Ilford South has been represented by Mike Gapes since 1992 – however having left Labour, the incumbent MP may be at risk of losing his seat in what is historically a Labour stronghold.

Reminder: With the December 12 general election fast approaching, today is your last opportunity to register to vote if you have not already done so.

Here are your parliamentary candidates for Ilford South.

Independent Group for Change – Mike Gapes

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

It has been a great privilege and honour to represent diverse, vibrant, Ilford South.

I am a local man, born in Wanstead Hospital. I went to school in Ilford and so did my children.

For 27 years my Ilford office to helped tens of thousands of constituents on housing, health, education, benefits, transport, asylum and immigration and other matters.

I attend community and faith events and festivals. I hold regular advice surgeries, mobile street surgeries and constituency coffee mornings.

In 2006 I began the campaign to save the accident and emergency department at King George Hospital. In July 2019 the government finally confirmed to me in parliament that it was saved.

I worked hard to bring the benefits of Crossrail to Ilford, ensuring step free access at all stations, opening the Ilford Yard depot for cleaning and maintaining trains.

I supported successful lottery bids to restore Valentines Mansion and Park.

I voted for the national minimum wage and support the London living wage.

I defied Corbyn’s whip and voted against triggering Article 50. I was one of the first parliamentary supporters of a People’s Vote campaign. A referendum got us into this Brexit mess. Only a confirmatory referendum will resolve the matter.

I was a member of the Labour government team that negotiated the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement. I served as chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee.

I was a member of the Labour Party for over 50 years. I still have real Labour values. I am real Labour not Corbyn Labour. Neither Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson is fit to be Prime Minister.

Ilford South needs an MP with an independent mind and a record of hard work and commitment. A local man, with a national and international voice.

Labour – Sam Tarry

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Sam Tarry - second from the right

I’ve lived in this community for nearly 30 years. It’s made me who I am, shaping my outlook on life, from my first job as a cleaner at Redbridge College, to stacking shelves at Ilford Sainsbury’s. This area is my hometown and that’s why I understand what’s needed for this community.

Ilford South has the sixth highest number of children aged two to four in the country. I will fight to guarantee that flagship Labour policies, such as 30 hours of free childcare for pre-school children and the re-opening of Sure Start centres for new parents, are fully implemented in our area.

Devastating cuts to youth services by the Tories have contributed to a 20 per cent increase in violent knife crime in the area. Youth centres, such as Frenford Youth Club, have already warned of an increasing risk in violent youth crime due to lack of opportunities and cuts to social services. I will work hard to ensure this negative spiral is reversed so that teenagers have the vital support they need.

King George hospital has been under severe pressure since the Tories implemented their austerity plans, which have been hurting the people of Ilford South for almost a decade. I will continue to fight, as I have done for many years, to retain and expand life-saving A&E services open, and ensure our NHS receives the investment it deserves. It is a disgrace that a hospital that is the lifeblood of our community has had to withstand repeated cuts.

A lack of affordable housing and homelessness are pressing issues in Ilford South. I will use my position to push for new developments to be built in a way that makes affordable housing accessible to the many, not luxury tower blocks for corporate property speculators Furthermore, I will work to reduce homelessness by ensuring that humane temporary housing is built to provide people with a reprieve while they get back on their feet.

The policies in the Labour Party manifesto will improve the lives of people in Ilford South for generations to come. As your MP, I will ensure that that vision is delivered and enables everyone in our community to thrive.

Conservatives – Ali Azeem

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

I was born and raised in Ilford South and have spent most of my life here. I grew up watching my parents work hard, running a small accounting practice together on Ley Street whilst remaining active in the local community.

I continued their example, and after studying at the comprehensive schools in the area, I was accepted into Cambridge University.

Since graduating, I have built a career in advising large businesses and senior politicians on how to create growth. I now want to use the skills I’ve learnt to benefit my home town, as well as others across the country.

This is important now more than ever, as Ilford continues to decline. That is why I will focus on increasing support and investment into our town and the people that live here. I will work on securing funding for nearby hospitals, more police to tackle crime, and creating a better future for our children through educational opportunity.

