Labour Party hustings – Nottingham University, June 28, 2015

The candidates: Jeremy Corbyn, Yvonne Cooper, Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham.
Q1 Economic downturn
JC We made a large mistake in not reacting to the Tory claims. We made mistakes in PFI contracts. We allowed the Tories to blame us. Austerity means inequality and Greece is a good example.
YC We mustn’t fall into the trap laid by the Tories. The deficit is coming down but the deficit did not cause the financial crisis; the crisis caused the deficit. When Labour was in power we were on the climb. Leman Bros did not crash because of we did not have enough doctors or nurses.
EK We have to put the record straight, but the only way we will win the next election is when people trust us on the economy. We need to invest in the infrastructure of the country. We must not let the Tories set out the agenda for staying in Europe.
AB Labour did not fix the roof when the sun was shining: we fixed the roof to stop the rain getting into school, classrooms and hospital wards. The deficit was too high, so we must get the public to trust us on putting that right. We have a Labour plan based on growth and quality jobs.
Q2 The threat is IS
YC Our hearts go out to all those affected. We have had to deal with that threat in the UK. We have experience of extremism and Cameron has decided to divide and blame, so we must tackle extremism at its source, and talk to the many different communities.
EK It’s been horrific. We need to take up the challenge to work with those communities where that threat may be happening. We need to work so that our social services have the right back up and we must meet them in our mosques and help them stop radicalisation.
AB We need to support our police officers. This is a campaign against extremism. I want to work with all communities everywhere.
JC What happened was appalling. We should connect with all people; we want to work with all societies. What is happening in Palestine and the growth of Islamophobia must be addressed. We must stop being a major world power, stop trying to be the world’s policeman.
Q3 Votes at 16
EK We have to be more relevant to young people and do much more about getting them involved. Politics for young people has to change.
AB I am aware that today it is so much harder for young people to make their way in the world. I want an education system where every school pupil has the chance of leaving for an apprenticeship or university. I want to see votes at 16.
JC At the General Election less than half the young people eligible to vote did so. This does not reflect what they are thinking. We have to have a charter that involves the young people.
YC The Tories were able to make it more difficult for young people to vote because they were able to work it out that the young were not going to vote. That is wrong. I want to see votes for 16 and 17 year-olds. They have interests such as Climate Change, which is very important, and we need to ensure that young people vote Labour.
Q4 Immigration
AB I want to get an immigration policy that means we can have some pride. The current Tory system is clearly not working and I will not follow the UKIP and Tory line. We need to develop the support of people throughout Europe so that we can work together.
JC We have to defend the large contribution of the people who come here. Immigration is not a problem; it’s something that we should be proud of.
YC We have to give people the right policies and those are the policies we fought the General Election on. People want a system that’s fair, but also a system that recognises that there are different types of immigration. The UKIP way is not right: they are a divisive party.
EK This was a big issue for voters and something we need to talk about in our Party. There have to be real benefits for our public services and businesses. People are moving around now more than ever.
Q5 Decommissioning Trident
JC Yes. I joined CND many years ago and I am still a member and a Vice-Chairman. I want us to join a non-nuclear world.
YC I want to reduce nuclear weaponry, but I do not think we should do that unilaterally. It would be very easy to stop Trident, but I do not think it would be a responsible move.
EK We all want to live in a peaceful world. I think we do need nuclear from a position of strength. If we are to be part of that world then we must make difficult decisions. I think it is right to commission Trident.
AB I think No: we should not decommission Trident. Yes to multi-lateralism. As Prime Minister my first duty is to the safety and security of this country. The lessons we have learned are that this Party has to make difficult decisions.
Q6 Climate Change
YC This is a very important question and we did not talk about it enough before the last General Election. We need to build our standards. We should have a sound platform globally. We have to have more investment and research into renewable energy for the future.
EK We have lost our way and under the Tories we have gone backwards. We are a windy island and renewable energy will provide many jobs.
AB I think we have lost our way a little because the Green Party used it on their agenda. We need a policy on how we are going to tackle Climate Change. It is a Labour issue. There needs to be a complete moratorium on fracking. All our energies should be directed towards making renewable the way forward.
JC We need to be tougher on biodiversity. We need to look at the whole energy industry. We need to make stronger arguments and have a longer debate on his whole issue.
Q7 Anti-austerity
EK We are going to suffer the real effects of this after the next budget. We have to offer an alternative and we need to restructure our welfare system. We have to find an alternative.
AB I do not believe that we can win an election unless we tackle the economy. We were not trusted on the economy. We need a strong economy, but we will take longer to pay down the deficit. This Party must be credible on the economy.
JC We have to change the neocon agenda. We have to reverse the policies that enrich the richest and hurt hardest the poorest. We have some good policies, but we were still going to make cuts in public expenditure. We have to educate the people that austerity is a failed system.

