All of the candidates standing in the General Election to represent Sutton COldfield as our Member of Parliament have been sent a copy of the Bishops’ Letter on the General Election.

They have been invited to share their thoughts on the questions psed with our parish.

The first to reply is Dr Hanna Sophia, who is standing as an Independent Candidate.

She has replied as follows:

Dear Father Allen,

I was so pleased to hear from you.

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Dr Hannah Sophia and I have lived in Sutton Coldfield for 2 years. My daughter ( attended St Josephs RC School in Hertford) turned 18 this year and is voting for the first time. It was her idea that I stand. …

Thank you for sharing the letter to Catholics. Here is my response:-

I am an independent candidate and can therefore vote freely and with a clear conscience using my faith and moral code.

1) I believe all impacted citizens should have the right to remain and be offered dual nationality asap.

With new trade deals I do not believe TPIP or CETA are in our economic interests because the consequence will be a deregulated economy with fewer workers rights. We need to offer job security and there is no place for zero hours contracts.

2) Human life is precious and the vulnerable in society must be protected. I do not agree with assisted dying and do not agree that the state has a right to take a life for any purpose.

Regarding family life – there are many many pressures that impact family life and cause anxiety and distress. I believe we all need work, a home and relationships. I am therefore totally in favour of the house building programme. We need affordable homes to combat income segregation.

3) Norway has an interesting approach to rehabilitation and it is a model that could be used in our country. I believe prisoners should be offered training, books to read, music to read/listen to – and no TV or wifi. The prison population could easily operate as a business and design or build things.

4) I believe in a points based migration system – as in Australia and Canada.

5) I am in favour of taking more Syrian refugees. Maybe 500,000 by 2020. I simply believe that our country is responsible for these people – we should not be bombing Syria.

6) I would like us to look for common ground in our beliefs. Many religions share the same moral code but society focuses on differences far too much. We need to do more to celebrate God rather than focus on disaster.

7)I am in favour of protecting the international development budget for the poorest.

8) I work as a health economist and am standing in this election to protect our health service – I want to block privatisation and keep the NHS free for all. I am not a career politician. I believe better decisions would be made in Parliament if we vote for experienced people rather than career politicians. I have worked on mental health programs for/with the NHS as a consultant ( E.g. Join the Dots in Bristol) and these programmes are underfunded.

I am well travelled and in other societies ( Japan, India, Korea, China) the family looks after the old, the sick, the vulnerable. We appear to have moved away from that family model and there is a need for our children to understand the concept of ‘duty’ and looking after family. We need a less selfish society. It is difficult to change behaviours in a short time so there is a need to lead by example and put incentives in place.

My daughter attended a Catholic School so I am obviously in favour of schools where children are taught to pray, to respect each other and family values.

The modern slavery point is a difficult one and I need to learn more about this issue and possible solutions. I am open to suggestions.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity, as an independent candidate, to provide a snapshot of my beliefs. I have a desire to improve our country and to make family  lives easier for our neighbours. I am not afraid to stand up and be counted as someone with faith and a desire for truth and justice. I love Pope Francis and his teachings and feel blessed to be given this opportunity in life to connect with people.

Thank you

Hannah Sophia

Dr Sophia’s website can be accessed here.
She also sent a proof of her Election Communication: