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  1. Voters put questions to a panel of leading South East politicians
  2. Debate was broadcast on BBC One
  3. Updates on Wednesday 29 April

Live Reporting

By Nick Tarver

All times stated are UK

Get involved


Nick Tarver

BBC News

We've come to the end of the live page for Election 2015: The South East Debate.

Thanks for all your emails, comments and tweets. If you wish to watch the debate again it can be found on the


Via Twitter

Peter Mould

tweets: "Must stop watching politicians they make me very very cross #SEVote"

Via Twitter

Chris McBride

tweets: "Economic recovery is not the same thing as prosperity and opportunity. Richest grow and revive economy, but what about everyone else? #SEVote"

Via Twitter

John Search

tweets: "The Green candidate wants to save the planet, how come Brighton's Green council are in the bottom of the league of councils recycling"


If you fancy a behind-the-scenes look at how the debate was put together take a look at BBC South East Today's

Facebook page.

SET debate

TV debate over

And that's it for the TV debate, but don't despair. Continue to let us know your views by tuning in to BBC Radio Kent and BBC Sussex or tweet using the hashtag #SEVote.

Wealth 'doubled'

Labour's Peter Kyle says some people are "doing really well out of our economy".

Tony Blair
Getty Images

He says: "We just found out last weekend that the 1,000 richest people in this country doubled their wealth in the last 10 years."

A mischievous audience member shouts "Tony Blair" - and much laughter ensues.

Debt increases?

Conservative Michael Fallon says he "fully accepts that not everyone has benefited", but the economy is "growing now".

SET debate

UKIP's Mark Reckless says the country is borrowing over 5% of GDP and the debt has increased.

Your views?

What do you think of the panellists' answers on the economy? Tweet using #SEVote

Economy graphic

Louise Stewart

Political editor, South East

tweets: Michael Fallon says "other parties say austerity isn't working, as if we somehow chose austerity" #SEVote

Boris Island

Plans to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary - dubbed "Boris Island" - were r

ejected by the Airports Commission in September.

Map: Thames Hub airport

A new runway will either be built at Gatwick or Heathrow, with a decision due after the election.

Public sector pay rise

Norman Baker says there is optimism in a way there wasn't seven months ago. He said people who have made sacrifices "needed to be rewarded" and suggested pay rises for public sector workers.

Economy statistic

The ONS said the UK's economy rose by 2.4% in 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

Green economy

The Greens' Jenny Jones denied the the South East's economy would be hurt by not building a new airport or runway.

She says investing in renewables would "create far more jobs and be better for the planet".

Economic recovery?

The third question is asked by audience member Robert Stevens, who keeps it short and to the point.

Robert Stevens

He says: "There is no feel-good factor in this alleged economic recovery. Why?"

'They didn't answer the question'

The questioner Kelly Wells seems unimpressed by the panels' answers when asked by host Polly Evans.

Kelly Wells

Her reply receives a round of applause from the audience.

The Greens' Jenny Jones raised the issue of pollution and the effect it was having on the NHS.

Asked by presenter Polly Evans about the source of her figures, she replies to audience laughter: "They are from our manifesto so they must be true."

Patients 'praised care'

UKIP's Mark Reckless represents the area where Medway Maritime Hospital is based.

He says that "for every one person who would complain to me about Medway Hospital, three or four would praise the care".

Via Twitter

Michelle Maher

tweets: #MentalHealth been cut by the coalition as well as support services, the punitive WCA, PIP and sanctions made mental illness worse #SEVote

More doctors and nurses?

Michael Fallon said the coalition had been spending more on the health service and over the last five years there were 9,000 more doctors and 7,000 more nurses.

A&E's in South East

However, the CQC has said six out of seven NHS trusts which run A&E departments in the South East were either inadequate or required improvement.

Via Twitter

Louise Stewart

Political editor, South East

Lib Dem @NormanBakerMP says his party has put mental health on same platform as rest of health services #SEVote

'Unsafe care'

Medway Maritime Hospital is under increased scrutiny with the

latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report saying its A&E failed to protect patients from "inappropriate or unsafe" care.

Medway Maritime Hospital

'Stripping bureaucracy' out of the NHS

Labour's Peter Kyle is the first to answer and says his party would get the NHS "back on its feet again" and had eradicated waiting lists while in power.

