The Lincoln Debate: Audience verdict

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Audience members have been reacting to The Lincoln Debate, which saw six of the seven candidates answer questions on topics ranging from security to the NHS, as well as Brexit.

Organised by the The Lincolnite and BBC Radio Lincolnshire, the 90-minute programme allowed candidates to go head to head on issues and questions put to them by a live studio audience, as well as those watching on Facebook.

The candidates taking part in the debate were:

  • Ben Loryman – Green Party
  • Karen Lee – Labour
  • Caroline Kenyon – Liberal Democrats
  • Nick Smith – UKIP
  • Iain Scott-Burdon – Independent
  • Phil Gray – Independent

Conservative candidate Karl McCartney refused to take part.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, leader of City of Lincoln Council, praised his Labour colleague Karen Lee’s performance.

He said: “I think Karen’s credentials as a strong, local candidate, working for the NHS, and her concerns for all the bread and butter issues that I believe are important to the people of Lincoln came across very strongly.”

Ross Pepper, Liberal Democrat candidate in neighbouring Sleaford and North Hykeham, said that he thought Caroline Kenyon performed very well, adding that the NHS would be the key issue at the ballot box.

He said that the so-called dementia tax had turned Conservative voters off Theresa May.

Brexit, unsurprisingly, was the most important section of the debate for UKIP supporter and party member Tony Wells.

He said: “The Lib Dems and Labour are very negative on the Brexit. We see the UK in a different way.”

Conservative supporter Ian Green also thought that Brexit was important.

While praising the candidates on show for their passion for local issues, he thought they were found lacking on national issues over the economy and funding.

He said: “What’s going to be important for the future of the country is the strength of the economy.”

Green Party member Nicola Watson was pleased with her candidate Ben Loryman’s performance, but would have liked more questions on issues such as animal rights and fox hunting.

The absence of Karl McCartney was also picked up by the audience.

Audience member Kate Taylor, who has written columns for The Lincolnite in the past, said: “I think the audience were really disappointed by that.

“Even Tory voters didn’t really know what to say about that in the audience.”

Councillor Metcalfe added: “It’s absolutely disgraceful for the incumbent Member of Parliament to have the arrogance not to turn up to a hustings of this nature.

“I hope he will be punished for it at the polls.”

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