This week the County Gazette and Bridgwater Mercury interviewed each of the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency General Election candidates. Fares Moussa is the Liberal Party candidate hoping for your vote on December 12.

County Gazette: For people who maybe don’t know a lot about the Liberal Party, what are the main things the party stands for and what is the message you want to get across?

FM: I think the Liberal Party stands for a real and true Liberal position, which a lot of the other parties, especially the Liberal Democrats have moved away from. It is all about localism, decentralisation, representation and it is about really giving everybody a fair chance to achieve what they want to in their lives.

From that principle we believe the government and the state should be enabling people as much as possible to achieve those things.

We strongly believe in free education for all, that is where we divert very strongly from the Liberal Democrats and their support of tuition fees. We are strong supporters of vocational training.

We think education should be depoliticised and there should be a separate commission that is not run by the government, that is not a political football, which regulates and sets curriculums.

We believe in progressive policies like preventative health care. If you invest more in this it will make savings in the long term and everyone is healthier. So it is sensible, liberal policies. We’re not to keen on income tax and don’t believe it is very fair as it means people at the lower end of income are the people who pay proportionately the most.

We are keen to reduce income tax, especially for lower income earners. We would increase things like inheritance tax and introduce things like a land value tax which is quite radical and very different from what anybody else offers.

CG: What experience do you have that would make you a good MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset?

FM: I used to be a very active member of the Liberal Democrats. I joined in 1999, I stood in local elections and was a councillor for five years, I was a prospective parliamentary candidate and European parliamentary candidate, and I co-wrote policy for the party, so I was very involved and I have a lot of experience from that. I have experience of being a councillor. In my personal experiences I have run businesses, I’ve run charities, I am the director of an arts organisation, and I lot of these roles have been community facing.

CG: What made you want to leave the Liberal Democrats?

FM: If you look at where the Liberal Democrats were under Charles Kennedy, and where it is now. The Liberal Democrats used to be proactive European reformists, not the current no-questions-asked Europhiles. There was a sceptical edge, but not any more. They don’t support free education. They are more centrist, they are more interventionist and not, in my opinion, promoting liberal values, so I felt I could no longer support them.

CG: What do you consider to be the key issues facing the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency?

FM: Brexit is a challenge for everybody, but it also real opportunity to move away from that straitjacket which the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy is, in terms of how farmers behave and what they do to receive the subsidies.

There is an opportunity for reshaping what farming is, how sustainable it is, how environmentally friendly it is, how high quality the products are.

All of those things can be invested in here in Somerset. I’m a strong supporter of the Exmoor Ambition, those sorts of models for how we can move forward in this region really need to be promoted.

I also don’t think we are very good at shouting about ourselves in this part of the world, we have coastline, two areas of outstanding natural beauty, urban centres with large historic interest but far less tourism than Cornwall and Devon.

We need to promote tourism here and we need to do more to keep young people here.

CG: So voters are clear what is your stance on Brexit? How did you vote in 2016 and where do you stand now?

FM: I’ve always been sceptical about the European project but felt it may be a good thing if we could reform it radically.

That hasn’t happened and it isn’t about to happen. So given that, we need to get out so we can set our own agenda.

Actually at the time of the referendum I voted to remain, if the referendum were to happen again I would firmly vote to exit the EU.

I’m a supporter of Brexit for various economic and political reasons, but also as a point of principle. The referendum happened, there was an outcome, we need to respect that.

CG: Do you think economic growth and tackling the climate emergency can go hand-in-hand?

FM: I don’t know if there needs to be change in economic growth but maybe changes in what those economies are. We need investment in sustainable forms of energy, research and development into algae biofuel is a huge thing is something we should be talking about a lot more and being more excited about. We do need to grasp the nettle which is our own lifestyle, our habits, how do we as individuals impact the environment and I think there needs to be more education about that. In rural areas it is difficult to get around without owning a car, so we need decent train lines, better bus services.

Get to know your candidate:

CG: Do you have any pets?

FM: Yes, I have a cat called Lightning Trevor!

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

FM: I work a lot but when I do get some down time I like to read and write, I play the guitar. I love food and wine too.

CG: Do you have a favourite film?

FM: The first one that came to my head is a film called Archipelago by a female writer called Joanna Hogg who I think is amazing.

It was one of Tom Hiddleston’s first screen performances and is about a family on holiday on the Scilly Isles.

I highly recommend it!

CG: If you could have three dinner party guests, from the past or present, who would you invite?

FM: I think while there are a lot of people that fascinate me I’m not sure I want to meet them! It probably sounds cheesy but I would rather have dinner with people I know and love.