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  1. Coverage of the North West Tonight debate about the 2017 general election
  2. John Bickley (UKIP), Nigel Evans (Conservative), Lisa Nandy (Labour), Stephanie Pitchers (Green) and Lisa Smart (Lib Dem) taking part
  3. Updates from Tuesday 30 May

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage of the debate

Thanks for joining us for what has been an interesting and far-reaching debate.

If you would like to take another look at what happened, you can find the full debate here.

The panel's final thoughts

The panel are each asked for a final thought.

NW election panel

The Green Party's Stephanie Pitchers says she thinks the country is divided:

Tory policies are making us even more divided.

Labour's Lisa Nandy says:

How we handle post-Brexit Britain is going to be incredibly important to that. The country was split about the direction that we wanted to take and we have to listen to both sides.

Nigel Evans, speaking the Conservatives, says:

The choice is clear - on 8 June, it is either going to be Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn.

Liberal Democrat Lisa Smart says:

It's for everybody to decide who is the best MP to represent you and your area. I've got hope that tomorrow can be better than yesterday or today.

And UKIP's John Bickley says:

The more we see of Theresa May, the less we can trust her. However, she will win because the Labour Party is so awful.

'We need to fund schools properly'

The Liberal Democrats "can be trusted with schools", Lisa Smart says.

She says:

We need to fund schools properly because what we're seeing is that schools are seeing cuts.

I have been a school governor for the last 13 years and I have seen our budget forecast dropping and we are going to have to lose staff. That is not how you improve learning for young people.

'We believe teachers know what's best for their students'

Stephanie Pitchers says the Green Party "has really great vision for schools".

She says:

We want to take away Ofsted because we find that it gets the government to go into schools and impose these really stressful situations on teachers that they don't need.

We believe teachers know what's best for their students. We trust that teachers can teach their students, that they are trained to do so.

We are also going to take all schools out of the free schools and academies systems and put them under local authority control because every time a new free school or academy is opened, it is taking money away from local authority schools and that's not fair.

'There has to be somewhere good for young people to work'

Labour's Lisa Nandy says John Bickley is wrong and who has been through education in the last 25 years will know he "is talking absolute rubbish".

She says:

We have young people in this region who are unemployed in areas where we have vacancies and the question about how you bring those two things together is very important.

We have to invest in young people - schools have been cut - but the flip side is that there has to be somewhere good for young people to work.

In the last couple of years, [the Tories] have destroyed industries like clean energy, which were growing six times faster than the economy as a whole.

'We used to have the greatest education system in the world'

UKIP's John Bickley takes up the idea of grammar schools and how good they were.

He says:

Grammar schools were a great leg-up for working class children and the Labour and Tory Party decided to destroy that system, which was working so well.

The results of that today is if you look at Programme for International Student Assessment, we're 27th in Maths and 22nd in English.

We used to have the greatest education system in the world and we can't even make the top 20.

'We've got to make sure people have the right education'

Nigel Evans says the Conservatives will invest heavily in education to help the young.

He says:

We're of talking of investing another £4bn - this is a real terms increase - in the education of our young people to make sure they have got the right skills.

We're the fifth largest economy in the world - if we want to see that continue, we've got to make absolutely certain we've got the right skills in our workforce for the future and for that to happen, we've got to make sure people have the right education.

'How will you equip our young people to hit the ground running?'

The final question from the audience comes from Sara Lawton, who wants to know the panel's views on education.

She asks: "What will you do to ensure the education system equips our young people to enter industry with the appropriate skills to hit the ground running?"

Sara Lawton

'The truth is politics is about priorities'

Labour's Lisa Nandy says there is a need to "take the political mud-slinging out of the funding for people in care and real needs" but politics cannot seem to get past such things.

Lisa Nandy

She says:

The truth is politics is about priorities and that is deeply political, that is about the different choices we've all made as political parties.

When I look around the North West and I see ambulances backed up outside of hospitals and I see nurses who haven't had a pay rise for seven years, some of which are visiting foodbanks - when I see those huge pressing needs, I know exactly what this is, because I saw it growing up in this region under Margaret Thatcher - it is the political choices of the Tory Party.

'Something needs to be done quickly'

Liberal Democrat Lisa Smart says something must be done to stop the NHS becoming "a political football".

Lisa Smart

She says:

The health service is too important to be this political football - that's long-term Lib Dem policy, but in the short term, the health service is in crisis.

Nearly two thirds of NHS trusts finished in the last financial year in deficit and something needs to be done quickly.

