A HUSTINGS event ahead of this year’s general election was held at South Bromsgrove High School last Friday (March 20).
The event brought together all of the Parliamentary candidates for Bromsgrove – Conservative Sajid Javid, Labour’s Tom Ebbutt, Liberal Democrat Bart Ricketts, UKIP’s Stuart Cross and Green Party candidate and former Birmingham Poet Laurate Giovanni ‘Spoz’ Esposito.
The hour-long event – which saw a multitude of issues discussed – was organised by a group of students at South who said they were ‘passionate about politics’.
It was hosted by BBC Midlands Today presenter Michael Collie.
At the beginning and end of the hustings event, each of the candidates were given time to outline what they and their parties stood for.
Sitting MP Sajid Javid said: “Obviously I want as many people as possible to vote Conservative, but more important is that you vote.
“I want to live in a country that looks after everyone and works for everyone.
“It has been a privilege to be your MP for the past five years and I will be judged on my record.
“We don’t get everything right, but we have done a lot.
“It’s important we do not keep racking up debt.
“We have a long-term plan and we need to stick with it – let’s not go back to the bad old days.”
Labour’s Tom Ebbutt told those gathered: “I want to make sure everyone fulfils their potential.
“We are the party of social justice and ensuring the minimum wage, equality and opportunity for all.
“You have heard a lot of big claims, but the Labour Party is the one for the NHS and the one to address problems, such as jobs and the cost of living.
“We are also the only real alternative in Bromsgrove.”
He urged the students to go online and find out more about the parties and what each one stood for.
Bart Ricketts, from the Liberal Democrats, spoke about the role his party had played in the current coalition Government.
“We want to make sure we continue we reduce the deficit and we also want to improve the environment.”
He talked about the importance of combating climate change.
And he said: “We also want to make sure there is enough money for the NHS and to ensure we have a fairer society.”
Stuart Cross from UKIP said: “It’s important that you take an interest and look at every party and what they stand for.
“We have gone from having three per cent of vote in 2010 to winning elections.
“That is not a fluke – it has been achieved because we have listened to people.”
He spoke about the national debt and the amount of money being spent on the EU which, in his opinion, should be put into the NHS and other services, such as policing.
“That money should stay in the UK – it’s time we put Britain first.
“We want change and we need change,” he added.
Green Party candidate Spoz said: “The Green Party is the sensible party to vote for.
“We are looking for a sustainable future.
“We need to talk about caring for everyone rather than restricted numbers of people.
“I’m not going to force everyone to vote Green – it’s your decision, but we have caring policies and sensible policies.
“Just make sure you go and use your vote and have your say.
“And whatever you do – don’t vote UKIP or Tory.”
The group of students from South Bromsgrove High who organised the hustings with the candidates.