Chris Grayling is the Conservative candidate for the Epsom and Ewell seat at the upcoming General Election 2019 on December 12.

Mr Grayling has served as MP for Epsom and Ewell since 2001 and as a government minister at various departments after 2010.

As with other candidates for the seat, the Comet spoke with Mr Grayling about his views and policies on a range of topics about Epsom and Ewell and beyond.

Quotes from his responses are reproduced below.

On your favourite thing about the constituency:

It's a great place to live. I live in Ashtead and the constituency is a really nice area. There's a great atmosphere and community. Lots of people are very involved here. There are lots of charities, volunteers and things going on and that makes it a great place to represent.

On the most serious problem facing Epsom and Ewell:

Transport. It's not just about traffic and passengers on trains. It's actually about how we meet the very genuine need for more housing for example in a way that doesn't destroy the character of the area, building on the green spaces leading to lots of tower blocks and further congestion on the trains.

On balancing the need for more housing with the wishes of many residents to avoid excessive development in the area:

There is a need. I deal with too many cases of families where the next generation are stuck at home not able to afford to buy or rent, or with people with social housing who are stuck in temporary accommodation outside of the borough. At the same time we cannot just build over our green spaces. There are bits of green land where you can build on. The area immediately around the burnt out building on Christchurch Road is a case in point. The way I think this has to be done, what national policy requires, is a local plan that has a focus on delivering housing, protecting the economy and protecting the environment. It's got to be done in a sustainable way.

On the rising use of foodbanks:

When I was first elected someone said to me 'Surrey is not an easy area to be poor in'. There are high costs and it's one of the reasons why we've got to have more affordable homes in the area. One of the challenges is that we don't have enough options that are either shared ownership, social rent or housing association. I want to see some of the additional housing provided for people that is affordable. There is not enough social housing or affordable homes in this area. The foodbanks are there, they are visible and they're good. The team at Epsom foodbank are a very committed team and do a very good job. They've told me that they tend to deal more often than not with people at crisis points in their lives. I think probably one of the biggest social challenges that in my view we've got to look at in the next parliament is how we deal with men who end up being the ones who leave the family home and often don't have anywhere to go.

On Universal Credit:

Universal credit clearly has got some rough edges to it. There are some things with the benefit system I'm not happy about, for example, I think the local housing allowance is set wrongly for this area and I've already been making representations to colleagues in the DWP to change that. There are things that we need to improve. But the whole point about universal credit is that it's designed to move people into work much more easily than they could in the past. The general principle it's the right thing to do. There are some people for whom there is a problem. We have made some modifications already to the way it works and there may be more needed. But having a welfare system that is a ladder in which they climb up rather than a place in which they live has to be the right thing to do.

On the climate emergency:

We need to move as fast as we can to decarbonize our economy. If you look at what we've done as a country, we have reduced our carbon emissions as fast as any major nation. Yes we have got to transform our economy, we've got to move to electric cars on the roads, we've got to move to zero emission electricity generation as fast we can. In this area the big needs are around road transport and domestic heating. We need more charging points in the area and for people to be aware of what's available.

On the third runway in Heathrow:

Aviation is the one thing (on carbon) where I think we have to offset rather than stop. Aviation represents two per cent of global emissions. It is steadily reducing fuel consumption because planes are becoming more efficient and airports are moving towards using electric vehicles outside. Easy Jet is now offsetting every flight that it takes. That is how we deal with the aviation issue. At a time when other countries are growing aviation around the world, we need to have a thriving economy. We've got to have good transport links. It's easy to target aviation but it is a very small part of the problem. If the airspace modernization is done right it should reduce the number of planes flying over the constituency. I do not know of any material reason to believe there will be a change to the nature and number of flights over our area but I will be monitoring it very closely if elected.

On Brexit:

The result here was close and it's one of the reasons I've always argued we should leave on good terms with a deal. It's why I've supported Theresa May and Boris Johnson in the deals they were / are trying to do. My view is that we don't know what the result was in the constituency but it was close*. Whilst I believe we have to fulfil the results of the referendum I believe we should to do so that allows us to remain close to our European friends with a deal.

*Epsom and Ewell borough voted 52.1 per cent to Remain. There was no constituency poll here in the 2016 Referendum.

On time spent in ministerial roles in government:

There are things you would do differently but what I do know is that things you do that work well get no attention at all whereas the things you do that don't work get all the attention in the world. So I'm very proud that the employment programs I put into place that helped hundreds of thousands of people back into work. The probation reforms did not work as well expected because the mix of serious and less serious offenders was not what was planned for so therefore the organizations delivering the support reduced reoffending in the early stages but then rapidly led to real financial problems.

On first question at PMQs:

I think it will be a commitment to get some of those 20,000 police officers here into Epsom and Ewell.

On personal favourites (Desert Island Scenario):

Book: The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

Film: The Shawshank Redemption

Music: Pink Floyd