A CONSERVATIVE “escaped a climate debate over the fence via the bins” after claiming she was not given enough time to prepare for the questions.

Nancy Bikson, a stand-in for Maria Caulfield who is the party’s candidate for Lewes, left the hustings at Lewes Priory School after 15 minutes stating that she had only seen the questions hours before.

It is claimed that the stand-in, who is a Conservative councillor for Lewes, then tried to leave the venue via the back entrance but was spotted by a teenager 45 minutes later

The post which alleged the incident has now been shared more than 1,000 times on Twitter.

It reads: “She was spotted by my daughter 45 minutes later still trying to find her way off the premises without having to go back through the hall.

“She ended up climbing the fence via the bins.”

The Argus made a number of attempts to contact Lewes Conservatives via phone, email and Facebook but the group are yet to respond to the claims.

The event, which took place on Monday night, was co-organised by Extinction Rebellion and a number of other groups.

Mark Engineer, from Extinction Rebellion said he believed the claims to be accurate, but did not personally see her climb over the bins.

He said: “The only reason we got from [Maria Caulfield] was that she was not attending because she was busy.

“The chair of the hustings pointed out that as a result she was going to have an extra day campaigning while the other rival candidates were discussing the climate.

“The first thing the representatives did was to stand up and talk about their party’s manifesto and what their party was doing about the climate emergency.

“She stood up and made some introductory remarks about how we should all work together to address the crisis.

“She said nothing about the manifesto, nothing about what her party planned to do if they got re-elected and then said she had been sent the questions in advance without enough time to prepare and didn’t feel comfortable to take part in the debate.

“She went out the back-door but there’s a perimeter fence so apparently she couldn’t get out that way.

“Some passerby advised her to go back in but she didn’t want to and apparently she felt the only way out was over the fence.”

Mr Engineer said the event, which was attended by hundreds of people, was otherwise successful and facilitated “good dialogue between the candidates and questions from the audience.”

Candidates from the other major parties who are hoping to unseat Maria Caulfield at the December 12 election took part in the debate.