Hustings raises EU debate

Christ Church, Hipperholme
Christ Church, Hipperholme

Parliamentary candidates fighting for the Calder Valley seat in May’s General Election took part in a hustings debate at Christ Church, Hipperholme.

A range of issues were debated by candidates from the Conservatives, Green Party, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP.

A few hundred people turned out to hear the candidates’ views on issues including health, pensions, employment and housing.

The candidates were also asked about their position on immigration and the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Craig Whittaker, Conservative MP for the Calder Valley, said: “Immigration comes in two parts.

“There is the immigration we can control from places like India, Australia and Pakistan - it’s incredibly difficult to enter the country if you’re from those countries.

“The thing that we can’t control is immigration from Europe, and we’re the only party that has promised a referendum on Europe and promised a renegotiation with the EU.”

Josh Fenton-Glynn, Labour PPC, said: “Public services aren’t being stretched because of immigration, they are being stretched because of under-investement.

”In terms of the EU, I think we should stay in. The CBI has said the EU is worth £3,000 per family - we’re already poorer under this government that we were under the last.”

Alisdair Calder McGregor, Liberal Democrat PPC, said: “People are not coming to this country to scrounge - immigrants claim less benefits on average than native born people.

“I believe in open borders. I do not believe in stopping people from moving around the world - a world where capital can move but people can’t is the wrong way up.”

Paul Rogan, UKIP PPC, said: “I don’t believe you can integrate 1.2 million people into a country without problems.”

Jenny Shepherd, Green Party PPC, said: “Immigration works both ways - there are hundreds of thousands of people from the UK who are living in countries in the EU.

“People should be able to move where they can get the best living,” she said.

“A report by the Office for Budget Responsibility has shown that one of the main reasons for growth in our economy is because of the contribution of migrants - migration has done us a world of good.”