July 26 2014 Latest news:
Freddy Mayhew, Senior reporter
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Voters have been hitting the polls today to choose their preferred local, mayoral and European election candidates.
The Recorder was outside the Old Town Hall polling station in Stratford this morning, speaking with residents once they had cast their mark.
From those we spoke to, Labour seems to remain the party of choice while in the European elections there is a preference to get the UK out of the European Union (EU) – though not through Ukip.
Justin Ukrainski, 36, a learning and development manager from Glenavon Road, Stratford, said he voted for Labour in both the council and mayoral elections but deliberately spoiled his European elections ballot paper.
He said: “I know the mayor and I think he has done a good job, it’s easy to be cynical of politicians.”
“I’m prepared to give him a chance. I wasn’t completely convinced by a lot of Labour politicians but I’m a liberal person. It’s difficult to vote Liberal Democrats because they kind of abandoned their policies.”
Referencing Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s recent comments about immigration, he added on Europe: “The EU needs reforming, it’s like constantly eating at a restaurant you don’t like – though you wouldn’t catch me voting Ukip.
“The community does really well because of European immigration and I say that as an Englishman who’s not afraid of who is living next door to him, Romanian or otherwise.”
Medical student Victoria Turnock, 27, who has lived in Stratford for nearly two years, said she thought voting was “a right everyone should exercise”.
She said she voted for Labour owing to her background from the north west of England, but chose the National Health Action Party in the European elections, claiming she was unhappy with the state of the National Health Service.
Locally she said homelessness was an issue.
“There are a lot of homeless people and there’s more and more people sleeping rough there over the last couple of months. I don’t know whether there is something that needs to be done.
“Turfing them out isn’t the answer, there’s something more fundamental that needs to stop them getting there in the first place.”
Solicitor Chengetai Meupara, 38, said he voted Labour because he wanted to keep local services under the traditionally centre-left party’s control.
He added: “I just think the government isn’t doing a good job, it doesn’t stick up for the majority of the people it only stands for the privileged few.”
Retired Lynda Wood, 63, who was born and raised in Newham and now lives in Stratford said she came out to vote because “women died to get us the vote”, adding: “I think it’s something we should always do if we can.”
She said she “always” voted Labour and admitted they did a “fairly good job” in the borough, adding: “Continuity helps to do that.”
She said she wanted to see more being done for the elderly locally, adding: “It sometimes seems concentrated on the younger residents.”
In the European elections, the sexagenarian said she voted for one of the parties that would take the UK out of Europe.
“I didn’t vote for Ukip but I wanted to get us back to how [the EU] was before, when it was a free trade organisation. I think it’s disgusting that it is all relayed from Brussels, it has gone so far from what it used to be.”
Financial services worker Dipesh Mesuria, 38, from Stratford, declined to say who he voted for but said he thought a lot of parties were guilty of spreading disharmony and distrust.
He added: “It would be nice to see the borough focusing on local community a lot more. Housing is a problem around here and I also think parking is an issue.”
Polling stations across the borough will be open until 10pm tonight.