IN A DRAMATIC political debate at The Argus offices in the city centre candidates running for the Brighton Kemptown constituency answered questions from readers.

From schools to transport, Brexit, housing and crime, the politicians debated the big issues ahead of Thursday’s General Election.

First the candidates were given the chance to have an opening statement, the incumbent, Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle, said “time and time again Labour has cleaned up the Tories’ mess.

He added: “Walk down the street and you can see the chaos caused by the Conservatives. There are homeless on the streets and schools can’t cope.”

Conservative Joe Miller said he may be “the youngest candidate maybe, but also the most grown up.

He said: “If you don’t usually vote Conservative, hold your nose on Thursday and vote for me. Now it’s time to focus on the people’s priorities.”

The Brexit party’s Graham Cushway said: “Only the Brexit Party is committed to delivering the EU referendum result of 2016.

“Sovereignty must be restored to the people and trust restored to our public institutions.”

Academy schools

The candidates were asked: should Moulsecoomb Primary School be academised?

There was a resounding no from Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle - he has offered for Ofsted to reinspect the school and end the academy process.

Tory Joe Miller has also called for a reinspection of the school, but he has said delays on the academy process “cannot go on”.

“Look at Paca and Baca for some success stories,” he said.

“Being against academies is limiting the most deprived lives in the city.”

Green Hannah Clare said only Brighton and Hove City Council can continue to improve the school.

Graham Cushway said: “The parents are having to put money in and the teachers are putting in their own wages at Moulsecoomb Primary School.”

Joe Miller said the Conservatives have pledged more education funding.

But Lloyd Russell-Moyle said this is not in line with inflation.

“I will not let you get away with banding around these misleading figures,” he said.

“The National Audit Office has written to you to stop using these figures.”

“The national funding formula sends more money to disadvantaged children so they receive more,” Joe Miller said.


A question came in from Daniel Moon: “What will the next Kemptown MP do to tackle traffic on the A259?”

Lib Dem Ben Thomas said increased frequency of buses is needed as well as encouraging more people to use bicycles.

But the Brexit Party’s Graham Cushway says towns like Peacehaven are too far to cycle to.

Joe Miller said people spend too long sitting in traffic and says more shopping and employment opportunities need to be provided in places like Peacehaven.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle said bicycles are part of the solution, but the Brexit Party’s Graham Cushway is adamant this is not the case.

Ben Thomas insists he can cycle from Peacehaven in 28 minutes.

“That sounds like boasting,” said Mr Cushway.

Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle has proposed allowing cars with more than three passengers to drive in bus lanes.


Green Hannah Clare said the Greens support a “people’s vote” to confirm whether the Brexit people voted for in 2016 is the Brexit that will happen.

“Brexit has become very complicated,” she said. “This is about our future and our say.”

The Brexit Party’s Graham Cushway said the People’s Vote is a “sham” as leaving with a deal is “remain versus remain”.

“We want a clean break Brexit,” he said.

“Democracy must be honoured. The 17.4 million people’s wishes must be respected,” Mr Cushway added.

Ben Thomas said the Brexit Party is afraid of the people as the party is not standing in 650 seats.

But Graham said he disagreed with the decision to pull Brexit candidates from Tory seats and believed his party was “coerced” by the media and the Conservatives.

“I’m sure Nigel Farage realised this was a mistake,” he said.

Joe Miller said he would not support a no-deal Brexit, but Boris’s deal instead.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle said he wants a referendum between the softest possible Brexit deal and Remain.

“If we leave the EU, Northern Ireland is gone, Scotland is gone,” he said.

“We will be England, alone in the world, rather than Great Britain.”

“It’s like leaving the gym but still paying your membership so you can use the local swimming pool,” Mr Russell-Moyle said of leaving the EU.

“We’re in the mess we’re in because we triggered Article 50 too early,” Lib Dem Ben Thomas said.

“We didn’t have a plan. Theresa May went to the country with her Brexit deal and she lost.

“I want to revoke Article 50 to stop the ticking time bomb over our country.”

But Mr Cushway replied: “How dare you! This is 17.4 million people and you’re telling them: ‘You’re wrong’,”

“How do you have the arrogance to do that?”

Ben Thomas said he wants to focus on funding at schools and tackling congestion in hospital corridors.

“We haven’t been investing in them because we’re wasting all of our time and money in Parliament debating Brexit,” he said.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle said EU citizens are “scared”, pointing out only 900 EU nurses applied to work in the UK last year.

“They saw what we did to the Windrush generation and they’re scared it will happen to them,” he said.

“In an ideal world there would be no borders and no barriers.

“So the idea of freedom of movement is helping countries to come together. It’s a good thing.”

But Hannah Clare said: “You only have to listen to three of them shouting over each other to realise why people are so tired of Brexit.”

“We have said yes to Europe, but yes to a reformed Europe.”

l Watch The Argus’s live Brighton Pavilion date on Facebook at 6.30pm