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Students have their say on range of hot topics

Canterbury voters grill a panel of five main English parties

MORE than 100 students heard from the representatives of England’s five main political parties debate a range of issues, from the EU to climate change. Parliamentary candidates for the Canterbury and Whitstable seat James Flanagan (Lib Dems), Jim Gascoyne (Ukip) and Stuart Jeffery (Green Party), were joined by Conservative city council candidate George Metcalfe, and Labour students vice-president Tom Maisey. The debate,at Canterbury College, was chaired by Jorge Shaft, a host on Canterbury Student Radio.

Issues

Over 90 minutes, the candidates were divided on a range of issues; Ukip’s Jim Gascoyne disagreed with most of the panel by saying that “too big a deal” was being made on climate change, compared to the high prices of renewable energy companies, and the Labour, Lib Dem and Green candidates all said Kent benefited from the UK being-part of the European Union, compared to Ukip and the Conservatives, who disagreed. The candidates agreed on a range of youth issues that played well with the audience; they all agreed that 16-year-olds should get the vote, and students should be entitled to free travel. Giving her thoughts after the debate, media student Molly Bishop-Algar 17, said:

“The debate meant the politicians had to engage with us and hear our thoughts. I thought some of were saying what they did just to appeal to young people.”

Students’ Union president Ben Gardiner, 18, commented:

“The debate surprised me. Students haven’t been too engaged with politics in the past, but we’ve been doing a lot of work to get them more interested. From the questions and the reactions, I think there is more interest than previously in politics around the college.”

Herne Bay Times, April 8th 2015

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