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  1. Coverage of last night's Cambridge election debate 2017 at The Møller Centre
  2. Four candidates took part in debate:
  3. Daniel Zeichner (Lab)
  4. Julian Huppert (Lib Dem)
  5. John Hayward (Con)
  6. Stuart Tuckwood (Green)
  7. Also standing is Keith Garrett (Rebooting Democracy)
  8. Hear the debate in full on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire on Friday, 2 June from 19:00

Live Reporting

By Orla Moore and Adam Jinkerson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

They think it's all over...

And just as quick as it began, it's all over here at the Møller Centre in Cambridge.

It's been fiery (and that's not just the temperature in the room), with lots of topics discussed. You can scroll back through the feed to read what the candidates had to say on all topics.

So it's goodbye from this lot...

John Hayward (Con)
Julian Huppert
Stuart Tuckwood (Green)
Daniel Zeichner (Lab)

A reminder that Keith Garrett (Rebooting Democracy) is also standing in the Cambridge seat and is vying for your votes on 8 June.

You can also listen to the debate in full on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, tomorrow night from 19:00.

You can also see how our friends at the Cambridge News reported on tonight's debate here.

But from us, that's it. See you soon.

So there we have it

Hannah Olsson

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire political reporter

In such a tight seat we expected a lively debate in Cambridge this evening and it didn't disappoint. It was the audience that made the debate, with great questions that challenged the candidates on everything from inequality to air quality.

One of the most insightful moments of the evening was when Dotty McLeod, who was presenting the debate, asked the audience who thought Brexit was the most important issue of the election - less than half agreed.

With just a week to go, every vote counts in Cambridge. We started the debate speaking to undecided voters, and at the end they'd made their decision. If you're still not sure I hope we've helped you as well!

Cambridge: A city of contrasts

So, that's it. Before we go, let's take a quick look at the seat our candidates have been fighting over...


Political commentators predict the Cambridge seat will be one of the most bitter election campaigns, as it wrestles with the fallout from Brexit.

Labour's Daniel Zeichner won the seat from the Lib Dem's Julian Huppert by a mere 599 votes in 2015, earning 36% of the vote.

Huppert served between 2010 and 2015 – ousted largely because of his party's U-turn on tuition fees and the coalition.

One big thing that could swing it one way or another will be whether the city's very vocal 34,000 university students have all registered to vote - their voice may now be crucial.

The constituency is top of the list of seats the Lib Dems most want to win back, but the recent local elections didn't reflect that. Labour has seven county council seats – Lib Dems have five.

Cambridge has a population of 114,740. Fewer than half - 51,774 - ticked the box in 2015.

cambs 2

The crisis in social care

We've now reached the final question in tonight's debate.

Mary Nathan asked the panel who they thought was responsible for caring for the most vulnerable in society - and who should bear the cost?

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) - There's a humanitarian crisis in our NHS system. We need to make sure the money goes to the right places by abolishing the internal NHS market.

What I'm pledging to do is back the NHS reinstatement bill. I think the Tories' plans for a 'dementia tax' are disgraceful.

We need to pool our resources together.

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) -All of us should bear the brunt of social care. We need to pay nurses more. Let's not drive them out of the county. We need them. We can't have nurses going to food banks.

We need to get more cash in. We would put £2bn into social care and £4bn into the NHS. That would make a real difference.

BBC Cambridge debate: Funding and staffing the NHS

Audience member Giovanna Mead is a community nurse. "As a nurse passionate about the NHS," she asked, "I want to know how you will increase the funding for the NHS and make sure there are enough staff?"

Daniel Zeichner (Lab) - We would pay people properly to transform morale. Stop the privatisation of our public services. The NHS is treasured. Direct provision needs to be funded properly.

John Hayward (Con) - The NHS should always be free at the point of delivery - I use the NHS a lot myself and am aware of what staff do. The parties all agree about the pressures on the NHS - an ageing population, plus a million people access it every day. We are committing to £8bn in real terms increase over the next Parliament. But we cannot put more money into it without a strong economy.

Improving 'intolerable' air quality in the city

On to health now...

A former Lib Dem councillor in Cambridge, Sarah Brown, put this to the panel: "I'm asthmatic and the air quality in Cambridge is getting intolerable. What do the candidates propose to do about this?"

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) -It's a really important question. We have to transition people off of diesel. There's also loads to do with electric vehicles.

We need more sustainable transport and renewable energy - from sustainable sources.

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) - It's massively important and a disgrace it's taken so long. It costs us something like 250 lives a year.

