PROSPECTIVE candidates vying for the Hayes and Harlington seat thrashed it out last night (April 27) in the penultimate hustings session before polling day on May 6.
John McDonnell of the Labour Party, the Conservative's Scott Seaman-Digby and Satnam Kaur Khalsa of the Liberal Democrats took to the main stage, and the Green Party's Jessica Lee and Cliff Dixon of the English Democrats also made contributions during the evening.
Over 50 residents turned up for the debate at St Anselms Church, in Station Road, Hayes, and those in attendance were given the chance to submit questions. The politicians fired back answers on a wide range of local and national issues, including our membership to the EU, working with local businesses and faith groups in Hayes, and even assisted suicide.
Mrs Khalsa said that she would be standing for "Liberal Democrat values of fairness and equality" and stressed her party's commitment to reserving the natural environment.
John McDonnell, who has been the MP for the area since 1997, said: "This is the community of my choice. I have lived here for 35 years and it is an exciting place - there is so much to celebrate.
"There have been some fantastic achievements over the years and they haven't happened because of an MP; they've happened because we work as a community. There are real issues here but together we can always find solutions."
Mr Seaman-Digby offered to take voters on "a different journey" and said: "My politics is from the heart - for me things are back and white; if something can be done and it is good then it should be done."
The third runway was inevitably a hot topic, and firm responses from Seaman-Digby and McDonnell roused rapturous applause from the audience.
In his speech, Mr McDonnell said frankly that the government had "lied through their teeth" on the issue, and because of the potential harm it would do to the environment, it had become "a fight for the planet as well as for the local community."
Mrs Khalsa said that The Liberal Democrats, who are championing environmental policy in this election, would fight any proposals for the expansion of any airport.
The subject of the spiralling national deficit was broached, and Mr Seaman Digby drew attention to the fact that Labour were handed a golden economy in 1997.
"Thirteen years on, we are in a recession and in one of the worst financial situations of any country. We have been spending money hand over fist, not putting anything away for a rainy day, and now we find ourselves in a deep back hole.
"We need to find out where we can make the most efficient savings without impacting on those who are most vulnerable. We need to act quickly and my party is committed to doing this."
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