More than 200 people packed into Bourne Grammar School’s main hall on Friday last week to hear from five parliamentary candidates.
Chaired by Mark Edwards, editor of The Local, the debate took on the style of the BBC’s ‘Question Time’ in which the audience was encouraged to participate with comments or questions directed at the panel.
Answering these questions were parliamentary candidates for the Stamford and Grantham constituency, which includes Bourne: Nick Boles (Con), Marietta King (UKIP), Harrish Bisnauthsing (Lib Dem), Aidan Campbell (Green Party) and Barrie Fairbairn (Lab). Jan Hansen (Lincs Ind) is also standing but was not present.
The breadth of questions posed and issues addressed was testament to the interest that so many had taken in the event, with issues discussed ranging from food banks and the NHS to data protection and school funding.
Many of the audience were current and ex-sixth form students, who will be voting for the first time.
James McCrae, 18, said: “I felt the debate offered a good perspective on how the main national issues would affect us on a local level and it was good to see ‘the names behind the parties’ that I will be voting for on May 7.”
The Local’s sister title the Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press hosted an event on Thursday last week for five of the candidates in the South Holland and The Deepings seat.
John Hayes (Con), Matthew Mahabadi (Lab), David Parsons (UKIP), George Smid (Lib Dem) and Dan Wilshire (Green Party) answered questions from a 200-plus audience. The event was chaired by reporter Winston Brown.
There will also be a hustings event tonight for the Stamford and Grantham seat at Trinity Methodist Church in Barn Hill, Stamford, at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. It will be hosted by the Rev Canon Donald Gray.
The elections take place on May 7 for both the parliamentary seats and South Kesteven District Council.