We would like to make sure car manufacturers are fined and use that money to invest back into public transport and cycling.

We want to take the diesel buses off the road.

Daniel Zeichner (Lab) -One of the first things I will do if I become transport minister is to retrofit old buses [in effect, adding new tech to old kit].

It's cheap to do and will stop people getting ill.

John Hayward (Con) -I'll do what I've already been doing which is meeting with other locally-elected representatives, including the newly-elected Mayor of Cambridge, to help them deliver on their plans for a metro scheme for Cambridge, and get cars off the road by creating a world-class transport system.

Stopping 'cuts' to schools

The next question is from Tony Davies, the head of St Matthew's Primary in Cambridge.

"Schools are having to make huge cuts," he said. "Children will have less resources, school buildings will deteriorate, what will your party do to stop this happening?"

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) - Schools in Cambridge have been underfunded for a long time now - at this time when they are struggling, the government concentrating on grammar schools is wrong. The teacher workload is too much - we want them to be able to concentrate on teaching and without the stress of over-testing.

John Hayward (Con) - I come from a family of teachers and have been trying to empower the lives of others in education all my life. Let's put this current snapshot into perspective - small decreases lately seem huge. Funding has not been fair for some time, I agree. No school will lose out. This government is putting record amounts into schools.

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) - Schools have been grossly underfunded since the '80s - £500 per pupil is less than an average school. We got £23.2m extra for schools. The Tories have caused huge harm - we must protect the pupils - support teachers with better pay - this obsession with grammar schools and free schools is causing harm.

Daniel Zeichner (Lab) - Tories have been lying about this - there are more pupils. It's an education election for me - parents and teachers who know there is a crisis in their schools - they're getting begging letters. Every school will get extra teachers with Labour.

Education and the thorny subject of tuition fees

The mood has changed and we're on to education now. A member of the audience - called Alistair - hopes to go to university in September. Can the panel win him over on the subject of tuition fees?

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) - Tuition fees are something I've always been opposed to. In 1997, Labour said they didn't want to put up tuition fees, and then they did.

I would love to see an abolishment of tuition fees. If there was a vote to get rid of them, I'd vote for it.

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) -It's not right that fees are now the highest in the world. I don't consider £21,000 to be a high enough wage to start paying back fees. You shouldn't have to get a lifetime of debt just to get education.

The Greens have consistently said we would get rid of tuition fees.

An audience member then asks about funding for schools, as well as universities...

Daniel Zeichner (Lab) -This has been a hugely controversial issue. This is a huge opportunity for young people.

We're a rich society. The question is, should we keep that money locked up in businesses? Wouldn't it be good to put an end to the blame of school cuts and just get on with funding them again.

John Hayward (Con) -It's right that we continue to help the people that are the most disadvantaged people in society.

I'm proud of the Conservatives for increasing maintenance loans and introducing apprenticeships which will transform young children's education routes.

Brexit and a city at the heart of disease research

Dr Jon Clarke of Alzheimer’s Research UK said Brexit will have a big impact on the biomedical research community in Cambridge. "How would the panel support efforts to find treatments for challenging diseases?"

John Hayward (Conservative) - I have a background in science so I'm passionate about it. I'm proud of the record in dementia research and want to see it taken forward. I am sure that a smart Brexit will enable our universities to keep these partnerships. There will be no doors slamming closed on this.

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) said he was terrified that controls will make it harder. "We are already seeing students stopping coming here. I don't see a good answer rather than keeping free movement."

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) said huge numbers of people have come from the EU but the Labour party said free movement was over. "We need to invest more in encouraging the science community here."

Daniel Zeichner (Labour) - It's crucial to the city's future. It is key that we are part of regulatory systems so we cannot slow down access to new innovations.

The big issue on everyone's minds - Brexit

Cambridge was one of the most pro-Europe parts of the country in last year's referendum. Almost 74% voted to Remain.

Cambridge entrepreneur David Cleevely asked: "What do the candidates propose to do to prevent the Remainers being blamed for the disaster that we will face in two years' time?"

Election panel

John Hayward (Con) - I'm an internationalist, I'm an optimist and I'm positive about the future of this city.

I think we will be able to secure a good deal leaving the EU. It's about making sure the UK and Cambridge remain the best place for science. I'm positive about this country and city.

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) - The best way to avoid it is to not to have that disaster. It will threaten the county.

We have to protect EU citizens. They are our friends, neighbours and colleagues. We have to stay in the single market and protect freedom of movement.

