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  1. Updates on Friday, 2 June 2017
  2. MP hopefuls debate issues ahead of the general election
  3. The candidates taking part are:
  4. Beth Miller (Labour)
  5. Tom Pursglove (Conservative)
  6. Chris Stanbra (Liberal Democrat)
  7. Sam Watts (UKIP)
  8. Steve Scrutton (Green) stopped his campaign on Thursday

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's the end of our debate

That's it for our live coverage of the Northamptonshire debate.

You've been reading the thoughts of four of the five candidates standing in the Corby constituency. Steve Scrutton (Green Party) suspended his campaign effort on Thursday morning.

Thanks for joining us.

'We are not a poor country' - Beth Miller

Beth Miller (Labour), said: "Labour is committed to our 0.7% commitment [to foreign aid], it is something that so many other countries do and we can afford to do.

"We are the fifth biggest economy in the world.

"People might think it will take away money from elsewhere, but for me it's not a choice of either/or.

"We need to focus on tackling tax evasion, which we lost about £60bn every year to, and it has gone up every year under the current government.

"We are not a poor country."

Beth Miller

'Foreign aid will only increase, and rightly so' - Chris Stanbra

Chris Stanbra (Liberal Democrat), says: "The short answer is we will increase the amount spent on foreign aid.

"As we become more prosperous, our GDP [gross domestic product] will grow and as it does, the 0.7% of it we spend on aid will grow with it... and rightly so.

"We are one of the richest countries in the world. If we can't afford to spend a small amount of our wealth overseas helping the poorest, most disadvantaged people in the world, then that is a poor show and I would never support such a thing."


'Head must rule heart on foreign aid' - Sam Watts

Sam Watts (UKIP), said: "My heart says I'd like to see it [foreign aid] increase, but the reality is we can't afford to keep spending all this money on silly projects - girl bands [in Ethiopia], space projects and things going on in North Korea.

"While there are people in the corridors of our hospitals because they can't get into beds, we have to sort the problems that we have here first."

Sam Watts

'Brexit an opportunity for long-term aid solutions' - Tom Pursglove

Tom Pursglove (Conservative), said: "One of the things about this great country of ours is that we have a long-standing history of giving very generously to good causes.

"Corby people are the most generous that I have ever come across.

"I think it's right that we help those who are in desperate situations. One of the things about leaving the EU is that we can do the right thing by developing countries.

"At the moment we are part of a customs union that often imposes punitive tariffs on poor farmers in the developing world. I want Britain to trade freely, so that's a big opportunity as we leave the EU.

"The prime minister has been clear that she supports the 0.7% [of national income] on aid, I think it's right we support crises when they arise. We will be able to support long-term solutions through free trade."

Tom Pursglove

Read a BBC general election Reality Check feature about overseas aid.

'Should we spend more or less on foreign aid?'

The next audience question came from Adam:

"Do you think we should increase or decrease the United Kingdom's foreign aid budget?"


'More humane ways of controlling fox population' - Sam Watts

Sam Watts (UKIP), says: "I have always stated that I'm not in favour of fox hunting. Never have been. I think it is inhumane.

"In this day and age there are methods to control the population of foxes if it needs to be done - and that doesn't involve a load of posh Tories running around on horses."

'Rid us of this barbaric sport' - Chris Stanbra

Chris Stanbra (Liberal Democrat), says: "I would also vote to get rid of the ban. It's quite right that we get rid of this barbaric, so-called, sport.

"It is not a way to control the fox population.

"I can't believe that if the fox population needs to be controlled that there aren't better, more humane ways of doing it.

"Let's keep the ban."

'Fox hunting is abhorrent' - Beth Miller

Beth Miller (Labour), says: "I'd want to keep the ban, I think it's abhorrent and cruel that this happens even though it's against the law.

"It shouldn't be the case that it happens."

Anti-bloodsports campaigners in London
European Photopress Agency
Campaigners march against repealing the fox hunting ban in London last month

'I'd back fox hunting repeal' - Tom Pursglove

Tom Pursglove (Conservative), says: "I've been very clear on this issue; if there was a free vote in the Commons, I'd vote for repeal.

"I'm not convinced that other methods of control, which are often indiscriminate, are effective at controlling the fox population."

'How would you vote on repealing the ban on fox hunting?'

The next question comes from Sam, who asks:

"Theresa May wants a free Commons vote on repealing the ban on fox hunting.

"If elected to represent this area, how would you vote on this issue?"


'Cross-party consensus needed on social care' - Tom Pursglove

Tom Pursglove (Conservative), says: "This is one of the biggest challenges of our time. One thing I know lots of people hate is politicians bickering, it achieves nothing.

