IN recent years the Bradford West constituency has been one of the more interesting campaign grounds.

George Galloway and the rise of the Respect Party shook Bradford politics to its core in a 2012 by-election.

But in the 2015 General Election the seat returned to Labour, when Naz Shah won the vote with a comfortable majority. And she increased her majority in the 2017 election – gaining 64.67 per cent of the vote.

However in an election that is likely to be full of surprises it is wrong to say a Labour win is a certainty, and Ms Shah will be facing five other candidates at the polls.

The impact of Brexit may also add a level of uncertainty to the Bradford West results. Although the national election campaign has been dominated by Brexit, Bradford West voted to remain by 53 per cent in the referendum.

The Telegraph & Argus asked all the candidates to provide a brief biography and explain why Bradford West residents should vote for them.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Naz Shah, Labour

“I am so proud to have represented Bradford West. If re-elected I will continue to speak up and deliver real change for the city I love.

“As a local candidate, I know how the cuts in Bradford West are the consequences of political choices made by a Tory Government.

“Conservative cuts have lefts cities like Bradford literally at breaking point. Our NHS is battling to stay alive and the Tories are risking it being sold off in a Trump-style trade deal. Our schools are over-crowded. More people are sleeping rough on the streets and despite how hard people work, they are struggling to make ends meet.

“A Labour Government will invest on a scale that has never been seen before. A new Social Transformation Fund, shifting the focus of funding from London to the North, upgrading our schools, hospitals, care homes and building council houses. A fully funded Green New Deal, fighting climate change and building a modern dynamic economy. Nationalisation of Rail, Mail and Water; slashing trains fares and investing in the change we need.

“If re-elected I will continue to speak truth to power and ensure Bradford gets its fair share of reinvestment.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Mohammed Afzal - Conservative

“As a first generation immigrant family man Bradford West is very dear to me. I have been coming here since the late 60s for business and pleasure and what concerns me is that over time this constituency has been neglected and ignored.

“The constituency is one of the most deprived in the United Kingdom. This pains me. I have come up with simple, easy to understand pledges which, if elected, I will push for from day one.

“I pledge we should get Brexit done and not ‘dilly dally and delay.’ I pledge that investment in more police officers will make our neighbourhoods safer. I pledge investment in the NHS with more nurses and community based healing will help our communities become healthier.

“I pledge investment in education that will make our youth better adapted for the modern world. I believe investment in commerce will mean better quality jobs for all of us and help Bradford West prosper.

“I promise Bradford West that if elected I will work endlessly for Bradford West and not for personal gain.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Mark Christie - Liberal DemocratMark Christie - Liberal Democrat

Mark Christie - Liberal Democrat

“My career background is in sports development and teaching in higher education. We need more politicians from working backgrounds who understand how hard it can be to raise a family and make ends meet, as opposed to politicians from privileged backgrounds with no idea of the ‘real world’.

“My passion for sport extends to recognising its great potential in turning young people’s lives around and giving them hope and access to support services such as education, health, training and employment through joined-up multi-agency partnerships in areas of need. We can do more of this locally.

“I want to see mental health given the same priority as physical health.

“I’m passionate about major investment in tackling climate change. We need a major uplift in native tree cover, more active transportation support, better protections for our wildlife, and to add greenery to our urban environments including in Bradford. Our health and social care system is in crisis. We need cross-party consensus on properly funding our NHS for the long-term, and on tackling the public health crises of obesity and inactivity.

“We need more local employers in Bradford West help us cut re-offending rates through offering jobs and training on leaving prison. Finally, leaving the EU would be a catastrophic mistake, leaving our country poorer, and result in less environmental protection, make us less secure and put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk both locally and nationally.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Darren Parkinson - Green PartyDarren Parkinson - Green Party

Darren Parkinson - Green Party

“I live in Bradford with my partner and two children and work as a Learning Disability Nurse for the NHS. I am Secretary and Vice-Chair of Bradford Green Party and am passionate about Green politics, environmentalism and community activism.

“Addressing the Climate Emergency is my number one priority. The introduction of a Green New Deal is at the heart of my vision of how we can transform our economy and society to tackle the crisis.

“A Green New Deal will mean replacing fossil fuels with green energy, ensuring we switch to greener ways of travel e.g. public transport, walking and cycling, having homes that are insulated to a high standard, supporting business to decarbonise, planting 700 million trees and providing support for healthy and sustainable food and farming systems.

“Creating new green homes, new green transport and new green jobs will get us on track to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and will provide opportunities for everyone to live happier and more secure lives.

“If elected as a Green MP for Bradford West, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the needs of our planet and people are prioritised so that we can live in a greener, kinder, and more just society.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Derrick Hodgson - Brexit PartyDerrick Hodgson - Brexit Party

Derrick Hodgson - Brexit Party

“I was born in Manningham and am a 62-year-old self employed electrical engineer with my own business. I have five children and currently live in Bingley. I was educated at Belle Vue Grammar.

“I stood in the 2017 General Election for UKIP and have stood in various local elections for UKIP. I am now standing in Bradford West for the Brexit Party.

“Once we leave the constraints of the EU it will be beneficial to us all. I first voted in 1975 not to join the common market. I voted no back then and I voted to leave now. I believe we need a total revamp of the current political system.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Afzar Bukhari - IndependentAfzar Bukhari - Independent

Azfar Shah Bukhari - Independent

Mr Bukhari is a journalist currently living in Pakistan while on assignment.

He says he is not a politician or a bureaucrat, but a “journalist better known for work on social development issues.”

He says he was born and raised in Pakistan, but is a UK citizen and has lived across the country, including in Bradford for a time.

He is running as an independent candidate, and says although the focus of the election for many is Brexit, he sees it as a “non-issue” that has been transformed into a major issue in recent years.

Detailing his desire to run as an independent, with no links to any political party, he says: “I do not term the upcoming poll as the Brexit Election, rather I would like to see this as ‘say goodbye to party candidates.”