AS Northwich prepares to head to the polls on December 12, the Guardian will be interviewing all candidates in mid Cheshire.

In the second pre-election interview, Adam Wordsworth, Conservative Party candidate for Weaver Vale, discusses his priorities for the constituency.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I was a police officer for most of my career. I loved that job, I was always on the front line, but it has changed a lot in the last 10 years. I think it is fair to say that it has been as tough a decade as we’ve ever known.

I was trying to make various reforms from within when the cuts started to happen – get more officers onto the front line and out of back offices.

Eventually it got to the point where I realised that if I wanted to help those front line officers I was going to have to do it from the outside rather than within, so that’s where the politics came into it.

I left with a commitment to try and make things better for front line officers, try and get more officers onto the front line to make the street safer, and also help those that are left behind like my partner Victoria, who is still there.

That’s interesting to hear you discuss the impact of cuts to policing made over the last nine years – so how come you are standing for the Conservative Party which imposed them?

I am a Conservative. I believe in smaller government, lower taxation and that if you work hard you can get on in life. People shouldn’t try to hold you back, and I don’t believe in the politics of envy.

That said, do I agree with every decision that was taken by every Conservative Government? Absolutely not.

I thought that in 2010 there was a lot of wastage in the police – I got that and it needed to be dealt with. The idea of restricting budgets, they thought, was that it would get chief constables out of back offices and onto the front line.

Northwich Guardian:

What they did instead was stop recruiting, and that hurt the front line. As soon as it became clear that was what was going on, the Government should have reversed that policy and that was something they got wrong.

I agree with the Conservatives on the vast majority of things – we disagree on that one.

So as a former officer, I presume you welcome the Conservative pledge to recruit more officers?

Yes of course, and I want to see as many of them come here as possible, to Weaver Vale, and I want to make sure that they stay on the front line.

Front line policing is the bread and butter of policing. It’s not just about detecting crimes as they happen, it’s about preventing those things in the first place, gaining intelligence about other things that might be going on in the area – drug dealing, knife crime.

We only stop these things, not just by having a visible presence, but by finding out what is going on, talking to people. And that has completely stopped in the last few years – we need to get that back.

What has been the key talking point on the doorstep so far?

I hate bringing up the B word. But Brexit comes up all the time, it does. People over and over again say ‘we voted to leave, why hasn’t it been done yet?’.

People who voted to leave – like me – say ‘people voted to leave, how is it not done?’. Some people who voted to remain but say ‘I am a democrat, why is it not done?’ And then occasionally people who say ‘I still think it shouldn’t be done’.

Why do you want to leave the EU?

I first became Eurosceptic in 2000. I was an A-Level law student, studying EU law. We studied the role of the commission, the supremacy of the European Courts of Justice, and I remember thinking ‘what on earth is this?’.

In the 16 years between then and the referendum, I felt there was a democratic deficit in the EU, I didn’t like the customs union that pushes up tariffs. I added them to my list of grievances.

But now it is about fulfilling democracy. Yes I do believe the benefits will come, I honestly do, but now it shouldn’t be about the pros and cons of Brexit.

Away from Brexit – what are the key local concerns you want to tackle?

Victoria Infirmary – people ask me ‘are we keeping the services we have got? Are more going to go to Leighton or Warrington?’

The staff at Victoria Infirmary work incredibly hard in difficult circumstances, but also in buildings that are not necessarily up to 21st century standards, equipment that is not necessarily up there. So I would like to see more money going there.

Northwich Guardian:

Then there’s Winnington Bridge, which is not fit for purpose. I don’t see why it is so difficult to put another bridge alongside it and get two lanes of traffic.

If this was Chester rather than Northwich it would have been solved yesterday – but it is not, people don’t seem to care as much, but that will be a big priority for me.

And leaseholds – particularly in Winnington. People have been trapped because of ever increasing ground rents, and it is not right. We need to sort that out.

Northwich residents suffer with a poor service on the mid Cheshire rail line – what would you do about Northern?

Northern for me has got past the point of second chances. The rail networks generally, privatisation has been a great success and the vast majority of franchises are working well.

Where they are not, the franchises should be taken away. That should have happened a long time ago with Northern.

HS2 is another key rail concern for residents – where do you stand on it?

Opposed. For me it is a vanity project. It has gone way over budget – these projects always do because their administered by people who are probably not qualified to do so.

HS2 will trim the time it gets to London. That was great 20 years ago but now everybody works remotely, a train is an office so it is not a big deal being on a train for an extra half an hour.

Scrap it, spend the money on local services. I am all for repealing Beeching, getting the old disused lines back up and running.

There would be a lot less traffic on the roads, if people saw the benefits of travelling on rail. It would not be a crowded line that is cancelled by Northern, there are loads of lines all over the place for people to get where they want to go.

You’ve spoken about the pressure policing has faced in recent years – the NHS has also been hit with funding cuts, and its A&E performance levels hit a record low recently. Why should voters trust the Conservatives with the NHS?

It has been a very difficult time for the public sector and I am not going to try and defend decisions that were made in the previous Parliament.

I get that there were difficult financial decisions that had to be made and I think that some things should have been done differently.

I’m glad we are putting more money into the NHS – £33.9 billion to transform hospitals. I want to fight now to get more of that in Northwich, at Victoria Infirmary.

But you need that person – because it comes down to individual MPs at the end of the day, standing there fighting for it, and at the end of five years in office saying ‘here is what I did and here are the results’.

Food bank use and child poverty has also risen in the past decade, and the way Universal Credit was rolled out by the Conservatives has caused problems for many families. What would you say to them?

Come to me – there are things we can do to help. I have had loads of conversations with the DWP over the last year on behalf of constituents that have had issues with Universal Credit payments or other allowances – if a partner dies and you are not entitled to benefits because you weren’t married.

But Universal Credit, the premise of it was a really good idea – a benefit that encourages work, rather than a lifetime of dependency.

Northwich Guardian:

Image: PA

Then a decision was made, incredibly, to pull £2 billion from its funding to set it up. Then everyone is incredulous when it doesn’t work – well yeah obviously, how stupid a decision was that?

It was a mistake, it should have been corrected, I’m glad more money is going into it now – a bit too late for some people, but better late than never.

Weaver Vale went from Conservative to Labour in 2017, do you think you can take it back?

I don’t do predictions – I’m famously bad at predictions. As a proud Brexiteer, I didn’t think we’d win the 2016 referendum. I put money on Hilary Clinton winning the US election. I said we wouldn’t get a majority in 2015, and that we would in 2017.

It will be close. I’d like to think a local candidate who gets the issues that affect the area, who is approachable and can have those conversations about the difficulties people are facing, will make a difference. But I am fighting for every vote.

Finally, you have a day off – no work or campaigning to do. How would you spend your ideal day in Cheshire?

I’ll go for a walk – I love walking. I’ll take the family with me. We’ve got a lot of lovely walks in the area but my favourite place to go is the cenotaph in Frodsham – from the top of the hill you can see out as far as Liverpool. It’s a good place to go and think, usually not about politics.

Then we’ll go out for dinner with the family – pizza or something like that, I’ve got two young daughters who are famously fussy with their food.

And then go home and read to them. Grace is 6 and Isobel 11, so they have different stories.

Isobel is going to be a teenager soon and I’m dreading the point where she says ‘stop reading to me dad’. I love reading to them, it’s my big thing.

READ > 'I worked my socks off' – Labour's Mike Amesbury on election hopes and aims for Weaver Vale

Keep checking the Guardian website over the coming days for our interviews with the remaining Weaver Vale candidates.