The people I have spoken with on the doorsteps want a chance for change in Ilford, and that is exactly what I intend to deliver.

Liberal Democrats – Ashburn Holder

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

As a long-term local resident, businessman and local campaigner on housing & various issues the many changes the borough has gone through have been witnessed first-hand.

Some have been positive but the majority have had a detrimental effect on constituents. Ilford South has grown at an alarming rate which engenders the need and requirement for housing and the infrastructure to be ecologically, sustainably and economically developed. Despite efforts to extol the policies of the Liberal Democrats nationally, this is not enough, they do have to be directly relatable to the constituents that it would be my humble honour and privilege to represent in the house.

I have been asked ‘why are you standing?’ and ‘why do you support the Liberal Democrats?’ - it is because I wholeheartedly believe in a good quality of life for everybody, with absolutely no exceptions.

This is why amongst the pertinent issues at the forefront of my 2019 campaign are the following points: -

Crime: zero tolerance of knife crime; drugs and prostitution- locally Ilford Lane has been the bane of many, no more.

Housing: increased volume of affordable & social housing;

Health: expansion of the King George Hospital & non expansion of London City Airport;

Education: better funded, improved & increased teaching facilities;

More police: safer streets

Better facilities and protection for all vulnerable citizens, absolutely

With the Liberal Democrats forming a new government, I honestly believe that the country has been offered a real choice & fresh chance, not only make Ilford South a better place to work and live, but to change the course UK politics for generations to come.

We have a real chance to create real and lasting change, which has been a very very long time coming – I know we can do better, together.

Green Party – Rosemary Warrington

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Rosemary has lived in east London since 1975 when she came to study at Queen Mary University of London. She graduated in mathematics and went into computing, most recently working as a business analyst.

Always involved in social justice and environment issues, Rosemary has been an active member of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party for more than ten years.

Local campaigns that Rosemary has been involved in, and continues to be active in, include saving the full A&E and building a new wing at King George hospital, fighting against the concentration of flight paths and the expansion of City Airport, and standing against the Silvertown Tunnel project. She actively supported the successful fight for Oakfield playing fields.

If elected she will work for:

More NHS investment in Ilford South, particularly to address inequality in the lack of provision in the south of the constituency

More genuinely affordable, secure and decent housing.

An end to austerity.

Supporting small and local businesses.

Clean air and less pollution.

Better public transport, serving more residents.

A fairer and greener future.

RoseMary Warrington said: "Many of the problems in housing are due to failures of this government, by reducing social housing stock, through both the right to buy and not allowing councils to build more."

On environmental issues, RoseMary added: "If we cannot breathe the air or drink the water, then increasing shareholder values will not do any of us much good.”

Brexit Party – Munish Sharma

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

It is a privilege to be standing for the Brexit Party in Ilford South. I went to school, grew up and still live in this constituency.

At 40, I am entering politics for the first time after becoming increasingly frustrated by the misleading promises and incompetence by politicians over the last few years. 650 politicians had one job, to deliver Brexit, and they failed to do so.

Now, once again, it appears all politicians are making bold unsustainable “election campaign promises”. However, I am pleased some promises include previously announced Brexit Party policies.

For the last nine years I worked in the financial regulatory sector. I negotiated EU banking laws in Brussels and Paris for the UK to address poor banking behaviour which contributed to the financial crisis. I also served as a compliance officer at JP Morgan. I have now resigned to campaign to represent Ilford South and to leave the EU, which prioritises global businesses over individuals and small business. Costly EU-regulation is causing the EU economy to fall behind growth in the rest of the world, particularly Asia.

The Brexit Party includes candidates representing ordinary people of all faiths, ethnicities and genders across the country. Aside from myself, candidates include doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, academics, business people and more. We want to bring trust, principle and competence back into politics and Parliament.

We have a range of policies on political reform, pensions, the NHS, tackling environmental challenges (including reforestation), £200billion in infrastructure investment (contingent on scrapping HS2 and not paying the unjustified EU “divorce bill”), taxation, and a controlled and fair immigration system that treats EU citizens equally with the rest of the world.