Election 2019: Pupils ask candidates about knife crime, trusting politicians and Brexit at NewVIc hustings
PUBLISHED: 18:35 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 18:42 05 December 2019
Housing, climate change, knife crime, and Brexit were on the agenda at a NewVIc election hustings event.
Labour candidate for East Ham Stephen Timms and the Green Party's West Ham candidate Danny Keeling faced questions from pupils at the Plaistow sixth form college on December 4.
Candidates from other parties were also invited.
It was a chance for pupils to hear the candidates' views and assess the parties' positions on issues that are important to them, such as education funding and Islamophobia.
NewVIc pupil Hafsa Abbasi, 17, told the Recorder: "One of the main concerns for younger generations is trust in politicians, for them to actually do what they say so it's not just lip-service.
"For students, especially, with issues like education and hate crime, we're all quite vulnerable because we don't have much of a say in it.
"This gave us an opportunity to hear their opinions and plans, and I think it gave us a bit of hope about what might actually happen.
"We know, because we've started to hear their opinions from a young age, that we can also be part of helping and solving these issues together."
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Each candidate addressed the room before answering questions.
Mr Timms called for a second Brexit referendum and also discussed how more council homes were needed to address the "housing crisis" in Newham.
He said: "The council has enough land for 20,000 more homes, but they must be allowed to borrow to build them."
Mr Keeling reiterated the Green Party's remain stance as well as calling for urgent action on the "climate emergency", including the renationalisation and electrification of rail.
"Our trains are slow, they're bad for the environment and ticket prices are soaring," he said.
A more localised issue raised by pupils was how to tackle knife crime.
Mr Timms said it required increasing police numbers, ensuring there are positive activities available to young people, and cracking down on the online sale of weapons.
Mr Keeling said drug gangs were a key factor and his party want many drugs to be decriminalised and controlled through state ownership.
He believed better rehabilitation of offenders was also needed for progress to be made.
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