See candidates debate in bid for your vote

  • Five of six candidates answer your questions
  • Full two-hour debate
  • Candidates set stall out for election

With little over a week to go until the General Election, the candidates vying to become the next MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood have clashed over the economy, NHS, immigration and local emergency services.

Our Great Debate – which can be seen at www.fleetwoodtoday.co.uk – is a two-hour video highlighting what each of the candidates vying for your vote thinks on a number of issues.

Matt Atkins (UKIP), Chris Coates (Green Party), Robin Long (Liberal Democrat), Cat Smith (Labour) and Eric Ollerenshaw (Conservative), debated questions posed by readers after we asked what mattered most to you in the run up to the 2015 General Election on May 7.

Harold Elletson (Northern Party), was unable to attend.

All the candidates were given a one-minute introduction to set out their stall.

Matt Atkins said the 2015 election was “extremely important” with an “uncertain landscape”.

He added: “We feel neglected here in the North West – the Conservatives and Labour have failed to deliver.”

Chris Coates said: “We face a serious crisis in this country – economy, energy and environment are all serious issues.

“This economic crisis is not over. Don’t be fooled. We’re likely to see prices rise again.”

Robin Long said: “I want to fight for a free and equal society. We shouldn’t give in to strict ideologies. There is a common ground.”

Eric Ollerenshaw said: “(We’ve had the) biggest depression since the 1920s, yet we’ve come through it, difficult decisions have got our economy moving.

“I want to stand up for this area in London.”

Cat Smith said: “These ‘difficult decisions’ have hit the poorest hardest – tax breaks for rich are just unfair. There is a fairer way.

“People are very concerned about the NHS. Waiting times are up.

“We want to invest in the NHS and put you first.”

The debate covered topics including food banks, the benefits system, zero hours contracts, tax avoidance, immigration, the voting system, climate change, crime and policing, women in Parliament, the Scottish vote and funding for the NHS and GPs.