Five takeaways from Cambridgeshire election debate

Five men and two women sit round a desk with names on signs in front of them
Six of the seven candidates for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire debated issues with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Chris Mann [BBC]

The candidates for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire have been answering your questions as part of Your Voice Your Vote.

They spent 90 minutes discussing a range of subjects with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host Chris Mann.

You can watch the whole debate back here - but here are five things we learned during the debate.

1. Are the Tories preparing for defeat?

The Conservative candidate, Anthony Browne, said in his opening statement that there needed to be an effective opposition to a Labour government. Does this mean that he has accepted the Conservatives will lose the election?

He would not be the only Conservative to say something like this.

Grant Shapps has previously said something similar.

2. The environment matters

Heated debates took place between the candidates over their parties' stance on the environment.

Guy Lachlan, for Reform UK, said net zero should be abolished because of the financial cost, something to which Kathryn Fisher, the Green Party candidate, took exception. She said the cost to the planet was extortionate and suggested it did not "really matter" what the financial cost was.

Stephen Ferguson, an independent candidate, said the development of new homes and associated transport projects, such as East West Rail, would be a "strip of destruction" for nature.

3. Coton Orchard

There was some lively debate about the rights and wrongs of building a busway between Cambourne and Cambridge, known as the c2c. The proposed route would go through Coton Orchard and has been opposed by a number of groups.

Ian Sollom, the Liberal Democrat candidate, has previously raised concerns about the route in his former role as a district councillor in South Cambridgeshire. However, the other candidates took issue with the fact that Cambridgeshire County Council, which is controlled by a Liberal Democrat coalition, gave it the go ahead.

You can read more about the proposals here.

4. People are concerned about the NHS

A number of questions were submitted about the state of hospitals and dentists. Marianna Masters, the Labour Party candidate, said the party was the home of the NHS. Mr Browne said he had helped renegotiate the local contract with dentists and more dentists were now offering spaces to NHS patients.

5. Votes for 16-year-olds

The candidates were all asked if they supported votes for 16-year-olds. Mr Browne and Mr Lachlan both said "no", whilst all the others said "yes".

You can find a full list of the candidates for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire here.

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