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Brexit and Future Fit hot topics as candidates quizzed at Market Drayton hustings

By Aimee Jones | Market Drayton | General Election 2019 | Published:

Voters in North Shropshire had the chance to quiz the general election candidates at a hustings debate in Market Drayton.

Brexit was top of the agenda as John Adams from the Green Party, Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan, Conservative Owen Paterson and Graeme Currie from the Labour Party attempted to sway voters.

Robert Jones, from the Shropshire Party, was unable to attend.

Other topics discussed at Festival Drayton Centre included healthcare, the economy, education and climate change.

Each candidate was given 10 minutes to give a brief introduction and outline their plans for North Shropshire should they be elected.

Mrs Morgan said: "I'm new to the race. I'm a chartered accountant and moved to Shropshire a few yeas ago. I really want to take a stand for the things I value the most.

"The first reason I am standing is to stop Brexit but there are other key issues we need to address.

"The NHS at first on my list. We can all see what happens when you underfund the NHS. The Lib Dems will give the NHS the cash injection it needs and keep it safe from Donald Trump."

She also addressed a £6.7 million shortfall in education in Shropshire as well as the "awful" broadband in the county.

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Mess

Mr Currie, who has stood in the last two elections, said the Labour Party will negotiate a Brexit deal and put it back to the public.

He also stressed the need for two emergency departments in Shropshire.

"My daughter was hit by a car and she died twice in the ambulance, it was only due to the skills and experience of the paramedics who saved her that she survived," he said.

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"She went to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and I don't believe she would have made it up the M54. We have go to defend the services we have got."

He stressed that if elected he would not take up another job and would have constituency offices in Oswestry and Market Drayton.

The North Shropshire region has been represented for more than two decades after Owen Paterson was elected in 1997.

He urged the audience to vote Conservative to ensure that Brexit is delivered by January 31.

"Blair and Brown made such a mess of the economy that we have had to make severe reductions but at least we can begin to build it up again.

"My longest running campaign to dual the A5 and A483 is also at last beginning to make real progress."

Voters also heard from Mr Adams who is new to the race.

"I'm asking you to cause a bit of a political earthquake at the general election," he said.

Devastation

"If we had more MPs in parliament, that could make all the different. I feel a huge responsibility to challenge Owen Paterson who is leading us down the wrong road in a time of climate emergency."

He also said the Green Party will transform the economy, create four million new jobs by 2030 and build 100,000 zero carbon homes per year.

The second part of the hustings saw the candidates field questions from the public.

A 16-year-old member of the audience asked what will be affected most in Shropshire if the country leaves the European Union.

Mr Currie criticised Mr Paterson's stance and said it would cause "devastation" for the agricultural industry.

His thoughts were echoed by Mrs Morgan who added that the private sector would also be affected.

The increased use of foodbanks was then addressed.

Mr Currie said reducing the amount of people relying on foodbanks is at the heart of what Labour set out to do.

“We will end rough sleeping and protect pensioner incomes by providing free television licences and bus passes among other things," he said.

Mr Adams added that his party will abolish bedroom tax and offer free childcare for nine months for children up to age of four.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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