With the local elections happening today, it may seem daunting to know what students are voting for and where. The Blue has contacted candidates to ascertain what they think the biggest problems facing Oxford are and what students should know about their campaign. 

Conservative Party 

The Conservative Party are fielding  candidates in Carfax and Jericho (Alexander Jamie Elliott), Walton Manor (Penelope Anne Lenon), and St Mary’s (George Robinson). The Oxford Conservatives’ manifesto outlines a 6 point plan for Oxford. They pledge to “hold (…) Oxfordshire County Council to account over their anti-motorist policies,” criticising  Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN), Traffic Filters, the Workplace Parking Levy and the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ), calling these policies “illiberal” and “damaging.” Moreover, they pledge to improve healthcare access by building a new multi-storey car park at the John Radcliffe Hospital and pledge to “cut out wasteful spending” whilst keeping Council Tax low. They want to provide “realistic, quality, and affordable housing” by the targeted use of, for example, brownfield sites. They support “safer streets” for cyclists and pedestrians and pledge to support local businesses. Although Alexander James Elliott, the candidate for Carfax and Jericho is not optimistic about the outcome of the election, telling the Blue that “he [doesn’t] expect any miracles to happen this election”, he says that he “hope[s] the focus is on local issues,” as he believes that the Labour councillors’ split “over a foreign policy issue” does not reflect this. Elliott would like the students of Oxford University to know that “the issues with local government in Oxford lie with the Labour Party” and that “the Conservatives are ready and willing to step up and take the tough decisions to bring success to Oxford.” 

Labour Party 

The Labour Party are fielding  candidates in Carfax and Jericho (Lizzy Diggins), Holywell (Colin Cook), Walton Manor (James Fry), St Clement’s (Jesse Erlam) and St Mary’s (Matthew Gregory Leonard Leigh). Diggins and Fry are also running for the Co-operative Party. Oxford Labour’s manifesto pledges to tackle the housing crisis, citing the 620 council homes they have built in the last four years and the introduction of the licensing of privately rented homes, and pledging to build 1600 more affordable homes in the next four years. Moreover, they highlight their work around climate change, the decarbonising of pools and progress to becoming a Zero Carbon Council. They pledge to continue working with the NHS, and use council buying power to “prioritise local businesses” as well as promoting the Oxford Living Wage. They pledge to make the city safer for cyclists and increase funding for things like street cleaning. Lizzy Diggins, the incumbent in Carfax and Jericho, told the Blue that she wants to “ensure Oxford is a great place for everyone to live,” whilst Colin Cook told the Blue that he wants students to know that he aims to “improve the quality of accommodation for students living out of college.”

Liberal Democrats 

The Liberal Democrats are fielding  candidates in Carfax and Jericho (Jessica Mary Frankopan), Holywell (Heather India Judge), Walton Manor (Liz Wade), St Clement’s (Geraldine Anne Coggins) and St Mary’s (Richard Whelan). Although the Liberal Democrats do not have a local party manifesto, many of the issues discussed in their national manifesto apply to issues brought up by Oxford candidates. The Liberal Democrats pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 and invest in renewable energy. On housing, they pledge to build 150,000 new social homes yearly nationwide and strengthen rights for renters. 

Green Party 

The Green Party are fielding  candidates in Carfax and Jericho (Emma Garnett), Holywell (Dianne Regisford), Walton Manor (Chris Goodall), St Clement’s (Alex Powell), and St Mary’s (Chris Jarvis). The Oxford Green Party’s manifesto highlights the lack of affordable housing, proposing the introduction of an ‘Oxford Living Rent’ to promote affordability amongst the private sector. Moreover, they pledge to reduce traffic and make the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians, pledging to adopt ‘Vision Zero’, a goal of zero pedestrian, cyclist and driver road fatalities. They pledge to stand up for diverse communities, opposing the detention of refugees and asylum seekers. They pledge to take action on the ‘cost of living’ crisis and continue working towards the ‘net zero’ 2040 goal. Moreover, they pledge to improve local democracy, proposing the introduction of citizens’ assemblies and pledging to “require students to be supported on equal terms by Council services.” 

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) are fielding  candidates in St Clement’s (James Bonner) and St Mary’s (Orland Munoz). TUSC’s manifesto for local elections pledges to oppose all cuts/closures to council services, refuse to cooperate with commissionaires appointed by Tories to impose cuts on local services, reject council tax, rent and service charge increases for the working-class. The manifesto also pledges to demand that councils as employers do not issue ‘work notices’ against strikers, and oppose the privatisation of council jobs and services. On climate, though they believe LTN’s are a “band aid” solution,they pledge to begin mass building eco-friendly and affordable council homes and support local Climate Emergency plans that create new employment whilst reducing emissions. They also pledge to fight against racism, sexism and oppression and back all workers’ struggles against government policies. James Bonner, the candidate for St Clement’s told the Blue that he decided to run to provide an alternative to a “Labour party that [has] drifted to their right” and “is not working for the people.” In regards to student policy, Bonner says that he supports caps on rental prices, higher standards of accommodation, landlords being held accountable and the provision of “mental health services.” Moreover, he proposes subsidised bus fares for students. 

Independent Oxford Alliance

The Independent Oxford Alliance is fielding affiliated candidates in St Clement’s (Sal Naqvi) and St Mary’s (John Edwin Skinner). Each affiliated independent has their own manifesto. Sal Naqvi in St Clement’s pledges to oppose LTNs in their current form, bus gates, ZEZ expansion and the workplace parking levy and to work on alternatives to reduce congestion and improve road safety. Moreover, he pledges to “heal the divisions in our community,” improve housing, reduce noise levels from “Cowley Road night life” and restore South Park. John Edwin Skinner  in St Mary’s pledges to promote cycling and walking, enforce speed limits, oppose LTNs that threaten jobs and promote a contract for “considerate and safe road use.” Skinner told the Blue in an interview that there was a “substantial majority of Oxford residents who were against low traffic neighbourhoods” and that the council ignored them. In regards to students, Skinner said he believes that the effect of LTNs are “neutral.” In response to a question about policy for students, Skinner said he would improve cycle lanes, impose greater regulation of houses with multiple occupants and better rubbish management. 


There is one unaffiliated independent candidate running in Holywell, Emily Frances Scaysbrook, the owner of Hoyle’s Oxford, an independent board game shop. On her website, Scaysbrook promises to improve transparency and accountability, introducing a “councillor recall procedure” and holding frequent surgeries. She says that she is “eager to encourage active transport” such as cycling and that she supports urban greening and is already working with the Oxford Botanic Garden to develop Oxford’s first ‘pocket forest.’ In an interview with the Blue, Scaysbrook cited climate change, the housing crisis and homelessness, affordability, and transport around the city to be the biggest problems facing Oxford. Scaysbrook said she wants to increase voter turnout, in particular increasing engagement with students through JCRs, and spend more money on Oxford’s night-time economy. 

With many students voting in their first elections on Thursday, understanding the aims of each campaign could not be more important.

Reporting by Jess Hind, Lottie Gaylard, Miranda Devine, Tanishka Khokhar, Verity Fleetwood-Law, Eric Balonwu, Victoria Mckinley-Smith and Willow Lock