What we would do is add one penny on to income tax and ringfence the money from that to spend specifically on the health service.

'We would want another 10,000 GPs by 2025'

UKIP's John Bickley says his party would invest heavily in the NHS if they came to power.

John Bickley

He says:

We will put £11bn per year by the end of the next parliament into the NHS and social care.

We would want another 10,000 GPs by 2025, we would want to lift the cap on medical training places, and we would want to see another 20,000 nurses and 3,000 midwives.

'Vast majority who use NHS think they get excellent service'

Conservative Nigel Evans says the NHS should be the responsibility of whichever party is in power.

Nigel Evans

He says:

I believe the government of the day is the one that is in charge of the National Health Service and at the end of the period, people will make a judgement as to whether it works or not.

The vast majority of people who get service from the National Health Service think they get an excellent service - I've got two members of my own family who are currently receiving treatment from it.

But the fact is the demands on it have increased dramatically over a period of time.

'We are willing to work with other parties'

The Green Party's Stephanie Pitchers agrees with Becky Forest's suggestion for a cross-party solution to the NHS.

Stephanie Pitchers

She says:

We are willing to work with other parties so we can come to an agreement on things like the NHS.

We are more than happy to form a coalition with certain parties who share some of our ideals.

'Is it time for a cross-party solution to the problems in the NHS?'

Becky Forest has a question on the NHS and the way it has "struggled to cope with acute changes by successive governments".

She asks: "Isn’t it time it was managed by a cross-party commission to improve resilience and continuity?”

Becky Forest

Brexit 'means leave the EU full stop'

UKIP's John Bickley says his party simply want to see Brexit delivered.

He says:

We need to get on with it.

All this nonsense with hard Brexit, extreme Brexit, Teresa May's Brexit - this is just politicking.

The British people said we want to leave the EU and that means leave the EU full stop, not stay in the EU Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and leave on Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

All those people that are still here from the EU, please stay, we want you to stay. That has been UKIP's position all along.

'It is shameful that we are treating people in this country like this'

Labour's Lisa Nandy picks up on Nigel Evans' point and wonders why the prime minister has not clarified the situation.

She says:

It would be in her gift tomorrow to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK.

I think it is shameful that we are treating people in this country for a long time like this, but it's also disastrous for our public services.

The NHS in particular that attracts a huge number of doctors and nurses from the EU and applications have now dropped off.

'Common sense' to keep people as they are

Conservative Nigel Evans is asked about Astrid Johnson's Brexit worries.

He says:

It's common sense to say everybody should stay and live and work exactly where they are.

'It would be in our best interests to remain in the single market'

The Green Party's Stephanie Pitchers it does not "necessarily" follow that after a Conservative Brexit, EU citizens will be allowed to stay, live and work in the UK.

She says:

If we face a hard Brexit, then we could face EU citizens who don't know where they stand.

We don't need to leave the single market - 52% of things that are made in the North West go to EU countries, so it would be in our best interests to remain in the single market and to keep free movement of people.

'We welcome you and we thank you'

Lisa Smart of the Liberal Democrats says it is "desperately unfair" that people like Astrid Johnson are being used in such a way.

She says:

What we would do is guarantee your rights to stay here.

You are contributing, so many people are contributing and we welcome you and we thank you.

'Why am I a Brexit bargaining chip?'

A question comes from audience member Astrid Johnson on the topic of Brexit.

She says she is an EU national who has been living in England for 20 years, bringing up an English stepdaughter and working and volunteering.

She asks: "Why am I a bargaining chip?"

Astrid Johnson

Manchester attack: The panel have their say

The panel have had given their opinions on what they think should happen in the wake of the Manchester attack.

Here's what they had to say:

'We need more police so that they can do their jobs'

The Green Party's Stephanie Pitchers also says that the police "have been underfunded", which has not helped in the fight against terrorism.

Stephanie Pitchers

She says:

We need more police so that they can do their jobs.

Something that hasn't been mentioned is that [the suicide bomber] Salman Abedi was known to police, several of his friends and family had reported him and he was banned from his mosque, but nothing was done.

I do feel like this was something that could have been prevented had we had enough police on the ground.

'Make sure our police represents the communities that we all seek to represent'

Lisa Smart is asked if the Liberal Democrats regret the coalition and the cuts that were made to police forces.

She answers by saying the party would invest in policing.

Lisa Smart

She says:

We, as Liberal Democrats, would invest £300m specifically in community policing in all our communities.

Let's not forget that there are representatives of a number of communities who commit terrorist attacks.

