A debate is taking place at the University of Lincoln tonight featuring all seven candidates in the upcoming election.

The event is being held at the Engine Shed. Photo: University of Lincoln Students’ Union.

Those hoping to represent Lincoln following the December 12 vote will be taking part in the event being held at the Engine Shed.

It follows a similar event at Bishop Grosseteste University.

The event is expected to get underway at 6pm, and you can follow the event live here in our live blog below from 5:45pm.

8:04pm

Karl says: “If I’d have been an MP I’d have backed Boris as leader. He’s re-energised politics, it’s been boring and stale, he is our Prime Minister.”

On his voting record he says: “Finances in our country were in a parlous state and you have to make decision on what to do, our policies have led to more people in work.”

At this claim, there are cries of “rubbish” from the audience to which he responds “it’s not rubbish it’s fact.”

8:10pm

Following final statements from all candidates, tonight’s debate has now been wrapped-up. Thanks for following our coverage and keep following our website in the coming days as we publish interviews with all of the candidates here tonight.

8:00pm

A questioner asks how Karl can accept Boris as leader given his comments on Muslim women looking like letterboxed. Other questions for Karl include how he can justify voting against increasing benefits.

7:54pm

On social media, Rob Bradley says some of the things he sees on social media is “shocking” and that everyone should have the protections that MPs have.

Caroline Kenyon said: “GDPR in the EU is the gold standard of data protection globally, as a little country we’re going to be far less able to regulate these countries outside of the EU.”

Charles Shaw says: “China’s been very good dealing with global companies and it’s up to us as our own country to take steps. If I’m on any media I am completely identifiable, although I don’t tweet.”

Sally says: “Those who know me will tell you that I know very little about technology, but my policy is that if I wouldn’t say it to your face I wouldn’t say it.”

Reece says: “You do get trolls online because they’re cowards and can’t say it to your face – I’ve been accused of homophobia and I’m gay so how ridicolous is that.”

7:52pm

On social issues, Karl McCartney says that the Conservatives have “looked after the NHS” and that Labour “wasted money away” on PFI deals in the NHS.

On social media, he says: “Re-tweets aren’t endorsements, I’ve re-tweeted Karen Lee and what she’s said about Chris Williamson, I’ve re-tweeted a former SU President who claimed that Karen Lee had called students a disease.”

Karen responds: “Mr McCartney has made this spurious claim but it has to stop it is simply, absolutely untrue and I’ve spoken to Labor party lawyers about it.”

7:51pm

Karen Lee refutes the claim that she doesn’t reply to e-mails. She says: “If nothing is replied it means it hasn’t got through and you’d think if that was the case they’d ring up.”

On social media, Karen says: “I get some really nasty stuff, I think in public life you have to have really high standards in terms of what you tweet and re-tweet.”

7:50pm

Questions for all candidates include social media. A question for Karl McCartney asks what he’ll do about social issues in Lincoln. A question for Karen Lee claims that she doesn’t reply to e-mails from disabled people asking for help.

7: 48pm

Questions for Karl McCartney include his expenses whilst in office that saw him allegedly pay his wife as an office manager on an above-average salary, his voting record on LGBT+ rights, and a request for a commitment that he will undertake no private work whilst MP and that all his work will be as Lincoln’s MP.

On his voting record, he says he stands by his public voting record but says “that record is a long time ago and people have moved on and I’ve moved on.”

On his expenses: “I don’t think you’re claims would stand up in an interview and I don’t think you possess the mathematical skills.

“I don’t think I could find anyone else other than my wife who would spend a Sunday evening with me going through e-mails after putting our kids have gone to bed.

“I think my expenses stand up very well against your current Labour MP, if you want to look at value for money you get better value for money with a Conservative MP.”

A member of the audience heckles Karl and Karl says: “You’ve already interrupted another answer, I’m trying to answer questions.”

On the commitment not to undertake private work, he says: “I can’t gurantee that on day one I won’t have work for others to finish off.”

7:41pm

Questions for the Brexit Party’s Reece Wilkes include why they want to abolish the House of Lords when it is “unique across the world in its level of expertise”, solutions they have to make ethnic minorities feel included in Lincoln and why people should vote for him when he “copy and pastes what Nigel Farage says.”

On the House of Lords, Reece says that “expertise doesn’t mean they’re accountable” and that elected politicans can consult with experts. He says “these people are so detatched from reality” and that there are “very little ethnic minorities in the House of Lords.”

