Election candidates for South Suffolk quizzed during hustings in Sudbury

South Suffolk election candidates at a hustings at St Peter's church in Sudbury.

South Suffolk election candidates at a hustings at St Peter's church in Sudbury. - Credit: Archant

Voters in south Suffolk had a final chance to grill Parliamentary candidates on everything from global warming, proportional representation and nuclear weapons to local issues such as the Sudbury bypass.

South Suffolk election candidates at a hustings at St Peter's church in Sudbury.

South Suffolk election candidates at a hustings at St Peter's church in Sudbury. - Credit: Archant

All six people standing for election in the constituency attended the hustings, which was held at St Peter’s church in Sudbury on Wednesday night and was organised by Churches Together in Sudbury & District.

These included Labour’s Jane Basham, Conservative James Cartlidge, Robert Lindsay of the Green Party, Liberal Democrat Grace Weaver, Steven Whalley from UKIP and Stephen Todd of the Christian People’s Alliance.

More than 250 people attended the event and around a third of those said they were still undecided about which candidate should get their vote.

As the evening progressed, it was clear that all six prospective MPs had very different priorities. Mr Cartlidge said it was “absolutely critical” to work with the county council to improve broadband speeds across south Suffolk, while Mrs Basham said she was committed to scrapping the bedroom tax, which she said had forced many families in the area to have to use foodbanks. Mr Todd said his party’s priority was to strengthen families, while Mr Whalley pledged to spend the first year in the constituency getting to know local people’s priorities.

All six candidates had strong views on whether Sudbury should have a western bypass to help solve its ongoing traffic problems.

Ms Weaver said: “I think it’s a good idea. This town is blighted by traffic congestion and pollution.”

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However, Mr Lindsay did not see building a bypass as a solution and claimed it would “never happen” because of the cost and the possible impact on the local environment.

Instead he would push for better cycle routes and improved public transport in the area. Mr Cartlidge, who has already started a campaign for a Sudbury bypass, said he felt passionately about the issue and used Hadleigh as an example of a bypass that had improved a town dramatically without spoiling the surrounding countryside.

The proceedings ended on a lighthearted note when David Lamming, chairing the meeting, asked candidates to highlight the qualities they most admired in their fellow panel members.

This was the final hustings in south Suffolk before the election on May 7.

For more election coverage, see here