I think the other thing that we would do is make sure our police force represents the communities that we all seek to represent.

'It's incredibly important we have the resources we need to keep people safe'

Labour's Lisa Nandy says the problem of dealing with homegrown terrorism has not been helped by the cuts to police forces across the country.

Lisa Nandy

She says:

We've had 20,000 police officers cut from our forces since 2010 and a lot of those police officers have been community police officers, who are our eyes and ears in our communities.

I think we should never again be in a situation where a member of Greater Manchester Police is saying to the home secretary, as happened two years ago, that they simply do not have the resources that they need to keep people safe and is accused of crying wolf.

It's incredibly important going forward after this horrific attack that we have the resources that we need to keep people safe.

'It is all of us against this small minority of people'

Conservative Nigel Evans is asked what specifically can be done to stop the next potential suicide bomber.

Nigel Evans

He says:

The vast majority of Muslims were as appalled as we all were by the scenes that we witnessed in Manchester and we've got to work together to defeat the evil that exists within our midst.

We've got redouble our efforts to work with the Muslim community to root out the people that have already been radicalised.

We've got to use the intelligence services far more than is currently the case and use our schools, bringing the communities together, bringing the religions together - there's not a them and an us, it is all of us against this small minority of people.

'Somehow we've got to connect with the Muslim community'

UKIP's John Bickley is first to answer Dr Chauhan's question about homegrown terrorism.

He says the Manchester attack was "shocking", but "in some respects, it wasn't a shock".

John Bickley

He says:

Those people in Islam who hate us, who've told us quite clearly they want to destroy our way of life, it isn't a shock to them, they have been planning to do this for sometime.

Somehow we've got to connect with the Muslim community and say we're all in this together.

By the mid of this century, one in three people in this country are likely to be Muslim - if we haven't integrated by then, we're going to have big problems.

'What can we do as a society to prevent homegrown terrorism?'

The first question from the audience to the panel comes from Dr Zahid Chauhan, who, in the wake of the suicide bombing of Manchester Arena last week, asks: "What can we do as a society to prevent homegrown terrorism?"

Dr Zahid Chauhan

Who will be debating?

Debating tonight are representatives from the five major parties in the North West, all refereed by BBC North West Tonight's Roger Johnson.

(Left to right) John Bickley, Nigel Evans, Lisa Nandy, Stephanie Pitchers and Lisa Smart

They are:

  • John Bickley - UKIP candidate for Eddisbury in Cheshire
  • Nigel Evans - Conservative candidate for Ribble Valley in Lancashire
  • Lisa Nandy - Labour candidate for Wigan in Greater Manchester
  • Stephanie Pitchers - Green Party candidate for Liverpool Riverside on Merseyside
  • Lisa Smart - Liberal Democrats candidate for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester

You can watch the debate on BBC One or follow it here.

The seats that could decide the election

There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom, but the election campaign will be concentrated in the marginal battleground seats - the ones with small majorities that are most likely to change hands, such as the City of Chester and Bury North.

Marginal seats maps

There's no official definition of a marginal seat but people often look at constituencies where the majority - the gap between the first and second placed parties - is under 10%.

BBC Politics' Peter Barnes has taken a look at the seats being targeted by the parties.

Why education could determine how you vote

Class used to be an accurate indicator of voting habits - but that's no longer the case.

BBC Newsnight's Katie Razzall has investigated the new political divisions in Britain and reports on the education divide.


What do we know about those jockeying for position?

There are more than 3,300 candidates hoping to win one of the 650 seats in the UK's House of Commons on 8 June.

BBC News' Ed Lowther has taken a look at those jockeying for position in the race for election and found there are more women running for office than ever before and very few MPs are quitting.

Charts showing female parliamentary candidates

What you need to know about the general election

BB Politics have put together a handy guide to all the things you need to know about the election, answering questions like "Why is this a 'snap' election?", "How do I register to vote?" and "What are the key dates?".

Ballot box

Which party is ahead in the polls?

Who will win the general election and by how much? The BBC's poll tracker aims to keep track of public opinion and answer those questions.

Check what the latest opinion polls say and follow updates from the BBC's senior elections and political analyst Peter Barnes.

BBC poll tracker

The poll tracker is updated as the campaign continues to unfold.

Welcome to the debate

Hello and welcome to the live page for the North West television debate about the upcoming general election.

We will be bringing you updates about what the representatives from each party have to say as the debate goes out on BBC One from 22:45.

Before it begins, we'll take a look at some of the BBC's other online content around the election and find out a bit more about the people who will be speaking.