December 9, 2019 6.47 pm This story is over 28 months old

Watch again: MP candidates go head to head in 2019 Lincoln Debate

Watch the debate here

Seven candidates vying for your votes to become the next Member of Parliament for Lincoln have come together for a special hustings event at The Lawn.

The debate on Monday, December 9, in front of a 100-strong audience and simulcast live on The Lincolnite and BBC Radio Lincolnshire, is chaired by the BBC’s Rod Whiting.

Questions are taken from audience members.

Watch the hustings live above, follow the highlights in the LiveBlog below, and get involved in the conversation by tweeting us @thelincolnite and using #LincolnDebate.

Live blog finished. Updates are displayed chronologically.
9th December 2019 6:51pm

Good evening,

My name is Calvin Robinson, I’m the Local Democracy Reporter at The Lincolnite and I will be bringing you live coverage of tonight’s debate from The Lawn.

9th December 2019 6:55pm

And I’m Emily! We’ll be bringing you the latest from the debate here at The Lawn in Lincoln. 

Here’s the view from our production room:

9th December 2019 6:55pm

Tonight there will be 100 people in the audience. We are broadcasting live from The Blue Room at The Lawn in Lincoln. Watch or listen live at 7pm.

9th December 2019 6:56pm

Questions will come directly from audience members, who have been selected from 250 applications to represent the voting percentages in the 2017 general election.

9th December 2019 6:56pm

The candidates taking part in the debate, and hoping for your votes on Thursday, December 12, are: 

  • Karen Lee – Labour
  • Karl McCartney – Conservative
  • Caroline Kenyon – Liberal Democrat
  • Reece Wilkes – The Brexit Party
  • Charles Shaw – Liberal Party
  • Sally Horscroft – Green Party
  • Rob Bradley – Independent

9th December 2019 6:56pm

Candidates are now on stage, wired up and ready to go.

Four minutes and ticking.

9th December 2019 6:58pm

Rod Whiting is chairing the debate tonight – he’s just asked Brexit Party candidate, Reece Wilkes, what colour his suit is that he is wearing.

“I don’t know,” said Reece.

9th December 2019 6:59pm

It looks burgundy to me.

9th December 2019 7:02pm

And we’re off.

The candidates will start with a 90 second introduction.

Labour’s Karen Lee is up first.

9th December 2019 7:02pm

We will now hear a 90 second introduction from each of the candidates. The audience on social media is growing by the second.

You can join in the conversation online using #LincolnDebate 

9th December 2019 7:03pm

Ms Lee says she has fought for Lincoln in her time as MP.

She says Labour “proposes a way forward for our divided country”.

She says she wants to see a “kinder and fairer” Britain.

9th December 2019 7:05pm

Independent’s Rob Bradley is next.

He says he will put “people before politics” and that the electorate is “dismayed” by what is on offer from politics.

9th December 2019 7:06pm

Green Party candidate, Sally Horscroft, is next up.

She says she has campaigned on environmental issues “for many years” and that politics is “about people”.

“I’m angry by the mess that our society is in,” she said.

9th December 2019 7:08pm

As audience members and candidates filed into the Blue Room at The Lawn, the Lincoln branch of the Extinction Rebellion group protested outside, in a mission, they said, to make sure climate change was on the top of the agenda.

Photos: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

9th December 2019 7:08pm

Liberal candidate, Charles Shaw, is on his feet for his introduction.

He says the party has “stuck to its principles” and put “community first”.

“We believe the nation needs to come together,” he says.

9th December 2019 7:10pm

Sally Horscroft – Green Party 

9th December 2019 7:11pm

Conservative, Karl McCartney, is next.

He says we’re having a General Election because “Brexit has not been delivered” and says he delivered on his promises during his time as MP from 2010 until 2017.

9th December 2019 7:11pm

Rob Bradley – Independent

9th December 2019 7:11pm

Karen Lee – Labour

9th December 2019 7:12pm

Liberal Democrat, Caroline Kenyon, is giving her introduction.

She says the UK’s place should be “at the heart of Europe” and that “we need to be close to our partners”.

9th December 2019 7:13pm

Charles Shaw – Liberal Party

9th December 2019 7:13pm

Karl McCartney – Conservative Party

9th December 2019 7:13pm

Brexit Party candidate, Reece Wilkes, is up next.

He says that he is “deeply concerned” that the result of the 2016 EU Referendum has not been delivered.

9th December 2019 7:15pm

First question: How can the UK remain competitive after Brexit?

Mr McCartney answers first. He says we will continue to trade with the EU, but we will continue to trade with the rest of the world.

9th December 2019 7:17pm

Caroline Kenyon – Liberal Democrats 

9th December 2019 7:17pm

Mr Whiting raises the issue of the Conservative Party’s campaign slogan “Get Brexit Done”.

He points out that the withdrawal agreement is a “small part” of the process.


9th December 2019 7:17pm

Reece Wilkes – Brexit Party

9th December 2019 7:20pm

Karen Lee up next to answer.

