New Videos: Stevenage parliamentary candidates quizzed at Comet Question Time

The public got their chance to quiz Stevenage s three main parliamentary candidates at a special event last night. The Comet Question Time brought council leader and Labour candidate Sharon Taylor, Stephen McPartland of the Conservative Party and Liberal

The public got their chance to quiz Stevenage's three main parliamentary candidates at a special event last night.

The Comet Question Time brought council leader and Labour candidate Sharon Taylor, Stephen McPartland of the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Julia Davies face to face at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre.

The two-hour event saw the trio face many probing questions from the audience with the debacle over MPs expenses including those of former Labour MP Barbara Follett a hot topic as well as prospects for jobs in Stevenage and the condition of the town's streets.

Ms Taylor said: "This is a town where I grew up and I am proud to be the leader of the council.


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"We must think green when it comes to energy. If we take the wrong decisions now we will suffer for years to come. At the election I will be the local person with a track record of things local."

Stephen McPartland said: "I would try and improve people's quality of life and if I became Stevenage's MP I would treat it as a full-time job. My three priorities would be to improve the health service, fight against anti-social behaviour that is destroying the quality of life and push forward the regeneration of the town centre."

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Mrs Davies said: "There is enormous interest in this election and Stevenage would benefit from our plans to clean up politics. Stevenage needs more jobs and we can help.

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Responses to Comet Questions by Charles Vickers, English Democrat PPC for Stevenage.

Q. What would your party do if elected to reduce the national debt but protect services?

A. We would introduce the technique of zero-based budgeting (ZBB) to help prioritize expenditures. Those expenditures that are strongly related to service delivery would rank higher. Those that were not would have a low priority. Budget would be allocated, starting with the highest priority until the budget limit had been reached. Activities below this limit would be discontinued. However since ZBB allows for high value activities to be increased there will be additional employment opportunities. The budget limit would be set incorporating Labour’s target of �50 billion efficiency savings.

Q. Where should action on climate change rank amongst the priorities for the next government? What specific policies would the candidates like to see introduced to reduce local and national emissions of greenhouse gases?

A. The driving force for us for a low carbon and sustainable future is the believe that “Each generation holds the environment in trust for future generations. We should not leave them to bear the cost of our selfish and short-sighted behaviour. As such our proposals for the environment,that include renewable energy and trials of fuel-cell technology, are focused on communities, as is Stevenage, and are of a high priority.

Q. Do the new regulations for MPs and their expenses go far enough and should voters have the right to recall their member of parliament if they have been found guilty of mis-conduct.

A. We are proposing that elected representatives can be recalled for another election by their voters, on a referendum called for by at least 5% of the voters, if they fail to carry out their duties in reasonable and honest fashion.

Q. What comes first the people of Stevenage or the party line?

A. In the English Democrats the interests of the constituency comes first. We intend to devolve power over spending to a great extent to counties. In order for this to be effective counties will have an elected mayor with a cabinet and fewer councilors. Counties will have to attend to the interests of their constituents when framing their budget which will have to be approved each 6th May by the voters.

Q. Four years ago I had a stroke which has left me with severe health problems. Since becoming disabled I have become aware of how difficult it is to live as a disabled person trying to have some sort of life. Should you be elected what would you do to improve the things for the disabled people of Stevenage?

A. We will seek more means for providing greater education, training, and employment opportunities for the disabled and chronically sick. The question was asked in the context of the council having consistently failed to provide decent pavements for the mobility scooters. Someone, somewhere, in a local authority is responsible for this and local residents should be able to call this person to public meetings to account for their action or inaction.

Q. We have had the worst recession in this country for sixty years. I do not think enough has been done to encourage enterprise and business creation in Stevenage. If elected how would you help to achieve this.

A. We are proposing a referendum on leaving the EU. If this were approved, and even if it were not, we would repeal all the gold-plating of Brussels’ regulations that has been carried out by the government and would repeal some regulation in total. Since entering the EU a trade surplus with them has turned into a trade deficit of �36 billion, equivalent to exporting over 700,000 (yes hundreds of thousands!) jobs. Leaving the EU would allow us to introduce legislation to repatriate and protect English jobs and hence demand in the economy.

Q. Does the panel believe that Unite members striking at British Airways and civil servants striking over their greatly enhanced redundancy terms are out of touch with reality when many people are working reduced hours and the majority of people do not enjoy such good benefits such as final salary pension schemes and enhanced redundancy terms.

A. There is something quite wrong with strikes that affect the public in this manner being carried out to protect conditions of employment that many people have given up in order to remain in employment. This is particularly so as many of their colleagues have accepted the new terms. I would prefer to see unions in the current situation agreeing to sensible reductions in employment conditions but negotiating a significant share in any profit increases that arise because of the change.

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The British National Party Submission

Q) What would your party do if elected to reduce the national debt but protect services?

A) Stop overseas aid, saving �9.1bn; stop all further immigration, saving �8.8 billion; stop the repatriation of money to immigrants home lands, saving �4.1 billion; pull out of Europe, saving �118bn. All the figures are annual amounts and come from reputable sources.

Q) Where should action on climate change rank amongst the priorities for the next government? What specific policies would the candidates like to see introduced to reduce local and national emissions of greenhouse gases?

A) Until the scientists explain the Roman and the middle age warm periods they cannot be certain of the cause of present day warming. Global warming has been hijacked by the Labour party and Marxist sympathizers as a means of taxing the West and handing our money to Africans and Asians. Instead we should aim at limiting world population and stopping habitat destruction being far greater priorities.

Q) Do the new regulations for MPs and their expenses go far enough and should voters have the right to recall their member of parliament if they have been found guilty of mis-conduct.

A) The solution is not to try to control greedy Lab/Lib/Con MPs by stricter controls for their innate selfishness and greed will eventually find a way round them. The true answer is to vote for a party with higher ideals - a party which really cares about the British people in preference to people of alien culture and alien religion who have just walked off a plane or boat.

Q) What comes first the people of Stevenage or the party line?

A) The people of the whole country come before the citizens of just one town. It is important to vote for the right policies however big or small the party.

How can we ever remove big corrupt parties if you don’t make small parties big by giving them your vote. Now is not the time to vote the way you have always done. Now is the time for a serious rethink.

Q) Four years ago I had a stroke which has left me with severe health

problems. Since becoming disabled I have become aware of how difficult

it is to live as a disabled person trying to have some sort of life.

Should you be elected what would you do to improve the things for the

disabled people of Stevenage?

A) A balance must be struck between the creation of new generations and the maintenance of the old generation (from which most disabled people come). There is only a finite amount of money available.

Q) We have had the worst recession in this country for sixty years. I do

not think enough has been done to encourage enterprise and business

creation in Stevenage. If elected how would you help to achieve this?

A) Again this is a national problem. 92% of the jobs created by Labour over the past 13 years have gone to foreigners. There are 6 billion foreigners in the world so we can’t find them all jobs. British jobs must go to British workers.

Additionally we should apply tariffs on goods and services from countries with which we have a large import/export deficit, eg. China, India.

Taxes on jobs, such as National Insurance, are crazy and should be removed.

Q) Does the panel believe that Unite members striking at

British Airways and civil servants striking over their greatly enhanced

redundancy terms are out of touch with reality when many people are

working reduced hours and the majority of people do not enjoy such good

benefits such as final salary pension schemes and enhanced redundancy

terms.

A) The politicization of Unions must be stopped. Unions must be there solely to support the rights of workers. On disputes regarding pay or pensions an independent arbitrary body should decide on the outcome without the need for strikes.'

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