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  1. Voters put questions to a panel of candidates
  2. Updates on Wednesday 29 April 2015

Live Reporting

By Martin Coldrick

All times stated are UK

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Martin Coldrick

BBC Local Live

That's it for our special election live page. You can continue to air your views on what you saw by using #GE2015NW on Twitter and if you missed the TV debate you can see it on

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Find your constituency

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Election debate: Your say

You've been responding to tonight's debate on Twitter:

Guy Forshaw

tweets: Grrrr! It was like pulling teeth! I've learned nothing new on this programme tonight! Tedious! Still, I got the ironing done!

Flint Bedrock

tweets: I will patiently wait for the day when politicians actually answer the questions. Meaningless political jargon!

'Peace, equality and justice'

Finally, Asama Javed for Respect says: "The clue's in the name. Respect to the people, respect to the voter.

"It's about peace, equality and justice."

'Invest in NHS'

Mary Creagh for the Labour Party says: "We'll invest in your NHS, we'll cut tuition fees for the next generation, we'll freeze your gas bills and electricity bills."

'We've turned it around'

Greg Mulholland, for the Liberal Democrats, says his party took a "very brave decision" to go into coalition.

"We've turned it around, we have the fastest growing economy in the G7, with 2m more jobs."

The Lib Dems will "stop the conservatives from veering to the right and Labour to the left," he says.

'Long-term plan for country'

Julian Smith, for the Conservatives, says the party has "led on a long-term plan since the last election.

"We're getting our economy back on track. It's not totally healed but we've got to continue with the plan we have which is creating jobs in Yorkshire, dealing with our debts."

'Britain invented parliamentary democracy'

Jillian Creasy, for the Greens, says: "We do need to show people that we want to make their lives better and we can't talk about having a stronger economy without talking about a fairer economy."

Jillian Creasy

Toby Horton, for UKIP, says: "Britain invented parliamentary democracy. It was the pride and glory of our nation.

"In the last 30 years it's been taken away and the British people want their parliamentary democracy back."

'Why should we vote for you?'

Anil Bami now asks the last question of the night in this special general election debate.

"In 15 seconds, sum up why the people of Yorkshire should vote for you.

He warns them this could be their last chance, "so don't blow it!"

'We're on the right track'

Julian Smith, for the Conservatives, says his party has got the economy back on track.

"It's not perfect... but we've started a plan, we're on the right track."

Meanwhile, Toby Horton for UKIP says his party "treats the voters as adults".

'Economy's in a mess'

Asama Javed, from Respect, says: "The economy's in a mess, let's not beat around the bush."

Asama Javed

"The question is how, rather than blaming the Conservatives or Labour, we deal with that mess here and now."

A man in the audience says that while people have been offered thousands of "goodies" by politicians over the past few weeks, but "how can we trust who's going to deliver?"

Economy 'must work for working people'

Mary Creagh, for Labour, says the last government was "no friend to the North".

"People are working harder, for longer, for less," she says.

Her party will "reform the economy so it works for working people here in Yorkshire".

Small businesses make 'massive difference'

Julian Smith, for the Conservatives, says more jobs have been created in Yorkshire than in the whole of France since 2010.

Small and medium businesses have made a "massive difference" to the economy in Yorkshire, he says.

Under a Conservative majority government, that will continue, he adds.

Devolution 'must go further'

Greg Mulholland, for the Lib Dems, says it's "time to be bolder".

Greg Mulholland

With city deals, the regional growth fund and more decision-making in Yorkshire, it must go further, he says.

"We've shown we can do it here and we now need more and more powerful devolution to areas like Yorkshire."

'Need shift of economy to Yorkshire'

Jillian Creasy, from the Green Party, says the government must put more money into manufacturing in places like Sheffield.

"We need that shift of the economy up to Yorkshire."

She adds that she's "not at all happy" about HS2 which she believes will "suck the economy in the opposite direction rather than up north".

'Take control of our destiny'

Toby Horton, from UKIP, says with his party in government, people would see the "sunny uplands of prosperity".

"We want to spend our money on our own people.

"Trust the people, reduce red-tape, let small businesses flourish and grow, and take control of our own destiny again."

Yorkshire economy in focus

The next question is from Jane Cockroft.

She asks: "What would a change of government mean to Yorkshire's economy?"

EU is 'major issue'

Tom, who posed the original question about the EU, says it's become "a major issue" for voters.

A woman in the audience adds: "People voted for the Common Market, not what we have now."

'The EU is bust'

Toby Horton, for UKIP, says Britain spends £20bn a year on the EU.

Toby Horton
BB c

"What nobody says is that the EU is a failed project. Greece is bankrupt, it's been broken by the Euro project. I hate to say this, but Portugal could follow, then Italy and Spain, every very sadly France.

"Do we really want to be a part of this project? The EU is bust."

EU 'ought to be more democratic'

Jillian Creasy, for the Green Party, says she "certainly" wants a referendum on the EU.