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) - It's a hugely worrying situation and we have to get the process right.

However, we need to respect the vote and move forward. However, people need to have their say before we leave.

Daniel Zeichner (Lab) - If we continue going the way we're going, it will be a disaster. If labour wins, the rights of EU nationals will be secured.

The way we avoid disaster is to get rid of the Conservatives from government. Then we're on a different path.

Reversing this 'tale of two cities'

In January the Centre for Cities think-tank labelled Cambridge the most "unequal" city in the UK.

Getting the debate under way is Diana Minns from the city's Dawn Project. She asked: "As someone who works with vulnerable people in Cambridge every day, can the candidates tell me how they are going to reverse this tale of two cities in Cambridge – a place of plenty for some and a place of struggle and just-about-surviving for others?"

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) talked about the comparison between the wealthy and those using food banks. He wanted to end the "sanctions regime" so people at the bottom get the support they need. "Wealth must be shared properly - we need to look at Brexit issues so the effect on the economy is managed effectively".

Daniel Zeichner (Labour) said it was "so shaming to have people sleeping rough - it wasn't the case in 2010". "What we are seeing is consequences of the coalition government - it doesn't have to be like this. Make the people at the top pay more."

BBC Cambridge debate: Affording a home in one of the UK's most expensive cities

Maddie Juniper asked: "What steps would the candidates take to ensure that the many Cambridge residents unable to buy their own place to live are not left to be exploited by investors and landlords?"

Daniel Zeichner (Lab) said: "So many people dread rental coming up for renewal - what we are saying is that we move to three-year tenancies. We need more homes too - the Labour council negotiated for 300 new council homes. It is important that we get building. We should stop new houses being bought up by foreign property investors."

John Hayward (Con): "I'm amazed that friends are paying more rent per month than I pay for a mortgage. The Housing White Paper will help people renting, such as 'right to buy' schemes, but also measure to prevent developers sitting on empty land and measures to stop foreign investors too - and to speed up building of new properties."

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem): "The thing that will stifle Cambridge is the cost of housing - nurses and teachers cannot afford to live here. The creation of an ombudsman, letting agency fees, we have to keep working on this. We need to change the tax system. We have to end the 'right to buy'."

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) - "It threatens the future stability of Cambridge. The housing market is broken. Over the last seven years the cost of houses have gone up. We need to build 100,000 affordable houses by the end of Parliament and help those going into the rental sector."

BBC Cambridge debate: Why focus on Brexit when housing is in crisis?

The average cost of a house in Cambridge is more than £501,000 - 16 times the average salary.

Jez George, the chief executive of Cambridge United Football Club, asked the panel why there was a tendency to focus on Brexit instead of local issues, when "Cambridge has unacceptable inequality despite its perception of wealth".

John Hayward (Conservative) - I think the voters of Cambridge have two questions. The national question and the local question. Nationally, do we want to continue with the economic growth seen nationally?

And locally, do we want someone who is pledging to be a strong voice for Cambridge, or do we want an ex-MP who is shouting angrily from opposition benches?

I am passionate about social justice. I've worked with families all over the world.

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) - People should look at local MPs and not just look at what's going on nationally.

It's not just financial equality. There's a school inequality and a health inequality. I aspire to more than that in Cambridge. You have to give poorer people more money.

I'm also looking at a living rent which people can afford, not these inflated prices.

Opening statements

Our candidates have all had an opportunity to give their opening statements.

Julian Huppert (Lib Dem) says he is "passionate about Cambridge and its values".

John Hayward (Con) - "I'm not a typical career politician. I bring a wealth of real-world experience to the role."

Stuart Tuckwood (Green) - "I believe in finding a long term solution to the problems Cambridge faces."

Daniel Zeichner (Lab) - "It's important to tackle the big traffic problem Cambridge faces."

We're off!

Health and safety talk over, we're under way...

We have a full house!

Lib Dem Julian Huppert is followed by Conservative John Hayward (top), Green Stuart Tuckwood (middle) and Labour's Daniel Zeichner (bottom).

John Hayward
Stuart Tuckwood
Daniel Zeichner

We're almost ready to go...

Our first candidate is here...

... And it's Lib Dem's Julian Huppert, complete with yellow rosette.

Julian Huppert

Half an hour to go...

Last minute rehearsals are under way for tonight's debate, which kicks off at 18:30.

Dotty McLeod warming up
Tech rehearsals

I'm sure you don't need reminding, but we're geared up for an interesting debate, with Labour winning the Cambridge seat from the Lib Dems in 2015 by just 599 votes.