YC We supported the economy at the time of the financial crash, and now we have to pay down the deficit that resulted. With Osborne it’s all a matter of cutting back; we want a stronger business sector that’s growing and will pay the deficit off because of it. Growth will provide the answer under Labour, and that will end austerity.
Q8 Housing benefits and private landlords
AB I want to give local councils more power over providing their own properties. We need to help them build more homes and give them the backup they need. We need to give councils the power to borrow money to build more houses. We need to end the problems that we have today.
JC I think we need to control the way that private landlords charge exorbitant rents, and that also means building more houses.
YC We need more social housing and we need to build more homes. People are desperate to buy their own homes, and this will mean more houses and we can have an ambition for 300,000 homes a year. That’s far greater than the last Government’s target and far. Far greater than they have achieved.
EK We need to build affordable housing. This needs to be all types of homes and a lot more that are affordable. We have to give local people more say in local developments in their areas.
Q9 What will you do if you don’t win?
JC Been an MP since ’83 and will carry on campaigning.
YC This is not ‘win or die’. We are people who have been elected to serve the country and that is what we will continue to do.
EK I have a life outside politics. I will continue to fight for what I believe in as a Labour Party member.
AB I will spend more time with my season ticket. I have stood for two Party leadership elections and have demonstrated my loyalty under four leaders. That would not change.

Q10 How different from Ed Miliband will you be?
YC I am not going to knock anyone. Ed Miliband was right. The issue is not about an individual it’s about the Party and reaching out. We need to reassure our members and supporters, and the voters.
EK People do not trust us on the economy and taxation. We were not able to say the right things to people who were running their own businesses. We need fundamental change in our economic policy to put things right.
AB Ed Miliband took inequality as a central issue for the Party and raising the security for people in work. I am my own man, but I am also loyal to the leader.
JC The media is at fault. I want to see our Party to bigger and change from the top down. We should look to our economy and stop the austerity because that was what lost us the General Election.
Two minutes each
JC I wanted Ed Miliband to stay and for us to finish the debate on the way forward. We have to confront the neocon agenda. We have to think about how the banks are ruining Greece. There’s a global humanitarian crisis and we have to look to whatever our role should be.
YC I feel that we have let the people who voted for us down: we can never do that again. We lost to UKIP, the Greens and the SNP, and we have to reach out to those people and win them back. Diversity of the people makes us stronger and that strength will help the Party. We must also reach out to business and show them they can trust us. Let’s break the glass ceiling and have a woman as Labour Leader.
EK The truth is that we lost the General Election because people did not trust us on the economy. We have to be positive and persuade the voters we can be trusted. We cannot stick with what we have been saying for the last five years. We must turn the page. Sound basic finances, but understand that we can create the country that we want. We have to get people out of Whitehall. I think I will be the leader that the Tories fear.
AB I am in this campaign to win in 2020 because I want to win. I will take Labour out of Westminster. I will trust our councils and councillors. I will give this Party its pride back. Not Free schools, no Academies: just schools doing their best. I want to win and beat the Tories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *