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Newark Business Club hosted final Newark General Election hustings at YMCA Community and Activity Village in Newark, featuring Independent, English Democrats, Conservative, Reform UK and Liberal Democrats candidates

Election candidates made their final pitches to the public at Newark’s last political hustings ahead of election day.

Organised by Newark Business Club, the debate at YMCA Community and Activity Village was the final opportunity for the public to question multiple candidates at once before heading to the polls next Thursday.

Candidates taking part were Adrian Amer (Independent) Matthew Darrington (English Democrats) Lyn Galbraith (Independent) Robert Jenrick (Conservative) Robert Palmer (Reform UK) and David Watts (Liberal Democrat). Michael Ackroyd (Green) Saj Ahmad (Labour) and Collan Siddique (Workers Party of Britain) did not attend.

Candidates attending the Newark hustings were (from left to right); Andrian Amer (Independent), David Watts (Liberal Democrat), Lyn Galbraith (Independent), Robert Jenrick (Conservative), Robert Palmer (Reform UK), and Matthew Darrington (English Democrats).
Candidates attending the Newark hustings were (from left to right); Andrian Amer (Independent), David Watts (Liberal Democrat), Lyn Galbraith (Independent), Robert Jenrick (Conservative), Robert Palmer (Reform UK), and Matthew Darrington (English Democrats).

More than 90 people attended the debate which featured hot questions, but never got heated, unlike the hustings in Southwell last week.

A wide range of topics were covered over the two-hour event, with questions ranging from the impact of increased housing on infrastructure, defence spending, and support for green initiatives, to the protection of women and girls, and investment in schools and the youth.

Adrian Amer took a strong stance on the environment, saying issues such as house building needed to be done in a more sustainable and affordable way, and flood prevention needed to be taken seriously.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our country and the world,” he said.

“We need an environmental policy which raises the living standards of the people in the country and we must do this for the sake of ourselves and our children.”

Mr Amer added that the only way to tackle many of the complex issues facing the country, such as strikes, was to get Government, businesses and communities together to work out solutions.

He also believes the public should be at the forefront of decision making and their views listened to, saying that residents are the people that know what is best where they live.

In answer to several questions Matthew Darrington, of the English Democrats, repeated his belief that the biggest threat facing the country was a rising national debt

He said that radical action was needed if the UK is to see real change, and that the main parties would only provide more of the same.

He also ruffled a few feathers when making comments about an increasing population, which were condemned as racist and disgusting by a rival candidate.

Mr Darrington added that he believes people should stop buying from supermarkets and should instead prioritise buying locally from businesses in Newark.

Lyn Galbraith said her position as an Independent meant she was not tied to a political ideology and was free to make decisions and ‘represent Newark the way is should be’.

With years of experience as a school governor, she added that she had seen the pressure put on young people first hand and believed more needed to be done to support them.

This included a need for more apprenticeships, and to abolish tuition fees which she said were too much of a financial burden.

She also said the government needed to look at the national farming practices and that we needed to ‘make British food for British people’ instead of being reliant on imports.

Mr Jenrick urged voters to look at his ten-year of experience as Newark’s MP and what he called his record of delivery in the area.

Candidates attending the Newark hustings were; Andrian Amer (Independent), David Watts (Liberal Democrat), Lyn Galbraith (Independent), Robert Jenrick (Conservative), Robert Palmer (Reform UK), and Matthew Darrington (English Democrats).
Candidates attending the Newark hustings were; Andrian Amer (Independent), David Watts (Liberal Democrat), Lyn Galbraith (Independent), Robert Jenrick (Conservative), Robert Palmer (Reform UK), and Matthew Darrington (English Democrats).

The Conservative recalled what he had achieved in office, saying that he had brought ‘record levels of investment to the area’ to fund project including the Southern Link Road, the duelling of the A46, town centre investment and the rebuilding of schools.

He said: “I have tried to fight day and night for the people of this constituency, to be accessible and take up injustices wherever I see them.

“Having a good MP makes a difference. If we do wake up to a Labour government, you deserve to have an experienced and capable MP with a genuine track record of getting things done.”

Mr Jenrick added that more needed to be done to tackle the migrant crisis, and said he was in favour of house building as a ‘form of social justice’.

He ended by saying: “I love Newark, please help me to ensure that this area has the representative it deserves down in Westminster.”

Reform’s Robert Palmer believed many of the UK’s funding issues could be solved by scrapping what he deemed as unnecessary policies, such as net-zero.

He argued that the move away from fossil fuels and what he called the ‘Green Agenda’ was crippling the economy and making life harder for young people.

When questioned if candidates would support green industry and innovation, he clearly stated “No!” and added: “We still live in a carbon economy. All this market interference to introduce utopian ideas are crippling our society — it is just lunacy.

“We have more and more regulations which are becoming too restrictive and expensive, meaning our young people can’t afford houses, they can’t afford cars. We have to de-regulate.”

Mr Palmer also said the country needed to reduce international payment funds and instead ‘look after our own’.

Summarising, he said: “If we’re going to make changes in society we’re going to have to make different choices. Reform are the only party offering a real alternative.”

This election marks the fifth time the Liberal Democrat David Watts has stood for parliament, and he said his party had learnt from its previous mistakes, particularly on student loans.

He also disagreed with those taking a negative stance on the environment, saying that government needed to lead on clean energy initiatives and crack down on pollution, in particular sewage dumping.

Most of all Mr Watts preached fairness, saying: “We want to provide a fair deal for everyone and that is what I would like to do as your MP.

“We know that Keir Starmer will be the Prime Minister next week — what we do in Newark is not going to decide the next government.

“But the question is who will hold them to account? Who will be the most effective opposition? Who will be a voice for people in Newark?

“I genuinely believe I am the right person to deliver and I would be deeply honoured if you would put your trust in me.”

The UK General Election is scheduled to take place on July 4.

The candidates confirmed for the Newark constituency are (listed alphabetically):

• Michael Ackroyd - Green Party

• Saj Ahmad - Labour

• Adrian Amer - Independent

• Matthew Darrington - English Democrats

• Lyn Galbraith - Independent

• Robert Jenrick - Conservative

• Robert Palmer - Reform UK

• Collan Siddique - Workers Party of Britain

• David Watts - Liberal Democrats

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