All seven Lincoln MP candidates faced an emotional and tense live audience debate hosted by The Lincolnite and BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Monday.
The #LincolnDebate, broadcast live from The Lawn, off Union Road, saw the hopefuls face a range of questions from some of the 100-strong audience, moderated by BBC Radio Lincolnshire presenter Rod Whiting.
Topics covered by those attending included topics such as the NHS, education, rough sleeping, climate change, voting reform, support for young people and the elephant in the room, Brexit.
The candidates standing in the 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
During the course of the evening Conservative MP Karl McCartney was forced to defend his party’s performance on education.
A local teacher said that cuts in education were “failing our children”, and took a swipe at Mr McCartney, calling him “deluded” when he said the country had a “great education system”.
Mr McKartney responded by saying: “We do have a good education system in this country and I’m not going to talk our country down.”
Another teacher said that he had ““so many sleepless nights” over safeguarding issues and children who have issues at home.
Homelessness, rough sleeping and drug abuse proved to be an especially emotive subject.
A member of the public, who worked on the Bailgate, said she “hated to walk down the street and see these poor souls”.
She said that it had got worse in the 24 years that she had been in Lincoln and that she often saw people in doorways “covered in their own vomit”.
Brexit Party’s Reece Wilkes said “I know a lot about this”, revealing he was homeless at the age of 17.
He said that homeless people often “get fobbed off” and “treated like trash”, adding calls for more accommodation.
“Being homeless does change your view on even looking at a house, it really does,” he said.
Candidates were also questioned on the “magic money tree” they would use to finance their plans, with one audience member accusing Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn of “promising everything”.
Ms Lee tried to reassure the audience her party’s manifesto was fully-costed, especially the element of taxing the richer members of society.
Audience members weren’t the only ones on the warpath however, with the typical accusations between Tories and Labour, while Mr Wilkes fell-out of favour with Ms Lee after accusing her of “frolicking” over Brexit.
She responded by saying she had been speaking to residents and local businesses over the uncertainty of Brexit.
She said “the last thing businesses need is tarrifs on goods,” however, Mr Wilkes disputed that would happen, blaming the “remain force” for being submissive and allowing other countries to think “they can get away with anything”.
Lib Dems’ Caroline Kenyon, also faced challenges over Brexit. One audience member, a Remain voter, used her example of starting a business in the US to ‘prove you can create successful business without trade agreements.’
SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.