CANDIDATES vying to become the city’s next Member of Parliament will be relying on the student vote when the polls open.

Last month Theresa May announced the election for June 8.

With the election now just weeks away, the Chelmsford Weekly News asked students in Chelmsford what they think the main issues are and who they are backing.

Traditionally, the number of student voters has been low with an emphasis on encouraging the age bracket to join in with the voting.

In Chelmsford the candidates for the main four parties are Vicky Ford (Conservative), Chris Vince (Labour), Stephen Robinson (Liberal Democrats), Nigel Carter (Ukip).

Leaders of the main parties have been making their pledges for students in an effort to get the student vote.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has set out a £10bn plan to scrap all tuition fees and restore student maintenance grants in his first major policy announcement.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has said a Conservative Government would not scrap university tuition fees in England.

The Liberal Democrats would spend £7bn to protect per-pupil funding, to be partly funded by staying in the EU single market.

Ukip is proposing to block the opening of new Muslim schools until, it says, more progress has been made integrating Muslims into mainstream society.

Chelmsford students said that when it comes to voting in the General Election there are many issues that are important to them.

Most students asked said that Brexit is a big issue for them.

This comes as no surprise as the Brexit vote last June is likely to go down in history.

There are a number of other issues that are likely to influence the vote for Chelmsford students, such as university tuition fees.

A new website is also helping to make it easier for students to vote.

The website allows university students to compare the postcodes of their home address and university residence to see which seat is more likely to be an electoral battle - ground.

Ben Morris, 20, from Chelmsford, is studying Paramedic Science at Anglia Ruskin University.

He said: “I will be voting on June 8 as I have always been taught it is so important that young people have their say in these elections.

“At the moment I am a little undecided as to which party to vote for.

“Investment in the NHS and education are hugely important issues to me.

“I really feel that there needs to be an improvement in the provision and access for individuals living in poorer areas who have social issues, as well as much needed investment in mental health provision.”

Joseph Andrew, 18, from Great Baddow, is currently studying A-levels in politics, geography and economics at New Hall School, Boreham.

He said: “I think that it is good that we have another election because Theresa May wasn’t officially elected by the people and she needs a strong mandate to negotiate Brexit. However, it could be seen as an expensive waste of time that people didn’t want or need. I am planning on voting for the Conservatives, because they are in the strongest position to make the most of Brexit.

This will be my first time voting. I think the big issues are Brexit, the economy and immigration.”

Max Day, 18, from Braintree, is a New Hall School student in Boreham where he is currently studying A-levels in politics, geography and history.

He said: “I think the General Election is an attempt to increase the Conservative majority in the House of Commons as they currently have a very slim one.

“I will be voting when the polls open and I am planning on voting for the Liberal Democrats. They do not have a chance of winning in my constituency but I hope it will show an increased demand for a soft Brexit.

“I have not voted before so this will be my first time, I think the big issue in this election is Brexit.”

Oliver Ledwith, 18, a New Hall School student in Boreham, is studying A-levels in politics, history and Spanish.

He said: “I think that the election has been called to take advantage of Jeremy Corbyn and his awful leadership and to strengthen May’s negotiating hand with the EU.

“I will spoil my ballot. I support a hard Brexit but do not support Conservative policies so I have nobody to vote for and I do not really agree with capitalism.

“I think the big issues are Brexit, revitalising the Labour Party by ousting Jeremy Corbyn, and other issues.”

Danielle Rothmann, 18, from Chelmsford is studying A-Level in politics, geography and art at  New Hall School.

She said: “I think it's a good idea as it will give stronger mandate to whoever negotiates Brexit. However, I don't really like many of the candidates and labour isn't offering a strong enough opposition. 

“I am planning to vote for either the Lib Dems or Green Party. I think Global Warming and what mitigation strategies each party will take. I also think the upcoming negotiations over Brexit will be important.”

Jemima Lynn, 18, from Great Dunmow, is studying A-Levels in Biology, English, Politics at New Hall School said: “I believe it is a good idea for the Prime minister to have called the election because then she will have a mandate to carry out her manifesto as currently many people criticise her actions and ability to negotiate Brexit when she doesn’t have a mandate from the people.

"I will vote for the Conservative party, because they are the party with which I agree with the most policies, especially our strong/hard Brexit. I think big issues are brexit, university fees, NHS.”