"That's why I've argued for a cross-party commission to be brought together to work for a social care solution. We need something that will last more than one government.

"I also think that we should also build more bungalows because bungalow provision is very helpful to people who have got mobility needs.

"I think Beth is right about flexible working, I'm pleased it is in our manifesto.

"There is lots of agreement, we need politicians to come together and stop ducking the issue."

'Bring back workers rights' - Beth Miller

Beth Miller (Labour), says: "If I was elected as your MP, I'd be all over trying to find out from people here - the people who know best - how we can best help people.

"One way is more flexible working conditions, so that people can take the time off to look after relatives, but equally knowing that they have workers rights to do that.

"That's one thing Labour are incredibly strong on.

"A lot of care professionals are on minimum wage, they are unappreciated in many respects.

"Labour would bring their wage up. I think these people deserve a lot of respect."

'Join up the NHS and social care service'

Chris Stanbra (Liberal Democrat), says: "My mother-in-law has early on-set Alzheimer's, my father has multiple conditions. He needs a lot of care.

"The point there is that we all have someone we know or love who has a social care need.

"That means we, the people, have to have the will to pay for that social care, we need to join up the NHS and social care.

"There are only two ways to pay for increased social care, one is more tax and the other is we stop paying for something else.

"I personally we think we should all pay a bit more tax so we can have the system that we want."

'Back to Basics' - Sam Watts

Sam Watts (UKIP), says: "We are an ageing population.

"My brother is severely autistic and has to live in a special home with 24/7 care. We had great difficulty finding something local to us. Originally he went to Cambridgeshire and I didn't drive at the time so it was very difficult for me to go and see him.

"One of the things I would like to see is some thinking outside the box. Ultimately, when people we know are ill we want to be with them.

"I want a system where we help families move closer together. With regards to house-building, it would be nice to see some of the social houses contain a granny families can live together, but have their own private space.

"The whole thing needs to go back to basics, and look at the perspective of those dealing with these issues."

'How will you overcome the social care crisis?'

The next question comes from Roger, who states:

"I'm not asking for party policy, I want some free thinking. This country has an impending social care crisis. What ideas would each candidate propose to overcome and stabilise this crisis?"

Audience debate

'Schools being let down by the system' - Sam Watts

Sam Watts (UKIP), says: "I went to comprehensive school in Corby and got a great education.

"I think where schools are failing, lessons must be learnt, but schools are being used as a political football.

"It's not the fault of the children that go to these schools that they are being let down by the system.

"The reality is Tom [Pursglove] has been in place for two years and nothing has improved with our schools.

"He is failing our children locally."

'Governments and local authorities must be able to intervene on failing schools' - Chris Stanbra

Chris Stanbra (Liberal Democrat), was asked how his party will find the extra £7bn for education, and he replied: "That's coming from reversing some of the Conservative tax cuts that have been put in place for businesses.

"We think it is important the money is directed into education, and clearly there is a problem.

"Tom [Pursglove] has talked about £1.3m, I challenge him to assure us that that means no school in this constituency will suffer a cut - I don't think he can do that.

"Regards failing academies, someone needs the power to step in and act.

"It's not just saying 'find another sponsor', who may be failing elsewhere. It's about government or local authorities having the power to step in and make sure a school improves."

'Corby schools will be better off under new funding plan' - Tom Pursglove

Tom Pursglove (Conservative), says: "I care about this because I was comprehensively educated in Wellingborough, I know the value of a good education and I had inspirational teachers who I will always be grateful to.

"I've been to see the minister to ask what is going on in relation to this, and the figures I've seen show in this constituency we will be £1.3m better off a year under a new funding formula.

"One of the problems we have had in north Northamptonshire, and I accept that this has been under the governments of both sides, is that our public services have been under-funded, relative to other areas.

"We've announced in the manifesto an extra £4bn for education.

"We have also been clear that there will be no cash losers as a result of this change to the fair funding formula.

"We have to identify new sponsors for these schools and there is a lot of best-practice locally that we can learn from."

'Academy project has failed' - Beth Miller

Beth Miller (Labour), says: "One of my leaflets addresses the education cuts in this constituency, which total £10m - that includes all our local schools and the early years centres.

"That means around 240-300 fewer teachers.

"The money that has been wasted on pet projects by Michael Gove and others in the Conservative Party on these academies...are just not working.

"These schools are good, we need to work on making them the best we can, but we could have spent money on our existing schools.

"My old school is going to face cuts of £1,700 per pupil per year.

"That's kids from working class areas; bigger class sizes, less support for special educational needs and fewer opportunities."

'What will you do about Northamptonshire's failing academies?'

The next question came from audience member Isabelle, who had a question regarding education.

