LABOUR’S Mark Huband hopes residents in the Cotswolds will back the most “civilised” party and has promised to address issues with housing and infrastructure, and education.

Mr Huband, who lives in Brimscombe, was a foreign correspondent in the Middle East and Africa and now runs his own strategic intelligence company.

His key focuses are housing and infrastructure, education funding and farmers’ subsidies.

Speaking of Cirencester’s housing and infrastructure issues, he said: “I’m very very worried that the extremely late Cotswold local plan is one that seems to have not been addressing issues of housing.”

He spoke about the proposed 2,350 homes in Chesterton: “The Chesterton development is going to put major pressure on Cirencester.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions on how infrastructure is going to be developed. Parking in Cirencester will get very crowded very quickly.

“The most important thing is whether the development meets the real need that exists in this area and the real need is for affordable housing.

“I do feel there is a great need for more open debate. Three councillors are being told they cannot vote, those are councillors who have a stake. The argument is councillors have to be impartial, but how many impartial councillors do you have in Cotswold District Council?”

Mr Huband believes the mega development will make Cirencester an “absolute centre” and “suck people, particularly young people, in from other areas”.

He argued: “If one town becomes larger by 2,000 or 3,000 people, it is creating an imbalance. I do not think that is the way to sustain rural areas.”

The Labour candidate also pointed out issues with funding for education, saying that funding has not increased, as the Conservatives claim.

The proposed funding formula means 21 secondary schools and larger primary schools in the Cotswolds will see a decrease in funding, while 37 smaller primary schools will be given more money.

Mr Huband said: “What we are seeing here is schools that are so good and have achieved so much, and all are going to be seriously damaged.

“I had letter from Farmor’s School, they did not know where they are going to get their money from.

“We are a wealthy country and we need to get our priorities right and our priority is health and education.”

One of the Labour party’s main policies is to abolish university tuition fees. The party claims that this will be funded by revised thresholds of income tax for the wealthy - 45p for those who earn £80,000 or more and 50p for those who earn £123,000 or more.

Responding to criticism that the policy on university fees is unrealistic, he said: “All you have got to do is do it. You have to make it a priority. We are in a position where we know where our money is coming from.”

Mr Huband also promises to support farmers in the Cotswolds by ensuring that EU subsidies to farmers are maintained and by fighting against a ‘catastrophic hard Brexit’.

The Labour representative said that if the UK did leave the single market to join the World Trade Organisation, farmers would not be able to export what they produce and “those markets will simply shut”.

Speaking of why residents should vote Labour, he said: “Labour is the most civilised political philosophy I have seen, I say that having gone to many places in the world. It gives me a perspective of what a country needs to have.

“This is a beautiful part of the UK and I want to see that cherished, protected and treasured. I want to to celebrate what a lovely place this is whilst ensuring the lives of people who live here are made as good as possible.”