Meet the panel: Daniel Zeichner (Labour)


Daniel Zeichner lives in Cambridge and is a former student at King's College. He became MP in 2015 at his fifth attempt. Beforehand he had variety of jobs in the public and private sectors and ran his own business. He also voted against triggering Article 50.

What he says: "I'm independent. I don't just blindly follow the party line - I rebelled over tax credits, by voting to support changing to a proportional voting system and on staying in the European Union. I do right by Cambridge. I will stick to my principles and never sell-out."

Meet the panel: Stuart Tuckwood (Green Party)


Stuart Tuckwood studied nursing at the University of Glasgow and now works as a nurse at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. He is part of the "Cambridge Health Emergency" group that works to prevent cutbacks at Addenbrooke's and the Rosie maternity hospital.

What he says: "In Cambridge the Conservatives have little chance of success. Voters here should vote for what they believe in. The Green Party are fully committed to supporting the free movement of people, a fully public and funded NHS and free higher education."

Meet the panel: Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrat)

Julian Huppert grew up in Cambridge and was the city's MP from 2010-2015.

Dr Huppert trained as a scientist, working on unusual DNA structures and their role in controlling cancer. Since losing his seat he has returned to the University of Cambridge.

What he says: "I worked flat-out as the MP and it is a huge commitment. However, the EU referendum and the toxicity that it has caused finally persuaded me that I couldn't just sit it out."


Meet the panel: John Hayward (Conservative)


Going alphabetically, here's our first candidate...

John Hayward studied genetics at Cambridge University and has had a career in international development, and lately as professional manager of the Conservative Party policy forum.

What he says: "Of all the candidates standing for election here in Cambridge, I am the only one who would have any influence with Theresa May and government ministers. As that famous dancer, Ed Balls, has noted, for any MP 'the only way to stand up for the people you represent is to be in government'."

Where are we tonight?

Tonight's debate comes from the Møller Centre - a dedicated conference centre at Churchill College in the University of Cambridge, established in 1953.

The centre is one of the iconic sights of Cambridge, standing proud at the back of a flowing green, parallel to Madingley Road.

It has a history of connections between political leaders, not least as the building was inspired by the connection between Sir Winston Churchill and Danish shipping magnate Maersk McKinney Møller, whose vision and benefaction created a unique "Centre for Excellence".

More unusually, it houses the Danish-made chairs that were seen at the televised 1960 American Presidential debate between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon. The Møller Centre has the largest collection of Danish furniture outside of Denmark.

It's also home to a rather lovely roof terrace...

View from top of Moller Centre

Tonight's debate is all to play for

Hannah Olsson

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire political reporter

If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me who is going to win in Cambridge, I'd be a happy political reporter.

Labour won the seat by just 599 votes in 2015, and there's a tightly fought battle for who is going to win in 2017.

Labour are campaigning hard to keep their man Daniel Zeichner in Parliament, but it's the number one target seat for the Lib Dems and former MP Julian Huppert is putting up a strong fight to get it back.

If you drive around Cambridge and see all the boards up you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a two-horse race, but the Conservative candidate John Hayward and Green's Stuart Tuckwood have both been working hard to get votes and are confident of improving their party share from 2015.

There are some perennial issues in the city that will no doubt come up tonight, including housing and tuition fees, but Brexit is the unknown factor of this election. There's an awful lot of disappointed Remain voters in Cambridge, and we'll have to wait and see whether the political water that has passed in the last two years has changed where they put their cross in the ballot box.

A quarter of our audience tonight is undecided, as are many people in Cambridge, so for the candidates at today's debate it's all to play for.

Welcome to live coverage of the Cambridge election debate 2017

Good evening and welcome to live coverage of tonight's general election debate between the candidates standing in Cambridge.

We're coming live from the The Møller Centre in Cambridge, where four candidates will battle it out in what is set to be a fiery contest.

The Møller Centre
Jim Barton/Geograph

Kicking off a 18:30, tonight's hustings will see incumbent Daniel Zeichner (Lab) face up against Julian Huppert (Lib Dem), John Hayward (Con) and Stuart Tuckwood (Green).

Keith Garrett (Rebooting Democracy) is also standing in the seat.

Housing and student fees will no doubt be some of the big issues tonight, with Brexit also playing a part.

Labour won the seat from the Lib Dems in 2015 by just 599 votes - something that the Lib Dems will be hoping to overturn.

But with the Conservatives and Greens also battling hard to get your vote, who will come out on top?

Stay tuned...