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Church hosts Election hustings

By Chris Cromar

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A General Election discussion was held at St Mary’s Church in Inverurie last night, as members of the public got to hear parties have their say.

The event was hosted by Inverurie and District Churches Together and was moderated by reverend Neil Meyer of Kintore Parish Church.

This was the first time that the churches have held this type of hustings and candidates or their respective representatives were given 30 minutes in total, where they would be asked set questions, as well as questions from the audience.

The set questions were based on four topics, Christian concerns on poverty and foodbanks, the responsibilities as a nation within a family of nations, the sustainability of promising spending to grow the economy and the tone of debate and intensity in politics.

Each candidate also got a total of two minutes each for opening and closing statements.

The first to speak was Labour Gordon candidate Heather Herbert who was asked audience questions about the Women Against State Pension Inequality movement, the oil and gas industry and Labour's global policy negotiation skills.

She was also asked questions on economic growth/nationalisation, popularity in politics and tree planting.

Up next was councillor Jim Gifford, who was representing incumbent Conservative MP, Colin Clark.

He was asked questions on helping children growing up in adversity in Aberdeenshire, education and wages.

He was also asked questions on the UK's international standing after Brexit, the possibility of a UK recession and on NHS safe staffing and funding.

James Oates, the Gordon candidate for the Liberal Democrats was at the event and was asked about zero-hour contracts, public bus funding and about carbon neutral energy sources and nuclear power.

The SNP's Gordon candidate, Councillor Richard Thomson was last to speak and was asked questions on solutions to the welfare system.

As well as this, he was asked questions on future Scottish independence and Brexit referendums respectively.

At the end of the debate, Rev. Meyer said: “I hope this has added more light than heat to the discussion.”

The following candidates are standing in the Gordon constituency:

Colin Clark (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party)

Heather Herbert (Scottish Labour Party)

James Oates (Scottish Liberal Democrats)

Richard Thomson (Scottish National Party)

The General Election takes place on Thursday, December 12 and polling takes place between 7am and 10pm.

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