On copy and pasting Nigel Farage, Reece says that he is the leader of the party so he doesn’t disagree with anything he says.

On ethnic minorities, Reece says Lincoln doesn’t have many ethnic minorities compared to cities like Birmingham. Reece says he “has a friend who would be classed as an ethnic minority” – receiving laughter and applause from some members of the audience. On that, Reece says “everyone who clapped then should be ashamed of themselves.”

He then claims tonight’s audience is “overwhelmingly pro-Labour” and that it’s a “biased audience.”

Reece says that Corbyn doesn’t deal with anti-Semitism, a Jewish member of the audience says he isn’t offended and that Corbyn has been fighting with racism all his life, drawing the biggest audience applasue yet.

7:33pm

On their Article 50 policy, Caroline says that the party has tried 17 times to bring a People’s Vote to the House of Commons, and describes having this election as a proxy referendum adding that if they got into power, they would have a mandate to stop Brexit.

On tuition fees, she says they got things wrong in the Coalition Government and that Nick Clegg’s apology on the issue was heart-felt. She adds that it was a Labour government that first introduced tuition fees and says that the “historical context” is important.

“We have acknowledged that we made a mistake and I think that’s fairly unusual for a political party.”

On civil disturbance, Caroline says the possibility has been on her mind but that there has been “a change in the country” and that she has family members who “regret the result bitterly.”

7:27pm

Next up is questions for Caroline Kenyon, the Liberal Democrat, which include how she can justify the parties’ policy on revoking Article 50, why students should trust them on tuition fees, and whether their Article 50 policy could actually cause civil disobedience.

7:25pm

Next up are questions for the Liberal Party’s Charles Shaw, including if Brexit is the only thing he disagrees with the Liberal Democrats on.

He says: “The referendum was possibly one of the most straight-forward questions we’ve ever been asked. The intellectual consensus is that the peasents got it wrong. This country’s not divided, some people who dared to speak out have just been treated in an apalling way.

“There are lots of things that we disagree with the Liberal Democrats on like the voting system where parties select local candidates in central office, sometimes flying people in with no local connections.”

7:20pm

Sally blames the Green Party’s inability to cut through on the “right-wing media saying that climate change is a load of rubbish.”

On the referendum, Sally clarifies that the Green Party’s position would be to have a choice between a deal and remain, or no deal and remain if a deal hasn’t been negotiated.

On plans to get people out cars, Sally says that the Green Party would improve public transport and make it cheaper than driving a car.

7:17pm

Next up are questions for the Green Party’s candidate, which include how you can hold a referendum with three options, plans to entice people out of their cars and why the Green Party’s message on the climate can’t cut through scepticism.

7:15pm

On the anti-Semitism claims, Karen Lee says: “I apologise unreservedly for the hurt that’s been caused to the Jewish community and our party has been too slow in dealing with it. But I’m not an anti-Semite and neither is Jeremy Corbyn.”

On chances of a Labour victory, Karen says that nationally, the only poll that matters is the one on the day and that she’s confident of a victory in Lincoln.

On Brexit, Karen says that Labour is the only party that can “bring the country together” by “listening to both sides.”

On taxation, Karen says: “I think the Tory manifesto has been written on the back of a fag packet but our manifesto is costed and 161 economists say that Labour’s manifesto does add up.”

7:11pm

Next up are questions for Labour’s Karen Lee. Questions include whether Labour is confident of victory with polls saying the opposite, whether “neutral leader” is an oxymoron and whether Labour’s policies would increase taxes for low-income people.”

7:08pm

Rob says, in terms of splitting the vote, that he doesn’t believe in the party system and that people should stand for what they believe personally.

He says difficulties faced by other local candidates at the ballot box is not his concern. He says that democracy means having the opportunity to put your own point across.

In terms of voting on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, he says he would be a messanger for the people, and says he wouldn’t have the right to contradict the 2016 vote to Leave in Lincoln. He adds that the way the referendum wasn’t set up correctly and that Theresa May’s negotiating process was “abysmal.”

7:00pm

Questions are now being taken, starting with questions for the independent candidate for Rob Bradley. The questions are how he would vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and if it’s wise to split the vote in a marginal seat.

6:50pm

There will now be a short intermission of five minutes.

6:49pm

Next up is the independent candidate Rob Bradley.

He says: “Our system of government is snail-paced when it needs to act quickly. Brexit is an extreme example of how the system doesn’t work.

“From day one all parties should have got round the table, such is the seriousness of the situation, but instead we’ve had squabbling and it’s made our system a laughing stock.

