Ed Mayne is the Labour Party candidate for the Epsom and Ewell seat at the upcoming General Election 2019 on December 12.

Mr Mayne previously ran to be an MP in the seat in 2017.

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

Quotes from his responses are reproduced below.

On reasons for running:

I'm passionate for the Labour Party's cause of a second referendum and whether we are going to Remain (in the European Union) or not. I think people should have the final say. The borough of Epsom and Ewell voted Remain and Chris Grayling is a hard Brexit Tory MP. I want to give the people of Epsom and Ewell the chance to vote for an alternative. Labour came second in the 2017 election in Epsom and Ewell and Labour is the only alternative in Epsom and Ewell.

On connections to Epsom and Ewell:

I'm a train driver servicing lines that run through Epsom and Ewell so I serve the local area. Obviously Chris Grayling was Transport Secretary and he's caused a lot of damage to local rail services with the policies he's pursued — train services becoming less reliable and less affordable. I particularly want to campaign on transport issues — to take the railways back into public ownership and give people here a service they can rely on.

On chances of winning:

It's going to be a challenge. Labour got twice the number of votes the Lib Dems got at the last general election.* I'm going to fight for every vote. I'm going to persuade people who want to avoid a Tory hard Brexit and have a final say on whether we leave the EU that their best option is to vote Labour.

*Labour won 14,838 votes in Epsom and Ewell in 2017. The Lib Dems won 7,401. The Conservatives won 35,313.

On Brexit and Labour's Brexit policy:

I appreciate concerns on Labour's approach to Brexit but we have a clear policy now — we'll let the people have a final say on Brexit. I think that's the best way to resolve this issue. Although the leader of the Labour Party is saying he will remain neutral, which I think is a perfectly respectable position for a future Prime Minister to take, I've made it clear that I will campaign to Remain in the EU. We are facing the fact that the Leave side won in 2016 and if there is a second referendum and they win again we must abide by that, just as we would abide by a Remain vote. The Lib Dems have position of trying to ignore the referendum altogether and I think that would be a huge mistake.

On Housing:

We have to build more housing and we have to make sure that housing is affordable for people. We also have to make sure that we protect the characteristics of the Green Belt. I think there is definitely the potential for some development in Epsom and Ewell but we have to protect the character of the area as well. I think Chris Grayling's plans, for example, suggesting to build on the travellers' sites, are completely inappropriate because you would be displacing people who live there. I think current planning policy here and elsewhere is too skewed in favour of the developers and it's not providing the affordable housing people need.

On Universal Credit:

I support scrapping it completely. The whole system has been an absolute disaster. When these proposals were suggested the government were told they were not possible by the Civil Service, and huge numbers of people have not received benefits. We're talking about some of the poorest people in our society who struggle to make ends meet anyway. They've had to go without receiving benefits because of the flaws in the Universal System. I don't want to go back to the previous system either with a lot of different benefits that was confusing and open to abuse. But Universal Credit is definitely not the answer.

On Labour's spending pledges:

We have a very comprehensive manifesto with many pledges and not all of those could be delivered with the first year or so of a Labour government. There are lots of pledges that would take a longer time to deliver but we have costed all of that and published accompanying documents with the manifesto that says how we are going to pay for it. We have one of the lowest corporation tax regimes in the world at the moment and if that was increased a bit, which is what we are proposing, it is those same businesses and us that would benefit the most.

On foodbanks:

My understanding of it is that foodbank use started at the beginning of this century in very small numbers but the amount of people using them has massively increased since government austerity policies were introduced. I believe the main reason within that is Universal Credit. So we have to fix a system that replaces Universal Credit with something fairer and we also have to give people access to affordable housing. We have to protect the character of the area but affordable housing is essential. Those things are compatible. It's not something you can deal with overnight sadly because house building for example takes time.

On education:

I think the main issue people in education are facing is cuts to their budgets. All over the country we are hearing people who are not able to afford books or stationary, reducing the number of hours schools are open. I think it's about getting rid of those austerity policies that have done so much to hurt the education sector and increase investment instead.

On first question at PMQs:

I would probably bring up CrossRail2, as a train driver. Epsom would benefit massively when CrossRail2 is introduced and we haven't had any committment from this government to bring it in. CrossRail is already massively late and over budget and that is bring CrossRail2 into jeopardy. As somebody who works on local rail services I can tell you for a fact that we desperately need CrossRail2 in order to reach that capacity we need to provide a good rail service.

On personal favourites (Desert Island scenario):

Book: The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Film: The Train (1964)

Music: The Stylistics / Phoenix