The gloves were off last Friday night as Bury St Edmunds’ Parliamentary candidates faced a mixture of well-worn and fresh questions at a hustings hosted by a Christian group.
The constituency’s five hopefuls addressed a packed All Saints’ Church, in Park Road, at the event organised by Churches Together.
Led by chairman John Dixon, David Chappell (Liberal Democrat), Jo Churchill (Conservative), Bill Edwards (Labour), Helen Geake (Green Party) and John Howlett (UKIP) answered questions on social injustice, education, the NHS, climate change, immigration and local issues.
The audience also raised issues relating to the religious community, their role in public office, and supporting persecuted Christians abroad.
With the General Election just days away, the hustings was the most combative so far, with the candidates exchanging targeted blows on policies.
Mr Chappell said: “We went into our negotiations with the Conservatives with a plan and policies we wanted implemented. We have achieved something to give everyone a better chance.
“An MP can ask questions in Parliament to get to the bottom of issues and make sure we have proper delivery of services in Bury St Edmunds.”
Mrs Churchill said: “I have the pleasure of living in the real world, where you have to think before you spend. That is the world we inherited.
“We’ve tried to ensure we have a Britain that lives within its means. Now we need to support those who can and do, and shelter and encourage those who cannot.”
Mr Edwards said: “We have had five years of this Coalition and now have a situation where people are worse off than they were in the beginning.
“We will set a sound economic foundation and move back to something not seen for a while, where the next generation will look forward to a better future than the last.”
Mrs Geake said: “I know people can change things, we don’t always have to live in the way we do now. We can have a new kind of politics which gives everyone a fair share.
“No Green vote is a wasted vote because each one gets our ideas better known. As a party we really punch above our weight.”
Mr Howlett said: “I believe that we can make Britain better, and we have a lot of sensible policies. As a country we can make our own laws and live by them.
“We have enormous debts and this is what our young people will be faced with. We need to cut our costs very rapidly.”