Packed hustings hears from Daventry general election candidates

Clockwise: Chris Heaton-Harris (Con), Abigail Campbell (Lab), Callum Delhoy (Lib Dem), Steve Whiffen (Green) and Michael Gerard (UKIP).
Clockwise: Chris Heaton-Harris (Con), Abigail Campbell (Lab), Callum Delhoy (Lib Dem), Steve Whiffen (Green) and Michael Gerard (UKIP).

All five candidates standing in the Daventry constituency discussed the issues and answered the public’s questions at a hustings event in the town on Monday night.

Organised by Churches Together and held at Daventry Methodist Church, the event will be the main hustings for Daventry town during the campaign.

I don’t particularly like austerity, but I don’t think it’s a bad policy – it is the result of the bad policies of previous politicians.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative

Issues such as inequality in the UK, school standards, the NHS, the expansion of Daventry and house building in villages, the accountability of MPs, and immigration were all discussed, debated, and occasionally agreed on over the two hour event.

Labour candidate Abigail Campbell opened the debate by saying: “When I first moved to Daventry there were still signs up for the outdoor pool, and I drove around trying to find it.

“The outdoor pool has become an emblem of what we have lost in this town – the opportunity to come together to celebrate.

“Too many things have been taken away from Daventry and not enough has been given back.”

Callum Delhoy for the Liberal Democrats opened by saying: “The Liberal Democrats came second here in 2010, and I believe we could come first this time.

“We started off in 2010 with the large deficit. Over those five years in coalition I feel that we have restructured the economy fairly.

“No party is really seeking a whole majority in the next parliament. I’m hoping that you will agree that the next coalition will be better with the Liberal Democrats in it.”

Michael Gerard from UKIP said: “First and foremost we believe we must remove ourselves from the shackles of the EU; we want to grab hold of our immigration system and take control. The NHS is very dear to all our hearts and we want to keep it free at the point of delivery. UKIP is the only party to have costed out what we will be saving in the NHS and what we will be spending.”

Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative, said: “I went against my party [over the EU referendum bill] as I wanted a referendum sooner, and I got in trouble for doing that, big trouble.

“I don’t particularly like austerity, but I don’t think it’s a bad policy – it is the result of the bad policies of previous politicians.”

Steve Whiffen from the Green Party said: “The environment is important – it’s not what we’re solely about but we are worried about it, and it’s more scary than whether the SNP gets some more votes.

“A good Christian principle is stewardship, to look after the world. We hold it in trust for the next generation, and we’re not doing a very good job.

“Austerity is the biggest deceit of the moment. Everyone knows you have income as well as outgoings. We need to save on some outgoings, like spending billions on weapons of mass destruction.

“But tax is important. We would expect to tax the richest one per cent more on income.”