Voters question election candidates at Heacham hustings

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Voters have had their first chance to grill candidates seeking their vote in next month’s general election.

More than 70 residents attended a hustings event held at St Mary’s Church, Heacham, on Monday evening.

The panel featured all five candidates who are contesting the North West Norfolk constituency – Sir Henry Bellingham for the Conservatives, Michael de Whalley for the Green Party, Rupert Moss-Eccardt for the Liberal Democrats, Labour’s Jo Rust and UKIP’s Michael Stone.

Chaired jointly by the Rector of St Mary’s, Rev Veronica Wilson, with Rev Steve Oliver from the Methodist Church, the event featured an opening statement from each candidate before questions were answered by the panel.

Questions had been submitted in advance and those that were on the same subject had been amalgamated by the organisers prior to the meeting.

Six questions were answered by the panel about Foodbanks, refugees and foreign aid, pensions, young people, education and the single market.

A closing statement from each candidate wrapped up the formal part of the evening, before refreshments were served and the audience had the opportunity to talk to the candidates informally.

Rev Wilson said: “It was a privilege to host this very informative evening; people spoke honestly with courtesy and grace.”

Rev Oliver added: “It was a good evening with excellent questions.

“At times the answers did not always fulfil expectations but in the end it was a worthwhile event.”