WOULD-BE MPs faced questions from students at a college Question Time-style event.
All five candidates standing for Gosport were quizzed on topics ranging from tuition fees to EU membership by an audience made up of St Vincent College students yesterday.
Conservative incumbent Caroline Dinenage appeared alongside Labour candidate Alan Durrant, Ukip’s Chris Wood, the Lib Dems’ Rob Hylands and Green Party candidate Monica Cassidy.
Principal of Gosport’s St Vincent College Matt Atkinson said: ‘It was really good to see the students asking the questions.
‘We’re trying really hard at the college to raise political awareness so this is part of a wider remit we have about how education isn’t just a whole series of courses, it’s about the whole person, they have to be involved in this sort of stuff.’
Head of the student council at the college Peter Redgell, 20, said: ‘I believe this has helped students at the college get more involved with politics.
‘A lot of people didn’t know what the manifestos were or who to vote for or even why they should vote.
‘This cleared up most of it. There will still be some students who are not too sure but this gave them a much clearer view.’
Joshua Hatcher, 18, a student at the college, said: ‘I think today went really well.
‘It gave us a well rounded view of what the candidates were planning to do.
‘It’s important this sort of thing happens in colleges because the youth demographic are famously disassociated with politics and I think this is going to be a step against that.’
The debate got heated at one point as Liberal Democrat Mr Hylands and Ukip’s Mr Wood exchanged views on EU membership and the Green’s Mrs Cassidy and Tory Ms Dinenage traded blows on the economy.
The debate ended with a plea from Clare Powell, student support manager, for the young audience to use their vote.
The News previously reported that Ms Powell called for students to register. This was incorrect as the deadline to register has closed. We apologise for the error..