By Peter Trifunovic
Rushcliffe’s parliamentary candidates battled for constituents’ support at a hustings hosted by West Bridgford Methodist Church.
The event drew a crowd of over 300 constituents that questioned the candidates on issues from Brexit to climate change ahead of December’s vote.
After 49 years, Ken Clarke, former Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, stood down prior to this election.
Rushcliffe voted strongly to remain with a 57% majority in the 2016 EU referendum and Ruth Edwards of the Conservatives, who was the only candidate in favour of leaving, said: “I believe democracy must be respected, whether we agree with the result or not.”
Speaking at the event on Tuesday (Nov 26) Labour candidate Cheryl Pidgeon responded to concerns over how the government deals with small businesses by highlighting how free broadband would help in rural areas.
UKIP’s Matthew Faithfull proposed more free parking to support retail businesses.
The climate crisis was the most requested issue at the hustings and the candidates held strong views.
Cheryl Pidgeon of Labour was strongly against fracking, whilst Conservative candidate Ruth Edwards and Jason Billin of the Liberal Democrats emphasised the need to be carbon neutral by 2050 and to create a green generation respectively.
All the candidates agreed that more needs to be done to help tackle mental health as well as homelessness in Nottinghamshire with Jason Billin stating: “Mental health needs to be given the urgency, respect and similar funding to physical health.”
Similarly, Cheryl Pidgeon said: “We are going to recruit 4,500 health visitors and 24,000 nurses. We will invest in mental health as well.”
On the issue of tuition fees, the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates want to scrap them however the Conservative and UKIP candidates believe it would only cost the taxpayer more.