Education policy in the spotlight at Gosport hustings

Conservative candidate Caroline Dinenage at the hustings in Gosport
Conservative candidate Caroline Dinenage at the hustings in Gosport
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THE future of education in Gosport and the NHS were among hotly-debated topics at a general election hustings.

St Faith’s Parish Centre in Victoria Square, Lee-on-Solent, was packed to hear from all candidates in the Gosport constituency.

I watched youngsters leave school lacking basic skills in literacy and numeracy.

Caroline Dinenage, Conservative MP for Gosport

Conservative candidate Caroline Dinenage called for a focus on improving the quality of education in the town, with others criticising the Tories’ proposed cuts to the education budget and the reintroduction of grammar schools.

Addressing the audience, Green Party candidate Monica Cassidy said: ‘I could talk endlessly about education – we see a £5bn shortfall and teachers aren’t happy any more.’

Labour candidate Alan Durrant believed that the system needed a major rethink.

He said: ‘The people who should be sorting out the curriculum should be teachers, who know what our children actually need.’

Ms Dinenage responded: ‘I watched youngsters leave school lacking basic skills in literacy and numeracy. It is about increasing the quality of our schools.’

Another point of intense debate was the future of the NHS.

Liberal Democrat candidate Bruce Tennent said: ‘The NHS is very close to my heart, but is failing due to austerity.

‘On top of that, it is taking much longer for people to see their GP – weeks, in some cases.’

Independent candidate Jeffery Roberts claimed that the solution to the NHS crisis was simple.

He explained: ‘There are many solutions to the situation – how about we scrap HS2 and put the money to better use?’

On terrorism, all candidates agreed that cross-party co-operation was the way forward in finding a solution to recent atrocities.

And all candidates agreed that using the Daedalus site for IFA2 was the wrong decision.

UKIP candidate Chloe Palmer said: ‘I don’t think there has been enough research into it. Gosport didn’t agree with it.’

Ms Dinenage added: ‘I am part of the team that has been fighting it every step of the way. Fawley would be a much better place for it.’