We asked each candidate running for the Central Ayrshire seat why they should be Irvine's next MP.

Dr Philippa Whitford - SNP

Irvine Times:

It has been a privilege to represent the people of Irvine and Central Ayrshire over the past four and a half years, during which time I have worked hard to assist and support individuals, businesses and community groups.

Assisting individual constituents has been, and would remain, central to my role as an MP. This involves persistent pressure from myself and my team to get government agencies, like the DWP, to reverse unfair decisions and deliver a just outcome. I have particularly enjoyed working with local voluntary groups, whether improving their surroundings or making their community more dementia friendly. Having hosted community engagement fairs for local businesses and community groups, I aim to open future events to the public to help them recruit new volunteers.

I was the first MP to propose the Ayrshire Growth Deal at Westminster and was delighted to finally see it agreed, with the Scottish and UK Governments each contributing half of the funding. Actively promoting Prestwick Airport’s potential as a spaceport, helped see it change from an outsider to a front runner - with great potential for high tech jobs for Ayrshire.

For over a year, I have played an active role in crossparty co-operation to avoid a ‘no deal ’or ‘hard’ Brexit, which would damage our economic growth and jeopardise key local industries like pharmaceuticals, aerospace, tourism, and food and drink. It would also threaten our NHS through the loss of EU staff, medicine shortages and increased drugs costs. If re-elected, I would continue to fight for Scotland to remain in the EU, as we voted for in 2016.

Louise McPhater – Labour

Irvine Times:

As a community worker and elected member in North Ayrshire I am standing to be your voice in Westminster.

As a councillor I have fought against cuts to local schools and services, fought to declare a drugs death emergency and been a passionate campaigner for many issues that are important to our local people.

Being a community worker means I see first hand the real problems people are having in their daily lives. I work hard to support people to access funding and services they may need to live. This election is about more than Brexit, it’s about the interests of people.

The Tories’ handling of Brexit has been nothing short of a shambles. Causing division amongst our communities which are already suffering. Labour plan to sort that out with a people’s vote, putting the people at the front of the decision making.

The economic and social problems people face need to be fixed urgently. Only Labour can offer real change and invest £70 billion of additional investment for Scotland. Only Labour can change the economy to work for the many not the few.

Derek Stillie - Conservative

Irvine Times:

First and foremost, my priority as the next MP for Central Ayrshire would be to ensure that the needs of the constituency and of local people are met and that they have a strong voice that will speak up for them on the issues that matter.

The most important local issue that I would give a greater focus to is the need to attract more secure, well-paid jobs to the area and to further improve the availability of skills and training. Under the SNP, the proportion of pupils ending school with no qualifications whatsoever is at its highest since 2011 and many others are leaving without the skills they need to thrive in the modern world. That needs to change so that every young person has the tools and knowledge at their disposal to get a good, secure job.

I will also play a full role in taking forward the Ayrshire Growth Deal which has the potential to bring a substantial boost to the Irvine economy, and in particular I would work constructively to deliver the local projects contained within the deal, including significant investment into the i3 area of Irvine and Harbourside.

As the next MP for Central Ayrshire, I would work hard to protect and expand local hospital services and, in partnership with the local authorities, help ensure that our schools provide the best possible education for local pupils. With the threat of another independence referendum being called by Nicola Sturgeon, and with Jeremy Corbyn saying he would not block such a move, I am clear that as the MP for Central Ayrshire I would stand firm against any re-run of the 2014 referendum. We voted no to independence and the result of that referendum must be respected.