General Election 2017: Watch as North Devon candidates speak at Georgeham hustings

North Devon's General Election candidates at the Georgeham hustings.

North Devon's General Election candidates at the Georgeham hustings. - Credit: Archant

Health, magic money trees, foxes and Trident were all topics for the North Devon General Election candidates at St George’s Church in Georgeham

North Devon’s General Election candidates were quizzed on everything from hung parliaments and tactical voting to terror attacks, education and magic money trees at a hustings in Georgeham on Friday.

St George’s Church in the village was hosting its second General Election hustings and once again the event proved popular, with around 150 people in attendance.

It was chaired by Rob Tucker, vice chairman of the parish council and each candidate had five minutes to state their position and what a vote for them would mean.

All five attended – Mark Cann (Labour), Peter Heaton-Jones (Conservative), Sir Nick Harvey (Liberal Democrat), Ricky Knight (Green Party) and Steve Crowther (UKIP).

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*** Watch excerpts from the candidates’ opening statements here ***

Then the floor was open for questions and there was a lively but intelligent debate in the style of a BBC Question Time.

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Asked what support they would give for North Devon District Hospital, all said they would fight cuts to services.

Mr Crowther said it was ‘absurd’ to imagine Exeter and Plymouth would be enough to serve North Devon, Mr Harvey said fighting cuts had been made a major part of his election campaign, while Mr Knight said he was an active member of Save Our Hospital Services.

Mr Heaton-Jones said he would do everything he could to make sure there were not cuts and Mr Cann said Labour would go one step further and halt the STP review process.

Mr Harvey was asked ‘what policies the Liberal Democrats would drop’ to form a coalition in the event of a hung parliament.

But he said: “There’s not going to be a coalition or a hung parliament.”

Mr Heaton-Jones added: “The fact that it’s legitimate to ask a question about a coalition is a good example of why every vote will count.”

Candidates were asked how they would vote on hunting if it came back on the agenda.

Mr Knight said nobody wanted it back on the agenda, Mr Cann said it was barbaric, Mr Crowther said the debate was not about controlling fox numbers, but ‘who we like and who we don’t like’.

Mr Heaton-Jones said he honestly didn’t know how he would vote until legislation was brought before Parliament but the current law was ‘barely worth the paper it was written on’.

Mr Harvey said he voted against the 2004 act because it was ‘riddled with flaws’.

*** From 6am on Thursday we will be bringing you live election coverage throughout the day and into the night with the results as they come in

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