AN election veteran has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next MP for Thirsk and Malton.

John Clark, leader of the Liberal Party on Ryedale District and North Yorkshire County councils, will stand as the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate in May’s election for the third time. He previously stood for the party in 2005 and 2010.

He said: “In today’s language we want to empower people, not the Liberal Party. I believe we must give all people who wish to challenge the austerity route an opportunity to vote liberal.

“We are the only voice of opposition in the constituency who question what the Tories are doing. We have a lot of support in over half of the constituency and offer more opposition than any other party.”

Coun Clark has represented the Liberal Party for the past 12 years on Ryedale District Council and the county council for the past six years. His family have farmed in Cropton for almost 90 years. He will also be standing for re-election as the Cropton ward member on the district council.

“Austerity enforced by the ConDem government and to be continued by Labour is the wrong approach,” he said.

“At the end of the Second World War, when the debt was larger than today, successive governments created the NHS and built millions of council houses. Compare this with the austerity approach of woeful numbers of social housing, the NHS creaking at the seams and many jobs being low paid and part-time.

“Farm prices were controlled; farmers took up the challenge and food production increased massively. In the same way energy must be controlled by government. This non-austerity approach would create jobs, housing and improve health.

“Compare this with fracking. It would not create jobs; it could damage food, the environment and may damage health, yet it is supported by the ConDem Government and Labour. We can do much better than this.”

The other candidates are Kevin Hollinrake – Conservative, Chris Newsam – Green Party, Toby Horton – UKIP, Alan Avery – Labour, Di Keal – Liberal Democrats and Philip Tate – Protect Yorkshire From Fracking.

The UK Parliamentary Election and the Local Government election for Ryedale will be on Thursday, May 7.