She says Labour will offer a second referendum and that she has been “around businesses in Lincoln” to speak about Brexit.

Reece Wilkes says that the Brexit Party is in favour of a “Canada style deal”.

9th December 2019 7:23pm

Liberal Democrat, Caroline Kenyon, says that Boris Johnson’s deal “sold the DUP down the river” and that the problem “lies here not with the EU”.

Mr Whiting asks about the Liberal Democrats policy to revoke Article 50.

She says that people should be given another say on the issue.

9th December 2019 7:24pm

9th December 2019 7:25pm

Liberal candidate, Charles Shaw, is up next to answer – he’s decided to get on his feet.

He says that the people should be given the treaties to read that ties the UK with the European Union.

9th December 2019 7:28pm

Mr Bradley, Independent candidate, says he “cannot ignore” the vote to leave the EU.

“Quite honestly, the negotiations have been really poor,” he says. “I think from now there should be all party negotiations, it’s that serious of a situation.”

He throws in a comparison to a 100m hurdles race for good measure.

9th December 2019 7:28pm

A Remain voter from the audience used Liberal Democrat Caroline Kenyon’s example of setting up a business in America to demonstrate that trade deals ‘aren’t necessary to make a business work’.

“I would vote Remain again”, he added. “But I respect the outcome of the referendum”.

9th December 2019 7:29pm

Ms Horscroft, Green candidate, is the final person to answer.

She says that the UK has trade deals with other countries within the EU and that leaving will bring “years and years” of negotiations.

9th December 2019 7:30pm

Second question: How can you relieve pressure on Lincoln County Hospital?

Ms Lee answers first – begins by pointing out that she worked their for 14 years.

“How can you relieve pressure? With proper investment,” she says.

9th December 2019 7:32pm

Let’s see what some of our online audiences are saying:

9th December 2019 7:33pm

Mr McCartney is next.

He says he helped all the medical services in the city during his time as MP, not just Lincoln County Hospital.

He adds that he supported a new medical school in the city.

Liberal Democrat, Mrs Kenyon, says the party has a ring fenced funding as part of its manifesto.

9th December 2019 7:35pm

Ms Horscroft says that reducing air pollution could help to relieve pressure. She explains by saying that spikes in pollution increases the amount of admissions for such things as heart attacks.

Mr Wilkes says that the best way to reduce pressure is to have 24 hour GP access. Mr Whiting asks where the doctors are going to come from?

Mr Wilkes responds by saying we are “stealing doctors from other countries” and that “we should be investing in our own”.

9th December 2019 7:37pm

Mr Shaw is up next and he is on his feet again.

He says that we should have “community GPs” and questions the way the NHS is run.

Mr Bradley says that the morale of the health service has been “wrecked over time”.

He says that “government is often short-termism” and that there is no long term planning.

9th December 2019 7:42pm

Mr Whiting asks whether the candidates would support extra tax to support the health service, perhaps an extra 1%.

Mr McCartney answers that he is against raising tax and that he supports a “smaller state”. He adds that the country needs a “strong economy” to support the NHS.

Ms Lee says Labour would take tax off the top 5% in order to support the health service and other public services. Mr Whiting asks whether that tax hike would help to pay for the WASPI women.

Ms Lees says that the party’s manifesto is costed.

9th December 2019 7:44pm

“Hands up if you earn more than 80k a year?” challenges Karen Lee, on the topic of funding the NHS. 

Labour is promising to tax those earning the highest salaries. 

Karl McCartney says he does not support more taxes at all. 

9th December 2019 7:44pm

Labour councillor, Chris Burke, raises the leaked documents that Jeremy Corbyn revealed about a meeting between the UK government and the United States over the health service.

Mr McCartney questions where the documents came from.

9th December 2019 7:45pm

An audience member asks: “It seems no one is being honest about the NHS with the electorate. It’s got to be funded through taxation or borrowing. How will that work with the current national debt?” 

9th December 2019 7:51pm

Laughter from the audience as Karl McCartney endorses Boris Johnson. “He’s doing just what he said he would”.

9th December 2019 7:51pm

Third question: How do you plan to tackle the problem of rough sleeping in the city, especially in relation to drug abuse?

Mr McCartney says it has been an “issue for a long time”. Audience members say the problem is “getting worse”.

Mr McCartney says he will continue to work with agencies, such as NOMAD and the YMCA, in order to reduce it.

9th December 2019 7:54pm

Ms Lee says she went out on the streets at 5am when she became MP in 2017 and found 40 people who were sleeping rough.

She says she helped to introduce the intervention team which now operates in the city centre.

But, she says “there is an awful lot more to do”.

9th December 2019 7:55pm

Audience member, who lives on the Bailgate, says she “hates to walk down the street and see these poor souls”.

She adds that it has got worse in the 24 years that she has been in Lincoln.

She says that she sees people in doorways “covered in their own vomit”.

9th December 2019 7:56pm

An emotive story from a Lincoln Bailgate worker, who’s experienced people lining doorways ‘covered in their own vomit’. 

