The County Gazette and Bridgwater Mercury has interviewed each of the Bridgwater and West Somerset candidates ahead of Thursday's election. Mickie Ritchie is the Green Party candidate hoping for your vote on December 12.

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

MR: I’ve got lots of real life experiences, and lots of different types of works with people from lots of different backgrounds, so I’m not blinkered in how society is. I’m good at listening to people and helping to find solutions.

CG: What drew you to join the Green Party?

MR: I’ve been with the Green Party and standing as the local candidate since 2015. I was drawn to it because I had a 20-year interest in things like farming methods and pesticides relating to health, climate change and world population growth, and The Green Party that was dealing with these things seriously.

The Greens also have a series of policies that are both quite revolutionary and actually quite sensible in terms of rebalancing wealth in society.

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

MR: Climate change will affect everybody and is the top priority, but there are also local issues such as rural poverty and bad public transport links, both of which are addressed in our policies.

We have Hinkley which is something the Green Party is against, and we would ban nuclear power. Hinkley has some benefits such as local jobs, but also has disadvantages in that it produces unmanageable amounts of toxic waste that we have to store here next to two outstanding areas of natural beauty.

CG: The Green Party is in favour of a second referendum – do you think that will go down well with voters here?

MR: It is a difficult one. The initial referendum was not done particularly well and three years on we know a lot more and a lot of people have changed their minds. So to have a People’s Vote will give a full range of options – not just revoke it like the LibDems, so it is much fair.

CG: Does a vote for the Green Party actually increase the chances of the Conservatives regaining the seat?

MR: People feeling they have to vote tactically is a poor reflection on our existing voting system and we would be better of with proportional representation.

The Green Party and what it stands for make absolute common sense to me in terms of how we are going to address climate change and change our society to be heading in a carbon neutral direction. Unless we stand in every possible constituency, we won’t be seen as a proper party. If we step down all the time, we are saying we are not important. We are important and will become more important as climate change affects more and more people’s lives.

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

MR: I think that tackling the climate emergency is the most vital thing. Economic growth is not always a good thing anyway. Economic growth relies on more and more people buying more and more things, which uses more and more of the world’s resources.

How does that end? We use everything we have – so the ultimate result of economic growth is that we have nothing left on the planet – we use it all up.

If you have economic growth, for the majority of working people on average income, they never see the benefits of that anyway. Economic growth benefits the very rich.

When we have a recession it affects everybody, and average people are the first to be hit and made redundant and face greater hardships.

The Conservatives will tell you economic growth is brilliant because it filters down, it is just not true. I think it is better to have less growth in a more sustainable way, use the resources we have more wisely, have a better work-life balance and make sure the wellbeing of everybody in society is catered for.

Get to know your candidate:

CG: Do you have any pets?

MR: Two cats, Sid and Jonny

CG: What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

MR: I’m a musician, so I play in couple of bands – one is called Disco Cactus and another is a Latin American Jazz band that is quite laid back. They’re called Bossa Belza. I also really like sewing and crochet.

CG: Do you have a favourite film?

MR: I don’t watch a lot of films but I did enjoy Fisherman’s Friends at our community cinema in Watchet recently.

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

MR: I would go with Brian May from Queen as he is a musician and someone who is against the badger cull, Tim Smit – the man who created the Eden Project - who I think is brilliant, and I would invite Tutankhamun because I am fascinated by the Ancient Egyptians!