The general election is now just around the corner and voters have just days to decide who they will vote for. 

We have been speaking to candidates from all the major parties who are campaigning to be the next Richmond and Northallerton MP.

Tom Wilson, 29, is standing for the Labour Party against the current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

We sat down with Tom to find out why he went into politics and what he hopes to do if he is elected.

How did you get into politics Tom?

"I’m very much a local boy, I live just down the road.

"I went to comprehensive school here in Darlington and then I went to Queen Elizabeth's sixth form.

"I didn’t really start off with politics. I was 15 when the 2010 election was taking place.

"There was a brief moment when people paid attention to the TV debates but otherwise there wasn’t a lot of interest.

"Then the coalition came in. At the time I was primarily a music nerd, I was taking drum lessons and guitar lessons at The Forum.

"Due to the cutbacks on a local council level The Forum was due to lose a whole load of funding.

"There was a big campaign to see if they could prevent that from happening and then there was a long fundraising campaign.

"A lot of Labour councillors got involved with the fundraising and I met a few activists. I cut my teeth at a grassroots community level."

What motivates you to be a politician?

"There was always something selfless about it. In an idealised world anyway.

"I have never been massively motivated by material gain. 

"I want to live happily and provide for the people I love. For my generation especially you need something to strive for, a cause.

"For all the talk of young people being less motivated or more easily distracted I have found the opposite.

"Politics is my way of doing good."

What are your top three priorities for Northallerton and Richmond?

1. Giving people their hope and optimism back

"The first thing is quite a broad one. I want to give people their hope and optimism back.

"Having been active in politics from 2012 onwards I know that when things got tough back then there was always a glimmer of hope.

"A feeling that things could get better, a lot of that has gone.

"Historically, there has been a real British trait to look to the positive and fight through whatever hardship you are going through.

"If the only thing I achieve in this election is giving people a positive choice and giving people an alternative to the one party that has been representing themm, then I will have achieved what I set out for."

2. NHS and accessibility

"The rural communities in Britain but especially in our area are feeling the heat of all of the crises going on but they don’t get any of the coverage.

"Losing the A&E hospital in Friarage in Northallerton was a huge setback.

"I have talked to people on the doorstep in Stokesley who have lost the town’s only dentist and been moved on to a two year waiting list.

"The remoteness and inaccessibility, especially with the inaccessibility of the bus services turns difficult living into nigh on impossible unless you drive or have family to get you around.

"It’s a huge issue that doesn’t seem to be being addressed.

"There is no explanation or any beginning of a process to deliver for people in rural communities.

"From day one I would be looking to work with David Skaith to improve local transport and accessibility."

3. The state of the environment

"The state of the environment. I think this government rather inexplicably has decided to junk a lot of what was essentially bipartisan support for environmental measures not just for net zero but also basic protections we want to see for our rivers.

"Citizen science groups are filling a vacuum that should have been filled by government agencies.

"All these groups, Save Our Swale in Richmond or the new River Ure group in Leyburn, are filled with the most passionate informed people, doing a job for free which should be done in a regulated way with legal teeth behind it.

"They are filling the gap. They are the most incredible people. If I was elected I would work with those groups, help bring them together.

"Nature is part of our shared heritage. People should be able to assume that our rivers are not full of sewage, that they will be safe to swim in and that our wildlife is protected but currently they can’t."

Do you think you can win this election?

"There is a huge desire for change, there is a general respect for the job Rishi has done as a local MP – it would be silly not to credit him that.

"But those people who like him are the most torn of all because they look at the government and they see a catalogue of failure.

"People are responding really positively on the doorstep. People who are undecided are giving us a real hearing.

"They are really considering us. We have more Labour boards up than in any election in living memory.

"The most striking thing about this campaign is what is not being talked about, the Conservatives are not talking about the NHS. It’s almost like it doesn’t exist.

"People are scared that ambulances aren’t going to get there on time, they are scared about the reduction in services at the Friarage.

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"They are not hearing from people who understand and care about their issues. I genuinely think this election is winnable.

"Nobody knows exactly what will happen.

"This election will be decided by people making their mind up at the ballot station."