Prospective parliamentary candidates for Lincolnshire gathered at the Lincoln Drill Hall on Monday, March 15th, for a local version of BBC’s Question Time, hosted by Siren FM. The candidates answered questions from members of the audience, with topics ranging from climate change, the NHS, and a pay-as-you-drive scheme in the county.
Those who are already members of Parliament, such as Gillian Merron, were unable to attend because they had a three line whip vote in the House of Commons.
In attendance was Karl McCartney, prospective candidate for the Conservatives in Lincoln, Patrick Mountain, prospective candidate for Labour in Louth and Horncastle, and Marianne Overton, an Independent candidate for Sleaford and North Hykeham. To provide balance, Professor Brian Winston of the University of Lincoln was also on the panel.
One of the most controversial topics discussed was higher education. Patrick Mountain said: “We have to ensure that the current generation have education and opportunities,” yet he conceded that there is “some cynicism” about how many people go to university.
In response, Karl McCartney said: “[It’s] terribly difficult for young people nowadays… [Labour government] saw it as an easy way to keep people off the dole queue. People do not need a degree to drive a tractor. Not the way forward.”
Marianne Overton said: “Would like to see free university education, but it’s difficult with problems of funding.” The most popular opinion expressed by the panel was that of Professor Brian Winston: “What can be more important?”
The candidates also spoke of the impact of small businesses in Lincolnshire, where Karl McCartney opined on the importance of the University of Lincoln to the economy: “The university has done a great deal, critical mass created by graduates from students.”
Andrew David, who chaired the event, said: “I thought it went unbelievably well. [I was] very sensitive to the audience… there was very little twitching, and the audience really engaged in the process.”Tweet