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Darwen Hustings Takes Place

April 16, 2015 11:20 AM
By Sean Bonner

The people of Darwen were given the chance to question their prospective MPs last night, ahead of the general election on 7th May. The hustings meeting, which was held at the Central United Reformed Church, had a good turnout.

Standing in for Darwen Lib Dem candidate Afzal Anwar - who unfortunately had to miss the meeting due to work commitments - was Gordon Lishman, the candidate for Blackburn.

Gordon gave a measured performance as the voice of reason in between the more populist pitches from those on the Left and Right, stressing the need for a stronger defence of the European Union from those who are in favour of it, as well as dismissing the suggestion that voting should be made compulsary, saying that, as a liberal, he didn't believe it to be the role of government to dictate what people must do.

Exchanges - which were on the whole amiable - became most fraught around issues such as MPs' having second jobs, non doms and the academisation of Darwen's schools.

Sudell councillor Roy Davies asked the candidates about the possibility of buying out the PFI contracts that currently cost East Lancs hospital trust around £20m a year. Whilst the UKIP candidate admitted to not knowing the technicalities of the issue, and the Labour and Conservative candidates confessed to their parties' shared guilt over PFI, Gordon Lishman agreed that a buyout of the contracts was something that ought to be looked at seriously.