The Guardian Series has asked each parliamentary candidate to list five reasons why they should become an MP at the General Election on May 7.

Here the Green Party candidate for Leyton and Wanstead, Ashley Gunstock, explains why you should vote for him. 

1) Having somewhere for you and your family to live

House prices and extortionate rents from unscrupulous landlords are issues that people mention every time I go door-to-door, simply because it’s a basic requirement of a stable and flourishing life. If you rent your landlord ought to be registered and the price you’re charged capped. If you want to buy we need more houses – and I want more built – 500,000 in fact. Not luxury flats, but social housing so those on lower pay in the capital aren’t pushed to the outer reaches. Housing bubble after housing bubble is not only bad for the economy, but affects all our lives and those of the next generation who can’t even get on the ladder.

2) Education

I’m a teacher and have been since 1989, so I’ve a few bees in my bonnet about education. Education is an essential public service and the gateway to all of our personal, social, intellectual and environmental understanding and it’s being interfered with. Teachers, for too long now, have been over-burdened, under-valued and under-paid. I find it appalling that teachers, especially in London, don’t get the fair pay that they need and deserve. The pupils themselves are pressurised and bludgeoned with exam after exam, so all they learn is how to pass – that’s not education!

3) True representation of the people

Our voting system is the most disproportionate in Europe. If you live in a marginal then your vote matters, otherwise you may wonder why you bother – and unfortunately so many don’t. Forgive me for sounding radical but how about a voting system where each of each of our voices actually counts? And, maybe even more radical, how about paying MPs what the rest of us get by on, such as the London average £26,000. It’s a job you should do for the love of it, not the pay packet.

4) Healthy body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Environment

They’re all connected. If you live in a healthy environment with less pollution, more access to green spaces to exercise and are able to eat food that hasn’t been blasted clean of all its nutrients – you’re going to live longer. The link between the environment you live in and your mental health is also becoming increasingly clear. Healthy body + healthy mind = less burden on the NHS, one of our most vital and loved establishments.

5) Let’s stop kicking people when they’re down

The less well off and less able have been sacrificed on the altar of austerity, all in the name of a prosperous economy, never mind the trail of destruction left behind. Except it hasn’t really worked and the UK has had one of the longest drawn out painful recoveries since 1955. The rise in the number of food banks and the closure of the Independent Living Fund, which supports 18,000 severely disabled people, is something I cannot tolerate and will fight.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Ashley Gunstock and Wanstead residents outside Redbridge Magistrates Court with their appeal document

Ashley Gunstock and residents with an appeal outside Redbridge Magistrates court