BREXIT, education and housing are just three of the topics covered at last night’s general election hustings at a micropub in Stroud.
Four of the five candidates met at the Little George micropub for an intimate but passionate hustings where voters in Stroud had the opportunity to quiz the people vying to be the MP for Stroud.
David Drew (Labour), Neil Carmichael (Conservative), Sarah Lunnon (Green) and Max Wilkinson (Lib Dem) were all in attendance answering questions from people in the packed out pub.
Issues with the economy started the hustings off, specifically they discussed business and the minimum wage, David Drew took issue with the state of the economy and said: "We've been in a recession since 2008, we're now seeing a real crunch that the economy will only get worse from.”
But Neil Carmichael wants businesses to be able to grow saying: "We need to see many small businesses become slightly bigger.
"High wages yes, but link it to skills to make sure our businesses can invest."
Sarah Lunnon wants to see a raise in the minimum wage so spending can stimulate the economy: "If you increase wages across the board, people can go out and spend it."
Whereas Max Wilkinson said the Liberal Democrats will be giving small business owners incentives to help them start their business: "The Conservatives have been hoodwinking the electorate with the living wage, it’s not a living wage.
"The Liberal Democrats will give you £100 allowance a week to help you when you’re starting your business, small businesses are the bedrock of the economy."
The topic changed to schools and university funding, with the Labour Party pledging to scrap tuition fees and the Lib Dems history on the subject it made for an interesting debate.
Neil Carmichael said he doesn’t regret the vote on tuition fees, saying that it was the right thing to do to properly fund universities, however David Drew thinks it’s unrealistic to expect students to come out of university with £40,000 of debt.
Sarah Lunnon doesn’t think there should be so much focus on going to university, and that the Conservative, Labour and the Lib Dems have all made a market out of universities by bringing in and raising tuition fees.
Max Wilkinson had the tough task of defending the Lib Dem’s record on university funding, but he said "As a Lib Dem I know we don't have a great record on this, but I'm 33 when I was going to university it was Labour who screwed us by introducing fees and then trebling them"
On Brexit, Mr Wilkinson reaffirmed the Lib Dem’s position on Europe, saying that they would promise a referendum on the Brexit deal.
Sarah Lunnon agrees with the Lib Dems that there should be a second referendum to decide whether to accept the plan for Britain’s exit from the EU or to reject it and remain in the EU.
They both feel that the electorate didn’t know what they were voting for and this would give them a clear choice.
Neil Carmichael voted remain on June 23, but voted with his party in the commons vote to invoke article 50, he believes that despite Stroud voting to remain the overall vote was to leave.
He said “I’m a democrat and the will of the people needs to be respected.”
Labour’s David Drew described himself as an “old-school Eurosceptic”, but voted remain because of the way the leave campaign was run.
Other issues discussed include housing, foodbanks, and protecting greenfield land.
The event was also used for voter registration, they were offering a pint of ‘X appeal’ beer to anyone who registered.
The attendance was very good for a small venue with several dozen people at the micropub.
UKIP’s Glen Gogerly wasn’t at the event, the Little George have said previously that they “did not receive a response from the UKIP representative” when organising the event.