Residents quiz candidates at Hartlepool hustings

Carl Jackson for the Conservative Party, Andrew Hagon for the Liberal Democrats, Phillip Broughton for UKIP and Mike Hill for Labour at the hustings in Hartlepool.
Carl Jackson for the Conservative Party, Andrew Hagon for the Liberal Democrats, Phillip Broughton for UKIP and Mike Hill for Labour at the hustings in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool residents quizzed the candidates vying to become their next MP at a hustings in the town tonight.

All nominees in the running for the General Election took part in the debate at the Raglan Quoit Club ahead of the June 8 vote.

Mike Hill, Labour's 2017 General Election candidate.

Mike Hill, Labour's 2017 General Election candidate.

The panellists were Carl Jackson for the Conservative Party, Andrew Hagon for the Liberal Democrats, Phillip Broughton for UKIP and Mike Hill for Labour.

The event was co-hosted by campaign group 38 Degrees, alongside Hartlepool resident Michael Holt, who stood as a Green Party candidate in the 2015 election.

The party has not put forward a candidate on this occasion.

Michael Holt said: “There have been hustings held by the BBC and by the colleges, but I thought there should something going for the public of Hartlepool and I’d organised the one for the EU last year, so I put this one together."

Andy Hagon Liberal Democrat General Election 2017 candidate for Hartlepool.

Andy Hagon Liberal Democrat General Election 2017 candidate for Hartlepool.

At the free debate around 100 people turned out to question the candidates on local and national issues.

They also heard from each representative the reasons why they believe they’re best placed to become the next MP.

Carl Jackson for the Conservative Party said: "It is a question of leadership. It's a choice between two potential Prime Ministers - Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn.

"Whoever is elected will be in charge of Brexit negotiations just 11 days after the election."

Co-host Michael Holt.

Co-host Michael Holt.

Andrew Hagon for the Liberal Democrats said: "I want to give something back to Hartlepool, it's about serving the people of Hartlepool and doing the very best."

Phillip Broughton for UKIP, said: "I will be a strong voice for you in parliament."

Mike Hill for Labour said: "I am passionate about this town. I have been focusing on addressing issues that affect the town and I have been trying to look at ways to resolve some of those issues."

38 Degrees said it decided to host the hustings in Hartlepool to make sure that the short election timeline doesn’t hinder people finding out about the candidates vying for their votes.

Carl Jackson, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Hartlepool.

Carl Jackson, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Hartlepool.

On the debate Amy Lockwood, Campaigns Manager at 38 Degrees, said: “With only a few days now until voters go to the polls, it’s crucial people have the opportunity to quiz the candidates who want their votes.

"How each of us votes will impact Hartlepool as well as the rest of the UK - MPs elected to parliament will help shape everything from the way Brexit works, our economy and local services like the NHS.

"It’s important that if you’ve got a question for the candidates, you get a chance to ask it.”

Ahead of the debate those gathered had the chance to submit their questions to be put forward and afterwards many of the candidates were available for residents to speak to them.

Questioning the candidates one resident asked: "What is your experience in creating jobs and how will you help to create them in Hartlepool?"

Mr Hagon for the Liberal Democrats said he believed it was important to work with the Tees Valley. He said: "I understand the pressures that are on people.

Phillip Broughton is standing for election for UKIP in the General Election.

Phillip Broughton is standing for election for UKIP in the General Election.

"We are going to have to work more successfully with the Tees Valley."

Mr Broughton for UKIP, said his party would look to cut tax and regulations in business to help boost job growth and acknowledged the need for more doctors, nurses and police officers.

While Labour candidate Mr Hill said: "I will fight for every business in the town.

"We need to build on what we have got and we have a fantastic engineering base.

"Hartlepool is a fantastic place with lots to celebrate and get jobs in."

Mr Jackson for the Conservatives added: "We need to think what is the vision for the area and what jobs can we get here.

"I think tourism is a great opportunity and in the Conservative manifesto it promised to relocate thousands of civil service jobs away from London to other parts of the country and I want to try and grab some of those for this area."

Candidates were also questioned on their hopes for the NHS.

Mr Hill for Labour said he was campaigning for health services to stay in the town and wanted to bring back services which has left.

In response Mr Hagon for the Liberal Democrats said he also wanted to bring services back to the town.

He said: "I cannot believe that children are not born in Hartlepool and I can't believe there is no A&E."

Mr Jackson for the Conservatives said he could not promise any services would return to the town, but said he would be in a very good position to let the people know 'right at the very top' if Hartlepool needed additional support.

Mr Broughton for UKIP said his party was against privatisation of services and was in favour of locally elected health boards to make decisions approved by the people.

He said: "The way we would pay for the NHS is by cutting the foreign aid budget because we believe that charity begins at home and we have to sort out some of the problems in our own country first."