let down because they simply don't understand how complex Brexit is? As opposed to just 'getting on with Brexitt'

Brexit is much like marital divorce. If you've been married for 40 years and would like a divorce, you defiantly wouldn't be able to manage that overnight, it would take a long time to untangle all the aspects of the relationship whilst you would also need to consider other people it could impact.

What do you assume will happen next regarding the issues that matter most to the people?

People often stop me in the street and ask "What is going on Siobhian?" and I can't provide the certainty that they're looking for because no one has a clue.

Do you think this has impacted your position and role in society?

I am just concerned that as a country we are prioritising and spending a fortune on Brexit whilst the things that matter and change lives are being put aside and ignored. I'm worried about the future of Britain and the poorest people who are hurt the most in these circumstances.

With regards to the general election, what will be your focus with campaigning?

I will be campaigning on local issues mainly. The future of St. Helier Hospital, getting more police on our streets, an onside youth zone in Mitcham and Morden which will give young people somethings to do during after school evenings and weekends.

Within all this mayhem, what do you think will come out of it, do you have any hope?

There's always hope isn't although nobody can predict the outcome of the election. I'd like to see a Labour government or a remain majority in Parliament, and that's my hope.