Dominic Raab is the Conservative candidate for the Esher and Walton seat at the upcoming General Election 2019 on December 12.

Mr Raab is currently serving as Foreign Secretary and has been MP for Esher and Walton since 2010.

As with other candidates for the seat, the Comet spoke with Mr Raab about his views and policies on a range of topics about Esher and Walton and beyond.

Quotes from his responses are reproduced below.

On juggling MP duties in Esher and Walton with extra ministerial role:

Resisting the temptation to move. We live in Thames Ditton, I've always lived here, and that helps me stay grounded and I continue to do all the stuff that I would do, whatever my role was. So I'm continuing to do case work today and making sure we're helping people. I make sure that I'm in the constituency, as far as I can, from Friday's onwards to deal with local issues and be out and about. The truth is you just have to be well organized about it.

On education:

When I became an MP in 2010 with the rising birth rate there was huge pressure on school places. We've seen expansions of our primary schools but most importantly I managed to secure funding to boost Three Rivers' School which has had a big expansion. We've got Cobham Free School which will be able to move into its permanent site by September 2020, and with Walton Heathside subject to the planning protest which is independent of me, by 2021. What that means is at the end of that process, every school in our constituency will be good or outstanding and we'll have enough space to deal with the shortfall. I think that's a major achievement I'm very proud of.

On development and the Green Belt:

The regime for building schools as opposed to housing on the Green Belt has always been separate and the reality is that you have to have exceptional circumstances for that to be the case.* If the community is going to be able to renew itself, and thrive, it's go to provide school places that are needed. I opposed the Liberal Democrat's plans for housing on the Green Belt Cobham and Long Ditton.

NB: Mr Raab supported the proposed building of the Walton Heathside School on Green Belt land.

On the climate emergency:

We've got a great record on decarbonizing the UK economy. We're the fastest decarbonizing economy of all of the major industrialised economies. Boris Johnson gave a speech (recently) about plans to invest in electric cars and the recharging points and we're the first major economy to commit to reducing our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. We've got a really good, positive plan and we know how we're going to achieve it. People who say it could be done any quicker in economic terms need to explain in economic terms how that can be done without damaging people's quality of life. Rather than declaring emergencies, people want us to come up with positive proposals, and want reassurance and not to be panicked.

On Brexit:

The reality is we all had a vote in this and I fought very hard for every one of our 80,000 voters to be able to have their vote. What I'm finding as democrats from most people is that you've got to respect the outcome of the referendum. The Conservative position is the moderate one. You got some people saying you should walk away and cut our ties with Europe, you've got the Lib Dems saying we should revoke Brexit, which is undemocratic, and the position of the Conservatives, which is that we've got a deal so we've allayed the fears of many voters who backed Remain but feared we would crash out.

On hunger and the growing number of people needing food banks:

There's challenges with insecurities for those that are in work. There's been welfare reform changes that are absolutely crucial for getting people out of the welfare trap and into work but there's been implementation issues that we've had to address. The real challenge that we've got to grapple with, in particular in an area like Elmbridge where there is a high cost of living is how can you tackle that? We've cut income tax for the lowest paid, basic rate income tax payers are now paying £1,200 less than they were in 2010. We've extended the national Living Wage, we're delivering more affordable childcare and more affordable homes and these are the cost of living issues that I think we've got to address. I pay tribute to the foodbanks we've got — I opened the one in Cobham, I've recently been down to see the one in Hersham and I've talked to the people that run them.  

On welfare reforms and Universal Credit:

The welfare reforms are absolutely essential because what we had under Labour were people being trapped on benefits without any incentive to move into the world of work. We've encouraged people into work and making sure that work pays. As we deliver welfare reform it's important we try to do so as sensitively as possible because those changes do make a difference to people struggling with the cost of living.

On personal favourites:

Book: Reading Catcher in the Rye at the moment (JD Salinger)

Film: Carlito's Way