Meet our candidates: Reuben Lawrence, Sandwell, Wednesbury South

“I come from a working-class family, born and bred in Sandwell.

“I have never been well off. In the hopes of a better life and escape from abject poverty I enlisted in the British Army at the age of 16 and served as a guardsman.

“Life in the army taught me discipline and gave me an iron will.

“For most of my adult life I’ve always felt that politics is not for the working class.

“Since I left the army I have a fierce determination to see the working class, the majority of the British people, have the loudest voice in politics.”

Campaigning for jobs and industry will be given a high priority if Reuben is elected. Reuben is fighting for the council to lobby government to save Liberty Steel, a large employer in Wednesbury. Liberty’s owner, Indian multimillionaire Sanjeev Gupta, has now gone bust putting hundreds of jobs at risk.

Reuben is also the campaign manager for the West Midlands branch of the Workers Party of Britain which is campaigning for free travel for children across the region on buses to help hard-pressed families. Reuben argues it will speed up commuting and free up police time currently wasted dealing with petty issues around fare jumping.

“Sandwell has a population of more than 300,000 of which 20,000 children currently are living in poverty. Free travel for our children can help thousands of households in Wednesbury South and Sandwell.

“The bus companies, especially in our area, are essential to the local economy. There are 267 million bus journey’s in the West Midlands. Free travel on buses for children will provide them with access to education, work, cultural and social opportunities, as well as alleviating some of the excessive burden upon parents who simply don’t have the money.”