College students quiz election hopefuls

Students at West Nottinghamshire College had the chance to quiz parliamentary candidates for Ashfield and Mansfield – considered to be two of the country’s key battlegrounds – ahead of the General Election.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 2:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 12:27 pm
Election candidates from Mansfield and Ashfield took part in the debate.
Election candidates from Mansfield and Ashfield took part in the debate.

Around 100 students on various A-level programmes packed out a lecture theatre at the Derby Road campus as audience members for a lively political debate in the style of BBC’s Question Time programme.

On the panel were Ashfield parliamentary hopefuls Lee Anderson (Conservative), Rebecca Wain (Liberal Democrat), Rose Woods (Green) and Jason Zadrozny (Independent), and Mansfield candidates Ben Bradley (Conservative), Stephen Harvey and Sid Pepper (both Independent) and Sonya Ward (Labour).

The event saw the candidates respond to a range of questions posed by politics students on topics ranging from the EU referendum and social mobility to knife crime.

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They were asked how they would vote on a Brexit deal, whether young people in Ashfield and Mansfield have to leave the area after their studies in order to secure the best employment opportunities, and what they think the causes of knife crime are and how they would tackle the problem.

Pat Swidnik, one the A-level students at the debate, said: “Some candidates proved to be better at understanding the problems and local issues than others, and this may affect my vote in the future.”

Chloe Kelly, another student at the debate, added: “Hearing what they had to say has reaffirmed some of my political views and opinions, and given me a better understanding of what they stand for.

Matt Ridgill, head of the college’s A-level department, who chaired the debate, commented: “It was great to see so many students engaged in the discussion and I was particularly proud of the politics students for posing some challenging and thought-provoking questions.”