Candidates face tough questions at Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election hustings

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The candidates who will be going head-to-head in the fiercely-contested Stoke-on-Trent by-election clashed at a hustings event.

Eight out of the 10 politicians took part in the debate at Staffordshire University, in front of an audience of around 200 people.

The university’s Professor of Journalism and Politics, Mick Temple, outlined how the by-election could pan out on February 23 if the seat is won by either Labour’s Gareth Snell or Paul Nuttall, the leader of UKIP.

He said: “We’re heading to what will be one of the most important political elections in British political history. The world is watching.”

Hosted by Martin Tideswell, editor in chief of The Sentinel, each candidate was given 60 seconds to explain why the people of Stoke-on-Trent Central should vote for them.

Many of the questions asked were aimed at the NHS and immigration.

UKIP’s Paul Nuttall, was asked about how he would better fund the NHS and replied: “I want to see £3 billion a year extra go into the NHS.

“We look at vanity projects like scrapping HS2, which is going to cost us £90 billion.”

Labour’s Gareth Snell added: “Our heath service and our public service relies heavily on Europeans coming here working hard and paying their taxes.

“I spend a lot of time speaking to nurses and health care workers and the one thing they want is some stability.”

Stoke-on-Trent Central received the highest proportion of people voting to leave the European Union.

Prime Minister Theresa May is currently workin on a plan to deliver Brexit.

David Furness, British National Party, said: “The effects of immigration on the NHS – we are taking doctors and nurses from third world countries that needs them more than we do.”

Conservative candidate Jack Brereton addressed the issue of unemployment.

He said: “It’s not just about more jobs, but it’s about skilled and paid jobs.

“Over half the jobs we have created were in the IT sector, which has shown that we are getting a better quality of jobs in this city.”

The Monster Raving Loony Party’s candidate, The Flying Brick said he had great plans for the constituency if he is elected and said: “We would bring jobs to Stoke by moving the Houses of Parliament to Stoke.”

Click on the video below for more from the hustings:

 

Due to other commitments, Independent candidates Mohammed Akram and Barbara Fielding were unable to attend the hustings event.

A full list of the candidates is as follows:

Mohammed Yaqub Akram – Independent

Dr Zulfiqar Ali – Liberal Democrats

Jack Brereton – Conservative Party

The Incredible Flying Brick – Monster Raving Loony Party

Adam Colclough – Green Party

Godfrey Davies – Christian Peoples Alliance

Barbara Fielding – Independent

David Furness – British National Party, Local People First

Paul Nuttall – UKIP

Gareth Snell – Labour Party

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