She asked: "What do you think should happen to all the failing academy trusts across the county, and the schools that failed?"

audience debate

An academy trust, which ran five schools in Northamptonshire, had its funding terminated following a series of poor Ofsted inspections. Five of the 12 schools sponsored by the Education Fellowship Trust (TEFT) were rated as "inadequate" in March.

'Leave campaign's £350m NHS pledge was a lie' - Sam Watts

Sam Watts (UKIP), says: "The vote Leave bus said £350m would be invested into the NHS.

"That was a lie, I accept that and I think Boris Johnson made it very clear that it was a lie.

"But what it does mean is that there is still money that does still go to the EU, and when we do leave, it is naturally going to go back to things in this country.

"I would like to see the money given to local or district government so they can decide what priorities they have.

"Again, it's about speaking to local people, finding out what the local needs are and using that money where it would be best spent.

"I'm a former police officer, I stood for the role of Police & Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire last year, and we need safer streets with more community police."

'1p income tax rise to bankroll health service cash injection' - Chris Stanbra

Chris Stanbra (Liberal Democrat), says: "If we leave the EU, there may well be some money to be spent on other things.

"As a Liberal Democrat you won't be surprised to hear that I'd much prefer we didn't leave the EU - but, if it happens, I'd like to us to stay in the single market and customs union as I think they are good for our economy.

"Nevertheless, there is money to be spent on the health service - we are proposing one penny on all bands of income tax to raise £7bn to spend on the health service.

"We are also saying we would spend £300m a year on front line and community policing and we'll free up councils to build council housing that is desperately needed in this country."

'A million more homes under Labour' - Beth Miller

Beth Miller (Labour), says: "Thousands of people in this constituency voted to leave the EU because they thought they'd get £350m back. I know there has been uproar locally because of the fact they were promised this, and they've not got it.

"The Tories claim to be the party of defence and security. I don't get that impression with the police officers being cut, the housing crisis - the lowest house building rate since the 1920s.

"Labour have promised that we would build one million more homes.

"Half would be social or affordable homes.

"I know Corby Borough Council have done great work on this, we have three big developments in this constituency - and that's because of the Labour-led borough council, not the Tory government who have stifled house building."

'I'll campaign for health and police funding' - Tom Pursglove

Tom Pursglove (Conservative), who won the seat from Labour in 2015, and backed the Leave campaign.

He said: "One of the reasons I campaigned to leave the EU is because I want to take back control of the money we send to Brussels.

"I wasn't part of the vote Leave campaign - I had nothing to do with the £350m a week figure on the side of the bus.

"But when we leave, we'll be able to spend the additional money, the net part of it, we will be able to decide how we spend it.

"I think it's absolutely right to redirect some of it to the health service and to the police, for example.

"That's something I will be campaigning for."

'Where will money saved from leaving the EU be invested?'

The first question comes from audience member, Ed, who asks: "Is there going to be any more investment in the NHS, police and housing when we stop paying huge amounts of money to the European Union?"


'Corby constituency an indication towards the national picture'

Sam Read

BBC Radio Northampton politics reporter

Corby is an area defined by growth at the moment. Thousands of new homes coming to the town and the area around it make it one of the fastest growing parts of the country.

That creates challenges for public services in areas like health and education and these are key issues for this election campaign.

But also present is the decision to leave the EU, Corby had the highest proportion of Leave voters in Northamptonshire, at 64%.

This has been a marginal seat throughout its history - swinging between Labour and the Conservatives.

Two years ago the Tory majority was around 2,400.

If we can use past form as a guide, it's likely whichever party wins here will be forming the next government - what's known as a "bellweather" seat.

Corby 2015 general election results table

Meet the candidates

Two weeks ago, the Corby constituency candidates debated local issues and you can see what they talked about on our BBC live page from 22 May.

Today the same candidates are back (bar one) to debate county-wide, national and maybe international issues.

Here's a reminder of who they are:

Beth Miller
Beth Miller (Labour)
Tom Pursglove
Tom Pursglove (Conservative) - defending the seat he won in 2015
Chris Stanbra
Chris Stanbra (Liberal Democrat)
Sam Watts
Sam Watts (UKIP)

Steve Scrutton (Green) was due to attend, but suspended his campaign effort on Thursday morning:

Steve Scrutton
Green Party

Welcome to the Northamptonshire general election debate

Hello and thank you for joining us for our main Northamptonshire general election debate.

We've travelled across the county to meet the people hoping to be voted into the House of Commons on 8 June.

Last night at the Corby Cube, the town's election candidates debated some of the key issues and answered questions from an audience.

You can listen to the debate on BBC Radio Northampton between 18:00 and 19:00.

We'll also be bringing you the main points here, after a look at the panel.