“Good governance is about accountability and transparency. It means answering questions head-on and honestly. A vote for me will mean that you’ll be represented by a person free from any other influences.

“I will set up a people’s forum of good local people who have no political connections. We’ll agree what’s best on all the opportunities and challenges.

“A vote for me is a protest vote, let’s let Lincoln tell the country that we want better, but a vote for me is not a wasted vote.”

6:44pm

Karen Lee is up next standing for the Labour Party.

She says: “As Lincoln’s MP I campaigned to save the walk-in centre, RAF Scampton and I’m still campaigning against the re-location of the Red Arrows and the closure of the Usher Gallery.

“We need an inclusive vision for the future that brings people together to tackle the climate emergency.

“Lincoln is regularly grid-locked and a park and ride scheme would reduce the amount of cars coming into our city.

“Homelessness has risen under the Tory Government and it’s clear to see here on the streets of Lincoln.

“Compassion will be at the heart of a Labour government and we’ll end homelessness within five years.

“I will make sure that Lincoln is a compassionate place where community prospers.”

6:38pm

Next up is Sally Horscroft, the Green Party’s candidate.

She says: “At it’s heart, the Green Party stands for two things: a healthy environment and social equality.

“But I’m standing because I’m angry. I’m angry about the rise in hate speech and bigotry. I’m angry about the policies which have led to rising homelessness. I’m angry about the rise in food banks.

“Our policies include a universal basic income. We would roll back the privatisation of the NHS. We would scrap tuition fees.

“Politicians must be honest with you, none of it matters if we don’t tackle climate change.

“Climate science has told us for decades that if we don’t act now, our future will be very different.”

6:33pm

Next up is Charles Shaw, representing the Liberal Party.

He says: “I think a comment like ripping ourselves from the richest trading bloc says a lot about what other parties’ policies are about.

“The Liberal Party puts freedom first. It puts the importance of people being able to have different views but work together first.

“The NHS is a large monolith which we haven’t got control of with people at the coal-face suffering and those at the top getting huge salaries for re-arranging desks and meetings.

“We’ve a problem in the way we’re running the world – but we’ll put freedom first.”

6:27pm

Next up is the Liberal Democrats’ Caroline Kenyon.

She says: “I joined the Liberal Democrats with one goal – to represent this wonderful city of Lincoln and stop Brexit.

“We live in a country which is the most unequal in the Western world after America.

“We have eight food banks in this little city.

“And what are we doing? We are ripping ourselves from the world’s biggest trading bloc.

“We as Liberal Democrats offer you something fresh and different. Boris Johnson is a man steeped in the illegalities of the Leave campaign. In terms of Jeremy Corbyn, you can only look at the mis-management of his party in regards to the claims of anti-Semitism.”

6:22pm

The Brexit Party’s Reece Wilkes is up next.

He says: “Our party’s contract with the people is deliverable, unlike all of the other parties’ manifestos.

“We all know that manifesto is a dirty word. Our policies include the abolition of the House of Lords which, lets be honest, is just a bunch of pompous old men.

“We will scrap interest loans, students are constantly trying to wriggle out of debt – it’s like quicksand.

“We will also scrap the BBC licence fee – which is a lot of money for people to be paying to a corporation which isn’t really delivering services for the 21st Century.

“In terms of universities, we want to champion freedom of speech.

“When I was 17 I used to be homeless – and I’ve always said that it’s more than just a building – you need to have something which provides security.”

6:17pm

Karl McCartney is the first to give his five-minute speech. He explains that he was late because of a train accident. He says: “I’ve fought for various things for this university.

“The new medical school won’t only help the university but also health services across Lincolnshire.

“I also helped Bishop Grosseteste University to become a university, I don’t know whether I’m allowed to mention them here.

“There’s lots of things I wanna talk about like park and ride, the western growth corridor, and those are things that I’ve always been passionate about.

“Brexit hasn’t been delivered – that’s why we’re having this election. We need to get it done and move on to the domestic agenda.”

6:12pm

The format for the evening is as follows: Each candidate will get five minutes to give a speech, followed by an interval. There will then be individual questions put to each candidate.

6:10pm

SU President Cassie Coakley has opened proceedings and welcomed the chair of the SU to the stage, who will be running tonight’s event.

6:08pm

Karl McCartney how now arrived and all candidates are on stage.

5:58pm

All the candidates are now on stage ready to debate, but there is currently no sign of the Conservative candidate Karl McCartney.