She says the EU should also be reformed: "It ought to be more democratic. But we're strongly in favour of the EU.

"It's good to have that trading bloc, it's brought peace since the Second World War."

'We shouldn't fear EU referendum'

Julian Smith, for the Conservatives, says he's twice voted in the last parliament for a referendum.

He says: "We shouldn't fear it. We've not had a referendum on Europe since the 1970s.

"This is a huge part of our national life, we have to allow people to have their say."

'Give us a referendum'

A woman in the audience gets a big round of applause when she says: "All the politicians think we're all idiots.

"Give us our own voice, never mind you telling us what we want, you don't have what we want. Give us a referendum."

Harry Gration asks for a show of hands in support of a referendum. It's about a 50-50 split.

EU 'is in Britain's interests'

Mary Creagh, for Labour, says her party has made it clear there will be "no future transfer of powers without a referendum".

She says it's also clear that it's in Britain's "strategic and economic interests" to remain an "outward-focused, economically engaged country with our European partners".

The priority is to "get the economy working, not to be distracted", she concludes.

'People should be asked' over EU

Asama Javed, from Respect, says: "We've got nothing to fear. We should give the people a referendum."

And Greg Mulholland, from the Lib Dems, says "people should be asked".

"I want to argue strongly that we need to stay in the EU," he says. But he adds that it "needs to be reformed".

MPs' 'fears' over EU referendum

The second question is asked by Tom Harrington.

He asks: "What do the political parties have to fear from giving the British people a referendum on continued membership of the EU?"

GPS 'like headless chickens'

A woman in the audience, a pharmacist from north Leeds, says GPs are "running around like headless chickens, trying their damndest for the patients".

However, she says doctors "just don't have the staff or the hours in the day".

'Get together and sort NHS'

A man in the audience says the NHS "is not a political football".

"All we get is negative, everybody having a go at the party in power - whoever it is.

"People just need to get together and get it sorted," he says.

'Money to spend on NHS'

Asama Javed, from Respect, says there's "no doubt" it was Labour who started the "privatisation" of the NHS, followed by the Conservative-led coalition.

"We believe there's £100bn the government is wasting on Trident.

"If you've got £100bn to spend on nuclear weapons... you've certainly got the money to spend on our NHS," she says.

Party committed to £8bn required

Greg Mulholland, for the Liberal Democrats, says the government has increased spending on the NHS "in real terms".

He says the Lib Dems are the only party to have committed £8bn required by NHS England by 2020.

"We're not going to take any nonsense from Mary or Labour about privatisation when it was Tony Blair and the Labour government who set up independent sector treatment centres to do the easiest operations," he adds.

'Scrap HS2, spend on NHS'

Toby Horton, from UKIP, says his party will spend another £3bn on the NHS, with 8,000 new GPs, 20,000 new nurses and 3,000 extra midwives.

"What we're proposing is to scrap HS2, which is to cost £50bn."

He adds that there are "huge areas" of public spending where savings can be found.

NHS 'overburdened by bureaucracy'

Jillian Creasy, from the Green Party, a doctor, says GPs are "totally overburdened by bureaucracy".

She says another problem is that hospitals aren't able to discharge patients "as the social care isn't there".

The Greens would put "much more money" into the NHS.

'End rush to privatisation'

Mary Creagh, for Labour, says there is a "crisis" in A&E with one in four people waiting for a GP appointment for more than a week.

She says there's been the "biggest top-down reorganisation of the NHS ever seen", despite the Conservatives having promised that wouldn't happen.

"We've said that's wrong, we've said we'd scrap it and we'd end the rush to privatisation," she says.

'NHS doing incredibly well'

Julian Smith, for the Conservatives, apologises to Claire for the long wait she experienced but says that A&Es across the country are under "significant pressure".

Julian Smith

However, he says "most people" are happy with the NHS and he adds that there've been one million more operations under the government since 2010.

"Most of us believe the NHS is doing incredibly well," he says.

'Ten hour' hospital wait

Before the first question is asked, host Harry Gration asks the audience how many of them are undecided. About a quarter of them raise their hands.

Claire Schofield then asks her question: "I waited 10 hours at Leeds General Infirmary recently before being seen by a doctor.

"Could the panel explain why our A&E departments are full of patients unable to get GP appointments?"

Facing the voters tonight

The six parliamentary candidates taking part in tonight's general election debate at Leeds Arena are:

  • Mary Creagh, Labour's candidate for Wakefield
  • Jillian Creasy, Green Party candidate for Sheffield Central
  • Asama Javed, Respect's candidate for Halifax
  • Toby Horton, UKIP's candidate for Thirsk and Malton
  • Greg Mulholland, Liberal Democrat candidate for Leeds North West
  • Julian Smith, Conservative Party candidate for Skipton and Ripon

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Good evening

Martin Coldrick

BBC Local Live

Welcome to our live page for the Election 2015: Yorkshire debate being broadcast on BBC One at 22:50.

Leeds debate participants