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Online hustings: Islington candidates quizzed by voters

PUBLISHED: 08:18 29 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:18 29 April 2015

Candidates for Islington North stand behind hustings chair Richard Rieser as the get ready to be grilled by the audience

Candidates for Islington North stand behind hustings chair Richard Rieser as the get ready to be grilled by the audience

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Parliamentary hopefuls from both constituencies go head to head on the NHS, knife crime and pollution

Charlie Kiss, Green candidate for Islington South and FinsburyCharlie Kiss, Green candidate for Islington South and Finsbury

Curious voters fired questions at Islington’s parliamentary candidates on Monday in our ground-breaking online hustings.

The prospective MPs logged in for a live chat in which they were peppered with questions on issues ranging from the NHS to knife crime.

In the Islington North forum, Conservative candidate Alex Burghart defended the government’s record on crime when Lib Dem hopeful Julian Gregory attributed knife crime to Boris Johnson’s cuts to the police.

Mr Burghart said: “Crime has fallen in London under Boris – so he’s obviously doing something right.”

Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and FinsburyEmily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury

The Tory candidate pointed out that crime in Islington had fallen by seven per cent under the current government, although figures do show that crime is up six per cent this year compared with the previous 12 months. On the same topic Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn criticised UKIP’s plans to relax gun laws.

A question put to candidates for Islington South and Finsbury asked whether they were against NHS services being run by private companies.

Dr Mark Lim of the Conservative party defended the tenure process saying: “In reality, about two-thirds of tenders have been won by NHS providers on a fair-and-square basis, so privatisation has been about 1.6pc under this government.”

But Labour hopeful Emily Thornberry accused the coalition government of bringing “competition into the heart of the NHS” saying it “flies in the face of the central ethos of the NHS, which is collaboration and cooperation”.

Mark Lim and Alex Burghart - PPC for Islington South and Islington NorthMark Lim and Alex Burghart - PPC for Islington South and Islington North

The Green Party’s Charlie Kiss said that his party would “go further and reverse the marketisation within the NHS.

When asked how they would keep Tech City thriving Ms Thornberry brought up the notoriously slow broadband in the area, saying she would put pressure on current provider BT to improve or “get out of the way”.

Mr Kiss said his party would reduce corporation tax and Dr Lim said competition was key.

Islington North candidates were asked what they would do about the horrendous pollution at Highbury Corner.

Long time campaigner on the topic, Caroline Russell called the pollution a scandal, saying: “Wherever people live they should have access to effective, affordable public transport and safe walking and cycling routes to reduce the need to use a car.”

UKIP candidate Greg Clough said that he hoped the redesign of Highbury Corner would help lower pollution, posting: “If we can keep things moving then that will have an immediate impact.”

Socialist candidate Bill Martin suggested that “removing the market system and it’s relentless drives to save labour would allow us to plan our urban environment and projects in a more pleasant way,” while Mr Gregory said we need “new legal duties requiring them [councils] to meet air quality targets, including those that come from the EU.”

Mr Corbyn said things had improved in the last 10 years but that more space was needed for people, buses and bikes.

Follow link to Islington South forum here.

Follow link to Islington North forum here.


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