9th December 2019 7:57pm

Brexit Party’s Reece Wilkes says “I know a lot about this”, revealing he was homeless at the age of 17.

9th December 2019 7:58pm

Mrs Kenyon says that people need to be treated “further back in the process” before they become homeless.

Mr Wilkes says that he was homeless when he was 17. He says that homeless people “get fobbed off” and they “get treated like trash”. He thinks there should be more accommodation.

“Being homeless does change your view on even looking at a house, it really does,” he says.

9th December 2019 8:02pm

Quick fire round now (very exciting).

This requires quick fire answers from candidates.

First question: What would be your top priority?

Lee: Climate change

McCartney: Brexit

Kenyon: Stay at the heart of EU.

Horscroft: Climate change

Wilkes: Brexit

Bradley: People’s forum to address problems

Shaw: Lincoln unitary authority.

9th December 2019 8:04pm

Second question: How would you tackle traffic congestion and parking issues?

Horscroft: Improve public transport

Kenyon: Improve public transport

Lee: Park and ride, better cycle lane access, affordable public transport

McCartney: Park and ride

Shaw: Public transport – he also calls for council workers to “set an example”

Bradley: Fitness and health strategy

Wilkes: Walking, electric buses

9th December 2019 8:06pm

On social media, the subject of homelessness sparked a debate of its own:

9th December 2019 8:09pm

Third question: Given the deadlock in Parliament, do you believe the current electoral system should be changed?

McCartney: No

Lee: No, but should look a proportional representation

Kenyon: Yes

Horscroft: Yes

Bradley: Party political system is not fit for purpose (so, that’s a yes then)

Wilkes: Yes

Shaw: No

9th December 2019 8:11pm

Next ordinary question (not quick fire): If elected what would you do to help young people and children in poverty?

Questioner adds whether they will meet with him on the issue as he works in a youth centre.

Ms Lee says: “Bring back Sure Start centres”.

She says that youth centres and local government funding has been slashed. She adds that she would meet with the questioner, who is called Luke.

Mr McCartney says he would meet with Luke and “any other people” in that line of work to help.

9th December 2019 8:12pm

Another question from the audience: “How will you make life better for children and young people living in poverty?”

9th December 2019 8:16pm

Audience member, who is a teacher, says that the cuts in education is “failing our children”. She takes a swipe at Mr McCartney and says he “is deluded”. She takes issue with his comment on having a “great education system”.

Mr McCartney says: “We do have a good education system in this country and I’m not going to talk our country down.”

9th December 2019 8:18pm

Another audience member takes issue with Jeremy Corbyn “promising everything”.

Ms Lee says that the Conservatives often find “the magic money tree” and says Labour will pay for its manifesto by taxing the rich.

9th December 2019 8:20pm

Ms Lee is now asked whether Labour is performing well enough with Jeremy Corbyn given its position in the polls.

“Let’s see the result on Thursday,” she says. “I wasn’t predicted to win Lincoln last time, but I did.”

9th December 2019 8:23pm

Audience member, who is a teacher in a primary school, says that teachers are raising safeguarding issues. He says he has “so many sleepless nights” over children who have issues at home.

He asks whether Mr McCartney has those sleepless nights.

Mr McCartney says he had sleepless nights over that and “all sorts of other issues” that people raised with him.

9th December 2019 8:29pm

Final question: Climate change will have an immense impact in Lincolnshire, what are you specifically promising to do to prevent the climate crisis getting even worse?

Ms Horscroft says its a “huge problem” and has to be the “most urgent thing”. She says that emissions need to be reduced and the effects of climate change need to be tackled.

Mr McCartney says he will ensure that the county will have access to funding for such things as flood defences.

Ms Lee says houses should be built that are sustainable, brings up park and ride too.

Mrs Kenyon says £100 billion over the lifetime of the next parliament should be put in to tackle the climate emergency.


9th December 2019 8:42pm

Closing remarks now:

Ms Lee says the election is not all about Brexit and is about what people want to see Lincoln look like in the future.

Mr Bradley says a vote for him is for “people not politics”.

Ms Horscroft says that climate change needs to be tackled as “we are living through a climate emergency”.

Mr Shaw, who is on his feet again, says that people should decide “how much of this rings fair and true to what you know”.

Mr McCartney says he has a “positive vision for Lincoln” and adds that he delivered on his promises last time he was MP.

Mrs Kenyon says the country needs to be “outward looking” and “inclusive”.

Mr Wilkes says Brexit is “now what value we place on democracy”. He adds that the issue has been frustrated in the last three years.

9th December 2019 8:47pm

That concludes our 2019 Lincoln Debate. 

Thanks to all candidates for taking part in the hustings, and to our fantastic audience, both here at The Lawn and those watching and listening at home. 

You can watch the debate in full via the video link above.

You’ll also be able to catch up with the highlights, as well and candidates’ reactions and the audience’s verdict on The Lincolnite soon.