Tiverton and Honiton constituency: Candidates discuss the issues

Picture credit: Ministry of Defence/PA Wire

Picture credit: Ministry of Defence/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Five candidates for Tiverton and Honiton have been answering questions at various hustings events.

Paul Edwards (Green)

Paul Edwards (Green) - Credit: Archant

As the General Election on May 7 approaches, the five candidates for Tiverton and Honiton have been answering questions at various hustings events.

One such event was at Honiton’s Beehive Centre, organised by Devon Senior Voice. The candidates were quizzed about whether they lived in the constituency, what they had done for the people of Tiverton and Honiton, their views on social housing, changes in social and health-care facilities and the state pension.

They were also asked whether Trident nuclear weapons should be replaced, at an estimated cost of £100billion.

Paul Edwards (Green Party) said that the Greens would not replace Trident.

Stephen Kearney (Lib Dem)

Stephen Kearney (Lib Dem) - Credit: Archant

“The money could be better spent elsewhere,” he said. “The Green Party isn’t just talking about the money. It’s also talking about the obscenity of even contemplating using nuclear weapons.”

Stephen Kearney (Lib Dem) said that while he was against nuclear weapons, there were issues of national defence, so the Lib Dems would replace some of Trident’s abilities, but not all. “Let’s reduce the nuclear situation that we’ve got, but let’s retain our capability”.

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Caroline Kolek (Labour) said she would like to see ‘us moving away from nuclear warheads’, but ‘in the unstable world we live in, that is an aim for the future’. She said that Labour would continue with Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

Neil Parish (Conservative) agreed that £100 billion was a ‘huge amount of money’, but said: “We cannot afford not to spend it.”

Caroline Kolek (Labour)

Caroline Kolek (Labour) - Credit: Archant

He stressed that we had to have a nuclear deterrent available at all times, ‘otherwise it is not an independent nuclear deterrent’.

Graham Smith (UKIP) was in favour of nuclear weapons, saying that UKIP would go for an upgraded Trident programme. “The word is deterrent,” he said. “That’s what it is, that’s what it should be.”

The candidates were also asked whether Britain should be in – or be out – of Europe.

Paul Edwards (Green Party) said that the Greens ‘would like to see a loose confederation of European countries so that they can co-operate, but otherwise we’d like to see powers devolved down to the lowest appropriate level’.

Neil Parish MP

Neil Parish MP - Credit: Archant

Stephen Kearney (Lib Dem) wanted to stay in Europe. Coming out, he said, would see ‘Britain dead in the water. It’s drawing up the drawbridge. It will kill our great nation’.

Caroline Kolek (Labour) was also in favour of Europe. “The referendum on Europe is on May 7,” she said. “If you don’t want to leave Europe, then vote Labour.”

Neil Parish (Conservative) wanted Britain to stay in Europe, provided ‘we have repatriated enough powers from Brussels’ by 2017.

He said: “If Europe will not budge, then we should come out.”

Graham Smith (UKIP)

Graham Smith (UKIP) - Credit: Archant

Graham Smith (UKIP) wanted out.

He said: “We send a message to the rest of the world – Britain’s open for trade, we want to trade with the rest of the world, we want to trade with the EU, but we don’t want to be ruled by the EU.”