Wrexham election candidates have clashed in the only debate held that invited all candidates for the constituency.
Candidates Carrie Harper (Plaid Cymru), Duncan Rees (Wales Green Party), Ian Berkeley-Hurst (The Brexit Party), Tim Sly (Welsh Liberal Democrats), Mary Wimbury (Labour and Co-operative Party) all attended the debate, however Sarah Atherton (Welsh Conservative Party) did not attend.
All candidates were invited the day after nominations closed, and had several notifications since that the debate would be held as well as face to face reminders when we conducted our Q&As. Sarah Atherton told us on the morning of the debate, “Unfortunately I will not be able to attend your hustings today. I am out in Wrexham with the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, discussing my plan to improve health and social care here in Wrexham.” (Atherton did take part in our one on one Q&A videos).
The no-show was the first we have had since covering several Assembly and Westminster elections, and left other candidates unimpressed.
Carrie Harper opened the debate by saying: “I think it’s an absolute disgrace that the Tory candidate isn’t here. One thing about doing any job is you’ve got to turn up, it’s pretty basic really.
“To have somebody not turn up to defend their policy platform and their government’s record is totally disrespectful to the people of Wrexham.”
Mary Wimbury said: “We are all here to audition for being the voice of Wrexham in parliament.
“If you’re not prepared to turn up and be your own voice then I think that’s pretty disrespectful to the people of Wrexham, in particular to see the English health secretary who has no jurisdiction in Wales.”
Tim Sly and Duncan Rees also appeared unimpressed at not having the chance to have a debate with all candidates.
Questions to the the candidates included a range of topics including of course Brexit, the town centre, as well as asking if the candidates believed in their respective party leaders.
The hour flew by, including asking candidates to name a solid tangible thing they would deliver for the people inside the first 100 days as MP.
Debates often end up with something soft and fluffy as a ‘fun’ end, but we thought we would ask who the candidates think people should absolutely certainly not vote for out of their competitors and why.
You can view the full debate video below on Youtube allowing you to dip in and out, or spool through to sections of interest to you:
Thanks to Wrexham Glyndwr University for generously hosting the debates. Thanks to the staff, and of course the team behind the cameras – Ben Hirst, James Veal, Roxy, Michael Frith and Megan Davies.
Thanks to Pete Rogers who artfully hosted both the Wrexham and Clwyd South debate.
You can view statements and our Q&A videos with all candidates for Wrexham and Clwyd South on our dedicated sub section Wrexham.com/election2019/?a=3
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