Norman Baker said the coalition had "stripped out bureaucracy" in the NHS, adding that it is as important that mental health is treated with the same importance as physical health.

Hospital trouble

The second question comes from Kelly Wells, a charity worker from Rochester, who asks about Medway Maritime Hospital being in special measures.

Kelly Wells

She says: "What can your party do to ensure it comes out and does not go back in?"

Via Twitter

Louise Stewart

Political editor, South East

Audience member says even though she is pro immigration she understands people have concerns about it & change in their communities #SEVote

Via Twitter

Kevin Claxton Clog

tweets: "Labour/Greens miss point: Immigration may be largely good but UK is a small island which can only support so many. This is NOT racism"

'Nobody has to be racist'

Jenny Jones denied her party has an "open door" policy on immigration.

Jenny Jones

She says: "Nobody has to be racist when they talk about setting limits on immigration, but some of the rhetoric has some very nasty overtones - blaming immigrants for all sorts of things.

"Most of our public services would collapse if we didn't have immigrants."

Immigration levels in South East

Both Michael Fallon's and Mark Reckless's constituencies have below average migration.

Europe statistics

The only panellist to be campaigning in an area with above average immigration levels is Labour's Peter Kyle, in Hove.

Country should be 'at ease'

Peter Kyle says immigration has been a "force for good" in the UK.

Peter Kyle

However, he adds people have "heartfelt concerns" about the impact it has had on communities and Britain should "bolster its borders".

Via Twitter

Louise Stewart

Political editor, South East

Michael Fallon admits it was a mistake to use the word "swamped" when talking about immigration and withdrew comment #SEVote

'Come here to work'

The immigration debate should be looked at "rationally and coolly", says the Lib Dem's Norman Baker.

Norman Baker

He says his party and the Conservatives reached a "common position" on immigration during the coalition.

"We want a situation where people come here to work, but don't come here to claim," he adds.

Australian points system

Mark Reckless says the "only party" that can control immigration is UKIP.

Mark Reckless

He says: "All the other parties support freedom of movement within the European Union, unlimited numbers of people able to come from any country within the European Union at will to our country."

He calls for an "Australian-style" points system.

'Public needs reassurance'

The first to answer is Michael Fallon, who says public services and towns in the South East are "under pressure" from immigration.

Michael Fallon

He adds: "I think the public do need reassurance that immigration is not going to be unlimited."

'Racist' immigration controls?

The first question of the night comes from retired supermarket manager Robin Barnfield.

Robin Barnfield

He says: "Can the panel explain to me why every time immigration control is mentioned, 'racism' is the first response from most parties?

"British citizens have the right to know why, and who, has entered this country, irrelevant or race."

Debate begins

With all the panellists in their seats at Chatham's Historic Dockyard, the debate is now under way on BBC One.

SEVote graphic

Please remember to use the hashtag #SEVote to keep up with the conversation on Twitter.

Farage's absence

UKIP leader Nigel Farage - who is standing in South Thanet - had agreed to be a panellist, but chose to pull out to travel to Strasbourg for a debate in the European Parliament about the migrant boat crisis.

Nigel Farage in Strasbourg

Mark Reckless

And the fifth and final panellist is UKIP's Mark Reckless.

Mark Reckless

Mr Reckless would love a repeat of his November victory to win the largely industrial constituency of

Rochester and Strood.

Michael Fallon

Our fourth panellist, Michael Fallon, is standing for the Conservative Party.

Michael Fallon

Mr Fallon's prospective

Sevenoaks seat has been Conservative since its creation in 1923.

Peter Kyle

The third debate panellist is Labour's Peter Kyle.

Peter Kyle

He is hoping to win the

Hove and Portslade constituency, which was taken by the Conservatives at the last election.

Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones is the second panellist of the evening and she is representing the Greens.

Jenny Jones

Her party had one MP in the last parliament, Caroline Lucas, who represented

Brighton Pavilion.

Norman Baker

Introducing, the first panellist, the Liberal Democrats' Norman Baker.

Norman Baker

Mr Baker is hoping to re-win his seat with the Conservatives traditionally forming the

main opposition in the constituency.