Eastleigh’s Parliamentary hopefuls have taken part in an General Election hustings at Kings Community Church Hedge End where around 120 local people gathered to listen to the wannabe MPs answer selected pre-submitted questions in a two hour session chaired by Nigel Paterson.
All five candidates took part and included Eastleigh’s most recent MP Mims Davies Conservative), who held the seat 2015 – 2017 and her predecessor Mike Thornton (Liberal Democrat) who represented Eastleigh from 2013 – 2015.
Also on the panel was another veteran from the 2015 General Election – Ron Medrum ( Green Party).
Debutantes were Jill Payne (Labour) and Malcolm Jones (Ukip).
The questions had been picked at random and included topics like the NHS, the economy and pre-school education – there was also time for local issues like Eastleigh’s proposed housing plan and funding for the Chickenhall Lane Link Road.
Candidates were also asked for their views on ‘state values’ versus the teachings of the bible (the venue was a church) but one issue excluded from the agenda was fox hunting.
The Conservative manifesto controversially promises a free vote on fox hunting but the chair said that even though several questions had been submitted regarding the policy, they would not be heard because fox hunting was not relevant to Eastleigh.
The front runners – according to the bookies – Davies (Con) and Thornton (Lib Dem) dominated proceedings, partly perhaps due to Parliamentary experience of public speaking. These two candidates spent longer answering question than the other three candidates put together but all candidates were well received by the audience and there was a consensus on some topics, for example climate change.
The total amount of time each candidate spent speaking can be seen in the following chart:
Mims Davies (Con): Local plan
Mike Thornton(Lib Dem): The NHS
Jill Payne (Lab): Mental health
Ron Medrum(Grn):Mental health
Malcolm Jones (Ukip): Climate change
Here are audio clips from all the topics discussed during the evening (if you can’t see them try re-loading the page).
Part one: Opening statements. (24 mins)
Part two: NHS and GPs (10 mins)
Part three: Mental Health Beds (10 mins)
Part four: Economy and trade (8 mins)
Part five: Cuts to pre-school funding ( 7 mins)
Part six: Law versus bible (6 mins)
Part seven: Chickenhall Lane link road (8 mins)
Part eight: Climate change (9 mins)
Part nine: Local Plan (10 mins)
Part ten: Closing speeches (9 mins)
Glutton for punishment? – if you have scrolled down this far this could be you!
Below you can listen to the 2015 hustings to see what Mike, Mims, Ron and the other candidates said then – although two candidates, Declan Clune, the TUSC candidate and Ray Hall of The Beer, Baccy and Scratchings Party were excluded from the hustings.