PARLIAMENTARY candidates standing in Warrington South faced off in a debate this afternoon, Thursday.

The Warrington Guardian hosted the event at its offices at Centre Park – one week before the general election.

Reporter Aran Dhillon chaired the debate between Labour’s Faisal Rashid, Tory Andy Carter, Liberal Democrat Cllr Ryan Bate and the Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) Kevin Hickson.

The Brexit Party’s Clare Aspinall said she was unable to attend due to a chest infection.

A range of issues were discussed including Brexit, green belt development, universal credit, congestion and whether the politicians regret any part of their election campaign.

Mr Rashid, who is defending a majority of 2,549, has reaffirmed he would back Remain in a second EU referendum.


He said: “I have been the MP for Warrington South for two and a half years.

“I have seen the devastating effect of this Tory Government’s austerity policies on our community.

“A vote for Labour is a vote for hope and a bright future.”

Mr Carter, who has thrown his support behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, said: “If you want to get Brexit done there is only one choice at this upcoming election and that’s a vote for the Conservatives.

“Your vote matters, it matters more than ever.

“You can decide more chaos and confusion with Corbyn and his cronies, or Brexit done with Boris and the Conservatives.”

Remain-backing Cllr Bate is supporting calls for a People’s Vote on Brexit.

He said: “I think my message to people here is, if you want to avoid Brexit because you do not believe it is the right course for this country, then you have got a choice to vote tactically.

“My message to those people who are considering tactical voting is look at the evidence and, if you want to avoid Brexit in any kind, then do what you need to do.

“I do think the Liberal Democrats have a credible plan for a brighter future.”

Mr Hickson, who is backing the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal, said: “It is not a wasted vote to vote for the SDP because I will honour my pledge to vote for Brexit but then I will oppose the Conservatives on their other measures that are badly affecting people in Warrington South.

“We will get Brexit done, we are committed to that.

“We need to renew our democracy, which definitely starts with honouring the 2016 referendum result but also decentralising power to the north of England.”

Warrington Guardian:

From left, Faisal Rashid, Andy Carter, Aran Dhillon, Cllr Ryan Bate and Kevin Hickson