Lincoln general election candidates debate city's issues at hustings event

Lincoln MP candidates attended a hustings on Monday, June 17
-Credit: (Image: LDRS)

Lincoln parliamentary candidates attended a hustings event on Monday, June 17, presenting their arguments for why they deserve your vote in the upcoming general election on July 4. The debate was hosted by The Showroom from the Lincolnshire YMCA on Tritton Road, featuring seven of the nine candidates and with nearly 100 attendees.

It was moderated by Jon Grubb, a seasoned newspaper journalist and editor with 25 years of experience. Tension Twisted Realities from Lincoln also gave an opportunity for the audience to take a virtual reality tour of the House of Commons.

The full list of candidates who at attended, seated from left to right, were:

  • Jamie-Lee McMillan – Reform UK

  • Sally Horscroft – Green Party

  • Charles Shaw – Liberal Party

  • Hamish Falconer – Labour Party

  • Linda Richardson – Workers Party of Britain

  • Karl McCartney – Conservative Party

  • Clare Smalley – Liberal Democrats

Independent candidate Laura Ashby was unable to attend due to work commitments, and Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Craig Marshall declined to attend as the party has decided against campaigning locally due to its small size, instead focusing on standing 100 candidates across the country to secure a party election broadcast.

Before the event kicked off, protesters campaigning for a ceasefire in Gaza lined the entrance to the building, hoping to catch the attention of Lincoln’s next MP. They shouted chants such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The hustings event kicked off at 7pm, with each candidate taking 45 seconds to introduce themselves and explain their main pledges, and renowned journalist and former Lincolnshire Echo Editor Jon Grubb hosting the main event.

Reform UK’s Jamie-Lee McMillan outlined how his party would “increase your personal allowance” with cuts and tax reductions, while the Green Party’s Sally Horscroft detailed her disgust at how the ongoing cost of living crisis and “years of austerity” had led to people choosing between eating or heating their homes.

Charles Shaw of the Liberal Party went on to champion “freedom of the individual,” while Labour’s Hamish Falconer insisted that the cost of living and the NHS are at the forefront of people’s minds in this election, claiming he was “the only one on this stage” who could deliver change come July 4.

Linda Richardson of the Workers Party maintained that she was not a “career politician” and was “sick of two-party politics.” Conservative candidate Karl McCartney highlighted his “proud record” in Lincoln, having been first elected as MP in 2010, and cited transport funding and road improvements.

Lastly, Clare Smalley of the Liberal Democrats argued that the city deserved better representation both in City Hall and in Westminster.

The first audience question of the night came from Victoria Araj, 37, a Palestinian woman living in Lincoln. She called for an end to the “onslaught of the Palestinian people,” prompting Reform candidate Jamie-Lee McMillan to say that the party condemns all loss of life on both sides but does not want to get involved in other people’s wars.

Sally Horscroft from the Green Party took a different stance, noting that her party had been calling for a ceasefire from “day one.”

The Liberal Party’s Charles Shaw insisted that “armaments around the world are out of control” and stated that they are not the way to solve global issues. Hamish Falconer from the Labour Party also acknowledged that “terrible blood has been shed,” and referred to a Labour Party policy of “ceasefire now and a two-state solution.” He noted that the key will be to get both sides of the conflict to begin peace talks, but admitted it will be difficult.

Linda Richardson from the Workers Party noted that the conflict in Gaza was at the top of the agenda and insisted that inaction by the Tory government was a “shame to our society.”

Conservative candidate Karl McCartney simply stated that all hostages must be returned to Israel. Meanwhile, Clare Smalley from the Liberal Democrats called for a ceasefire “as soon as possible.”

Ms Araj later left the building, along with another member of the Lincoln Trade Unionist and Socialist Party (TUSC), for interrupting the event by chanting “Free, free Palestine.” They continued their protest outside The Showroom, using a megaphone to try and disrupt the proceedings.

The final question of the night, from Mr Brown, revolved around how candidates would restore trust in politicians, particularly after such scandals as Partygate. Clare Smalley from the Liberal Democrats admitted she is “not really a politician, but someone who wants to fight for Lincoln.”

Incumbent MP Karl McCartney noted that it had been an “honour and a privilege” to represent Lincoln in Parliament, but also told other politicians that they “must do better.”

Workers Party candidate Linda Richardson explained that she is self-funded and urged voters across Lincoln to vote differently than they have before to “avoid the same old lines and the same old stories.” Meanwhile, Labour’s Hamish Falconer insisted that MPs will “have to deliver,” and he is “under no illusion of that.”

The Liberal Party’s Charles Shaw argued that people have to realise that “politicians are people too” but called on voters to stand up for what they believe in.

Ms Horscroft from the Green Party followed by insisting that trust in politicians is restored by voting for people you trust, not necessarily the party they belong to. Lastly, Reform’s Jamie-Lee McMillan claimed there should be a system in place to fire MPs if they go back on their word.

Clearly disappointed with the response, Mr Brown noted that only one candidate had even mentioned trust and integrity while others shied away from answering the actual question. This quickly prompted the Liberal Democrat Regional Development Officer for the East Midlands, Clare Smalley’s son Darryl, to ask, “Why didn’t you run?”