The parliamentary candidates for the Louth and Horncastle constituency faced voters at a fiery hustings event in Louth last Wednesday (April 22).
Rev Canon Alan Robson chaired the event at the Methodist Church Hall in Nichol Hill, which was almost filled to capacity by an audience of enthusiastic residents and supporters.
Six of the seven candidates for our constituency were in attendance on the night, but Lib Dem Lisa Gabriel was unable to attend.
The first question put to the candidates was a simple one: why should we elect you?
Daniel Simpson (Lincs Independent) told the audience that he has lived and worked here for the best part of 40 years, with experience on district and parish councils.
He added that our area had been “short changed”, and he would provide “a Lincolnshire identity in Parliament”.
This area has had the same MP for 40 years - what difference has it made voting for the same party?Matt Brown
Romy Rayner (Greens) also highlighted her lifelong residency here, and said that her party represented “a real genuine alternative”, which could provide an “equitable, fairer and more sustainable society”.
Matt Brown (Labour) said he was “Lincolnshire born and proud”, and he would focus on jobs, investment and growth.
He said: “This area has had the same MP for 40 years - what difference has it made voting for the same party?”
Colin Mair (UKIP) said he had worked in private industry all his life and has also been a county councillor for the last two years. He added that Lincolnshire had been “underfunded and neglected... we need to let London know that we’re here.”
Victoria Atkins (Cons) highlighted her real life experience as a wife, mum, campaigner and prosecutor, and said she wants to “restore some fairness into national life” as an active MP.
Responding to claims that she had been ‘parachuted’ into the area, she added: “I am the only candidate who has been selected by the voters of Louth and Horncastle.”
As might be expected, Peter Hill (Monster Raving Loony) got the most laughs out of the audience, but made clear that the most important thing is “to listen to the people of this constituency first”.
He added: “I’m the only OAP standing who hasn’t got a job - so I need one!”
The first question from the audience asked candidates what they thought about the global environmental movement ‘Earth Day’.
Colin Mair said: “We should try to set a good example... but at the same time we’ve got to be practical.
“Wind turbines cost so much... we could be looking at nuclear and fusion power.”
Matt Brown said he wants a sustainable, vibrant, healthy future for Earth, and said that he opposes fracking.
Victoria Atkins described the beauty of the countryside and “I don’t think we need any more wind turbines here... enough is enough.
Romy Rayner said: “If we leave an environmentally destroyed planet to [our children], I think they’re going to have far bigger questions than the question mark over the landscape and scenery.”
Peter Hill suggested having solar panels of the roofs of commercial and industrial buildings, and Daniel Simpson said: “Your consumerism is someone else’s penalty”, adding that we need to minimise our movements.
The next topic up for discussion was foreign aid, during which Labour’s Matt Brown said that his UKIP opponent’s “mask is slipping” - click here to read more.
• Pick up next week’s Leader for Part Two of our hustings report.