Search

Ipswich General Election candidates quizzed by young people at school’s Question Time-style debate

PUBLISHED: 14:25 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:35 22 May 2017

Candidates were grilled in a Question Time-style debate at Northgate Sixth Form. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Candidates were grilled in a Question Time-style debate at Northgate Sixth Form. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Archant

Ipswich’s General Election candidates faced a stern grilling from students at Northgate Sixth Form this morning in a Question Time-style debate.

Students quizzed the candidates on a range of issues. Picture: ADAM HOWLETTStudents quizzed the candidates on a range of issues. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Conservative Ben Gummer, Labour’s Sandy Martin, Lib Dem’s Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, Green Party’s Charlotte Armstrong and UKIP’s Tony Gould were quizzed in the school’s library in front of a packed audience of politically interested teenagers.

The students took the candidates to task over a wide range of issues, including crime, voting age and Brexit but it was tuition fees which led the debate.

Mr Gummer said the fees had led to an increase in the number of university places and had pushed universities to attract a broader range of people across the class spectrum while Mr Martin said Labour had made a ‘big bold promise to get rid of tuition fees altogether’.

Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett said we should stick with the current system with fees seen as a graduate tax whereas Mrs Armstrong said her party would scrap them as well as bringing in maintenance grants and bursaries. Mr Gould said universities should focus on STEM subjects and that the Government should provide subsidies to attract more students to take them.

Young voters listen to the candidates as they explain their take on the issues. Picture: ADAM HOWLETTYoung voters listen to the candidates as they explain their take on the issues. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

However, a few eyebrows were raised when the debate turned to crime after Mr Gould suggested people who carry knives on the streets are more likely to come from single parent families.

Following the debate, 17-year-old Lola Caston-Hawkes said she was from a single parent family herself and had been shocked by the comment.

“It was what you would have expected to hear in the 1950s,” she said.

Towards the end of the debate the audience were asked for a show of hands of who is eligible to vote on June 8 and then of those who had registered.

A sea of hands went up for both questions, a promising sign that young people are keen to take part and have their say on the country’s future.

Student Andrew Reynolds, 18, said: “It is so important people get a voice.

“I am glad all the candidates came in, even those who may not get votes from young people.”

Thomas Floodgate, 18, added: “This election is so vital because we were not given a say in the EU referendum. The debate was crucial in cutting through the political manifestos.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star