ELECTION 2010: BEVERLEY MINSTER was the iconic location for our very own “leaders” debate last night (26th April). Some 400 members of the public turned up to see the main party candidates battle it out for the Beverley and Holderness seat in Parliament.
The hustings event was organised by Beverley Churches together and chaired by that group’s Rev Jeremy Fletcher. A series of questions were put to the candidates that had been received from the public by e-mail.
The biggest ‘spat’ of the evening was on the issue of Sure Start. Labour candidate Ian Saunders challenged Conservative Graham Stuart to name which one of the constituency’s four Sure Start centres (Beverley, Hornsea, Hedon and Withernsea) would close under a Conservative Government.
The Conservative candidate replied that no Sure Start centres would close – it had never been the case that Sure Start was under threat from his party. This was just “another example of the lies and scare stories” being peddled by Labour to scare voters.
Ian Saunders said that “absent Tory commitments” had to be highlighted in an election campaign and cited that free bus passes, prescriptions and free eye tests for the elderly were not guaranteed by the Tory manifesto.
The other issues from the hustings debate included MPs’ expenses with Craig Dobson for the Liberal Democrats saying that a fresh start for politics was needed and the current political system was not “fit for purpose” and electoral reform was essential.
Bill Rigby explained his view that the aggressive policies of the corporations had led to greed for world resources. We have “eaten all the fish, used all the oil” and the other parties have led us to “distress on the environment and wars”.
The above is just a snapshot of the debate that took place during the course of two hours.