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TC-5524-2415

Woking News and Mail hosted Friday night’s Hustings, in the Kemp Room at the HG Wells Suite

IT WAS standing room only at the HG Wells Centre on Friday night when the News & Mail held their Any Questions? public forum.

Woking’s eight Parliamentary hopefuls battled out some lively debates as residents’ concerns were put to them by Chairman Philip Davies, before opening questions to the floor.

Housing and private landlords profiteering dominated issues on home turf.

As well as the inevitable mud-slinging and blame – particularly across the ‘big four’ parties (albeit well contained) – an element of humour was thrown into the mix.

In the debate about housing, Declan Wade, of the Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol Party, joked that he had been struggling to find a way he could bring the subject back to his party line, but added: “On a serious note, housing needs to be looked at and people should be supported.”

Worldwide issues were discussed, while closer to home a question was asked if immi-gration was to blame for overflowing schools, the housing shortage, and the NHS crisis.

Conservative Jonathan Lord (left) pointed out that a large percentage of NHS staff are in fact migrants, but added that we need to make sure people come here to work and are not allowed to claim benefits for five years.

UKIP’s Rob Burberry, who’s wife is Polish, thanked him for quoting from their party’s manifesto regarding the Australian point-based system and said that a lack of border control was to blame for the problems.

Labour’s Jill Rawling objected to the subject of immigrants being used in a political game of ping-pong, and said the fact of the problem is we have not built the schools or houses to meet demand, to which Lib Dem Chris Took agreed.

When asked if Labour have overspent, Ms Rawling replied a straight ‘Yes’, and asked how a Labour/SNP Govern-ment would affect Woking, she stated categorically: “There will not be a Labour/SNP coalition.”

Mr Lord replied with: “Pull the other one, Jill,” while Mr Burberry (right) added: “It would be the blind leading the blind.”

More in this week’s News & Mail.