This is what voters in Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford have to say ahead of 2019 General Election

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In the run up to the General Election on December 12, the Yorkshire Evening Post has been out and about speaking to residents about the issues that matter to them.

In the latest part of our community focus series, Mark Lavery reports from Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, a traditionally safe Labour seat, where he found many voters are undecided on where their vote will go.

The constituency was created following boundary changes in 2010.

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The previous constituency of Normanton was held by Labour since 1933 and the old Pontefract and Castleford constituency was held by Labour from 1935.

Alison SoweryAlison Sowery
Alison Sowery

Most recent Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper was first elected in Pontefract and Castleford in 1997.

In the 2015 General Election she won with a 15,428 majority after polling 25,213 votes compared UKIP candidate Nathan Garbutt's 9,785 votes.

Conservative Beth Prescott placed third in that election with 9,569 votes.

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In 2017 Ms Cooper won with a 14,499 majority after polling 29,268 votes compared with Conservative Andrew Lee's 14,769 votes.

Karim GaciouiKarim Gacioui
Karim Gacioui

In the 2016 EU referendum the constituency was part of the vote in Wakefield, where 66 per cent of the 116,165 people who voted were in favour of leaving.

Former Featherstone Rovers full back and winger John Marsden, 67, of Pontefract, has run Southwell barbers shop on Shoe Market in Pontefract town centre for 37 years.

The ex-Pontefract Prince of Wales Colliery miner, who played in Rovers' 1983 Challenge Cup winning team at Wembley, said he was a lifelong Labour voter before voting UKIP in the 2017 General Election.

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The grandfather-of-four, who voted to leave the EU, said: "Whoever I vote for I expect them to be democratic and the trouble is our democratically elected MP isn't listening to the electorate.

John MarsdenJohn Marsden
John Marsden

"I would this time vote Conservative because I think it’s the only leave option, but most of my customers wouldn't vote Conservative because of this area's history."

Mr Marsden added: "I'm passionate about leaving the EU because uncontrolled, unregulated, immigration in my opinion is the biggest strain on the NHS, housing and schools."

Shirley Westerman, 65, of Knottingley, a retired bottle sorter at Allied Glass in Knottingley, voted Labour in the 2017 General Election but is undecided where her vote will go.

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She said: "I have always voted Labour, but they will not win this election because not a lot of people like Jeremy Corbyn.

Phil DobsonPhil Dobson
Phil Dobson

"I can't make my mind up, I don't know. I don't want Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister.

"if it had been one of the Milibands or Andy Burnham, yes - perfect."

Retired Knottingley High School teacher Gordon Brook, 82, of Pontefract, said he voted leave and has always voted Conservative.

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The grandfather-of-five, said: "It (The European Union) is undemocratic and it’s a waste of money that should be spent here."

Mr Brook said he does not know who he will vote for in this election, adding: "I'm undecided because I don't think the Conservatives would stand a chance around here.

"I may vote for the Brexit Party because I voted leave and I want to leave."

Shirley WestermanShirley Westerman
Shirley Westerman

Mr Brook said he is concerned about the condition of the road network in Pontefract area, adding: "I think the roads need money spending on them, there are too many potholes."

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Businessman Andrew Robinson, 59, of Selby, is director of food and drink company D and R Group, which runs a number of businesses in Castleford, including Davison and Robinson fruit and veg stall in Castleford indoor market.

Mr Robinson said the Brexit deadlines that have already passed have cost his businesses because he has had to have two accounts systems running at the same time.

Mr Robinson said: "The two missed Brexit deadlines have cost us £100,000. At the moment the EU is one tax regime so there is free movement of goods within the EU. We have had to plan twice that that wouldn't be the case.

"It has cost us in systems and management time and consultants coming in to set systems up.

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"You have to have a whole different accounts system running alongside the current one, which becomes live the minute we leave.

"What we are looking for is certainty. I'm not bothered which way it goes. If we decide we are going to stay or go, we just need a decision making."

Phil Dobson, 62, who runs Four Seasons Pet Supplies in Castleford indoor market, said: "I voted to leave the EU. The way the politicians didn't follow the majority I think is disgusting really."

The grandfather-of-three added: "The reason I voted to leave is because we are not on an equal footing with our EU partners.

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"If I had a budgie for sale or any livestock in here without a licence to sell it I would get a fine. My counterparts in Europe don't follow the same rules."

Grandfather-of-two Stuart Tiffany, 54, of Glasshoughton, Castleford, said he voted Conservative in the 2017 General Election and leave in the EU referendum.

Mr Tiffany, who runs a greeting cards stall in Castleford's indoor market, said he will be voting for the Brexit Party next month, adding: "They stand for us leaving the EU and hopefully they will get a few seats and keep the Conservatives honest.

Mr Tiffany said he is concerned about trade in Castleford town centre.

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He said: "In the three-and-a-half years I have been here I have seen footfall going down in Castleford, that's why there's so many empty units in the indoor market.

"There isn't the footfall to make the money to pay your rents."

Businessman Karim Gacioui, 49, of Pontefract, is undecided between voting for Labour or Conservative.

The father-of-one, who has owned the Sliced Café on High Street in Normanton for five years, said he voted Conservative in the 2017 General Election and remain in the EU referendum.

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Mr Gacioui said he is concerned after hearing reports the NHS could be on the table in possible future trade deals with the US, adding: "It looks like if Brexit happens and Britain is going out of the EU it looks like the NHS will go private."

Mr Gacioui added: "I'm undecided between Labour and Conservative. I'm still thinking. I will decide, maybe at the last minute."

Supply teacher Alison Sowery, 60, of Heath village near Normanton, is a lifelong Labour voter who voted leave in the EU referendum.

The mother-of-one said: "I think people in this constituency are angry - not that Yvette Cooper is a remainer - but that she has been such an aggressive campaigner for remain, knowing full well that she represents a constituency where the majority voted leave.

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"That's her prerogative in a representative democracy, but clearly the people of this area feel betrayed by her.

"I'm still going to vote Labour because I agree entirely with Labour policies and hopefully there will still be an opportunity to leave the EU.

"I have always been against the political union that takes democratic rights of citizens in the UK."

Candidates standing in Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford constituency:

Yvette Cooper - Labour Party.

Deneice Florence-Jukes - Brexit Party.

Thomas Anthony Gordon - Liberal Democrats.

Andrew Lee - Conservative Party

Laura Marie Walker - Yorkshire Party