College students grill politicians

IRAQ, taxation, immigration and student debt. These were just some of the hot political potatoes that criss-crossed the floor of Suffolk College lecture theatre as students grilled three Ipswich politicians in a BBC Question Time style debate.

IRAQ, taxation, immigration and student debt.

These were just some of the hot political potatoes that criss-crossed the floor of Suffolk College lecture theatre as students grilled three Ipswich politicians in a BBC Question Time style debate.

Invited by the college Ipswich constituency candidates Chris Mole (Labour), Paul West (Conservative) and Richard Atkins (Liberal Democrat) ran the gauntlet of questions fired by students.

Sociology lecturer Marco Bilyk said he invited the candidates as part of the politics module of the A-level sociology course.


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Mr Bilyk took the role of broadcasting legend David Dimbleby as he introduced the panellists and chose the questioners.

He said: "It happened to coincide with a general election. The students are learning about the role of the state, political parties and the nature of democracy."

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About 50 students and staff came along to listen to and take part in the debate.

Danny Marsh, 19, is studying media and English at the college.

He said Iraq was an issue that he wanted to question the candidates about.

He added: "I am interested to listen to what they have got to say. I am leaning towards the Liberal Democrat party at the moment. I want to find out the different opinions of the parties."

Sam Jarmin, 18, said he was worried about student debt.

He added: "I want to go to university so it is an issue that affects me."

Biology lecturer Caroline Wheeler was also in the question time audience.

She said: "I do not live in the Ipswich constituency but I am interested to hear what they have to say. I think I might vote for the Liberal Democrats as the rest are awful."

Media studies student Oliver Bailey, 17, said: "I do not know much about politics. I want to learn a bit more about it."

Jessica Smith, 17, is studying A-level law. She said: "It is frustrating I cannot vote this time. If I could vote I think I might vote for the labour party. I think they have done well so far."

Do you think people should be allowed to vote at 16? Are young people bored by politics? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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