The parliamentary candidates for Lichfield and Burntwood have given their verdicts on the hustings at Speakers’ Corner.
The candidates tackled questions from a first-time voter, environmentalist and the local credit union.
However, Labour’s Chris Worsey used his closing remarks to criticise Conservative hopeful Michael Fabricant for not being there.
“I would like to thank the organisers for what has been a fantastic event, but I would just like to say how disappointing it is that Michael Fabricant could not find the time to be here,” he said.
However, the former Tory vice-chairman has since explained that he was out campaigning in Burntwood.
Class War party candidate Andy Bennetts used the platform to encourage people who really wish to vote to back Green Party candidate Robert Pass.
He said: “My message is not to vote because voting is pointless.
“But if you really feel you have to use your vote on May 7, and you want to vote for a truly progressive party who firmly believe in their values and are not just going through the motions like the other candidates, then vote for the Green Party and Rob Pass.
“If the Green Party swept to power on May 7 things would get better for ordinary men and women, but they won’t because the political system is stacked against all but the main established parties.”
UKIP’s John Rackham dismissed Mr Bennett’s claims of racism within the party.
He said: “I do not agree with Andy’s comments, but I thought Speakers’ Corner was a well-organised event.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for me to put UKIP’s policies across to a wide audience.”
The Green Party’s local spokesman, Simon Partridge, said he welcomed Mr Bennetts’ support.
“I thought it was an excellent event and that Rob was passionate and articulate – he set out his stall far better than the other candidates,” he said.
“Andy Bennetts was the other stand-out performer. If the Green Party could redirect his anger and energy to our cause we would have an even greater chance on May 7.”
Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Ray believes he was the only speaker to give honest answers to voters’ questions.
The lawyer set out why he believes the people of Lichfield and Burntwood should vote Liberal Democrat on May 7.
Mr Ray said: “I am a honest guy, you get no public relations spin from me.
“I thought it was an excellent event and that the audience was engaged and willing to talk about the issues.
“With less than two weeks to go until polling day I feel enthusiastic and energised and I think the Liberal Democrats have had a really good campaign – there are still a lot of undecided voters out there who realise how important this election is.
“We will ensure Labour act responsibly and that the Conservatives act fairly so every vote for the Liberal Democrats is vital to giving us maximum leverage in coalition negotiations after the election on May 7, because no party is going to win a majority.”
The candidates standing in the Lichfield constituency in May are:
- Andy Bennetts – Class War
- Michael Fabricant – Conservatives
- Robert Pass – Green Party
- John Rackham – UKIP
- Paul Ray – Lib Dem
- Chris Worsey – Labour