Times of Tunbridge Wells Issue 10 May 6th 2015

Page 7


Candidate concedes he got it wrong over the bedroom tax Lib Dem MacCleary admits church hustings mistake

ON THE SPOT The candidates were grilled by the audience

• Eleanor Jones THE Lib Dem parliamentary candidate who claimed in front of hundreds of people that Labour blocked reversal of the bedroom tax to ‘score points’ has admitted: ‘I got my facts wrong’. James MacCleary said the party had scotched a Lib Dem MP’s attempt to

drop the spare room subsidy in order to use opposition to the policy in its election campaign, at a hustings event last Wednesday. When Labour hopeful Kevin Kerrigan said he ‘didn’t believe it’, Mr MacCleary answered, in front of an audience of some 150 people at St James’ Church last Wednesday, it was a ‘matter of public record’. But when the Times investigated

further, Mr MacCleary admitted he had made a mistake. He said: “I got it wrong. “I did say that but I was angry he’d called me a liar, about tuition fees, in front of all those people and I got my facts mixed – it was actually something Labour had done on tuition fees. “It’s difficult when you’re thinking of so many things,

on the spot like that.” Mr Kerrigan, who was also joined by Green candidate Marie Jones, Conservative Greg Clark and independent Graham Naismith at the questions session, said he hoped the Times would set the record straight. He added: “I didn’t call him a liar and I have no idea what he was on about. “It’s an outrageous thing to say. From 2010, Labour has consistently campaigned against the bedroom tax. I think James was being defensive as even at our last attempt to scrap it, last December, the Lib Dems voted against us. “The bedroom tax went through because the Lib Dems voted for it, like tax cuts for millionaires and tuition fees. “I knew it was nonsense, I think he wanted to deflect from the fact they’re responsible. “You shouldn’t be able to make things up, should you?” As the Times reported last month, Ukip candidate Colin Nicholson was not present, as he felt that allowing the ‘smaller’ parties to answer fewer questions than the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem candidates was unfair.

THESE ARE THE LOCATIONS OF THE POLLING STATIONS ON MAY 7 St Matthew’s Church, High Brooms Southborough Community Centre St John’s Methodist Church Hall, Southborough Bidborough Village Hall

Lamberhurst Memorial Hall St Andrew’s Church Hall (Winter Hall) Paddock Wood Day Centre Dowding House Paddock Wood Pembury Village Hall

Langton Green Village Hall

Pembury Baptist Church

Speldhurst Village Hall

Goudhurst Parish Hall

Brenchley Memorial Hall

Kilndown Village Hall

Matfield Village Hall

Hawkhurst Sports Pavillion

Capel Village Hall Arnold Cooke Hall Tudeley Horsmonden Village Hall

St Philip’s Day Centre Tunbridge Wells

Rusthall United Reformed Church

St James’ Church Hall Tunbridge Wells

Bishops Down Cp School Tunbridge Wells

The Salvation Army Hall Tunbridge Wells

St John’s Bowls Pavilion Tunbridge Wells

United Reformed Church Hall St John’s Church Tunbridge Wells Tunbridge Wells St Mark’s Church Hall Tunbridge Wells

St Luke’s Church Hall Tunbridge Wells

Claremont Cp School Tunbridge Wells

Red Cross Centre Tunbridge Wells

Sandhurst Village Hall

Christ Church Tunbridge Wells

The Gallery, Trinity Theatre Tunbridge Wells

St Barnabas Hall Tunbridge Wells

The Library, No 1 Community Centre Tunbridge Wells

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THEY SAID… On whether the UK’s overseas aid budget should be maintained and a source of national pride: Graham Naismith said: “If our Ukip colleague was here, as their manifesto says they don’t like it, I’d like to see him squirm seeing how that fits with children floating face-down in the Mediterranean. “In Nepal now, for example, who would you help? “We’ve got a very good reputation in Sierra Leone, for example, which maybe we don’t see. This question is brilliantly phrased. My mum and dad, who read the Daily Mail, say this has to stop, but when Comic Relief is on, their credit cards come straight out. “This is what defines us. This is what we’re about. “Generosity. We shouldn’t set boundaries, these are children, people, in need of our aid. That’s one British value which defines us.” On the spare room subsidy: Kevin Kerrigan said: “It’s entirely hateful and cruel. “Our national debt has doubled since 2010, from £760 billion to £1.4 trillion – they’re not dealing with it with policies like this. “One of their first acts was to reduce the top rate of income tax, so people dependent on social housing had to pay £14 per week for an extra room, when top earners got 5p more in every pound. People who can pay, should pay.” On whether the proposed extension of right to buy to housing association tenants James MacCleary said: “It would have a catastrophic effect on housing stock. “Replacing each one sold with a new house (as Greg Clark stated would happen) is slightly fanciful. “We have a proposal for people to buy housing association properties by which they rent but every rental payment accrues towards owning it after 30 years. This gives councils time to replace the houses rather than losing all their stock in one bang. “The government changes legislation to allow councils to build houses but they’ve found it hard – developers find it hard with all the experience and money which the councils haven’t got.”

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Wednesday 6th May 2015