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Summary

  1. BBC Radio Norfolk's general election debate
  2. Immigration and EU nationals discussed
  3. Candidates discuss Brexit
  4. Debate on NHS and social care

Live Reporting

By Nic Rigby

All times stated are UK

Listen: BBC Radio Norfolk's general election debate

Scroll down for text updates on what the candidates, or representatives from their parties, said.

You can listen again to the debate as it was broadcast on Nick Conrad's BBC Radio Norfolk breakfast show.

BBC Radio Norfolk debate: Summing up

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

Elections are a time when people are supposed to get passionate about politics and it was clear from our debate that many people have strong views about the main issues in this election.

From the EU national worried about her future to the parents concerned about grammar schools or the student who wants young people more involved in politics, there was no shortage of passion.

Norwich
Evelyn Simak/Geograph

And it was matched by the candidates who all argued their cases with conviction.

The Conservatives’ Chloe Smith probably had the roughest ride but candidates from the governing party often do.

David Moreland's views on immigration and the threat posed by terrorism were considered quite strong by many members of the audience but the UKIP representative argued his corner well.

As a former health minister, Norman Lamb for the Liberal Democrats spoke with authority about the crisis facing the NHS while Richard Bearman tried hard to get green issues onto the debate’s agenda.

Sarah Simpson argued Labour’s case as best she could but she was drowned out by the strength of the other candidates.

If we learnt nothing else today it was that this election is not just about Brexit. There are other issues which the pubic of Norfolk feel strongly about. The big question now is has anyone been swayed by what they’ve heard?

Schools and education

Audience member Tony Barton asked the panel: "What are your views on selective education, in particular the creation of new grammar schools?"

Chloe Smith (Conservative) said: "This is something you will find in the Conservative manifesto. We want to create more good school places.

"Conservatives believe that grammar schools are an engine of social mobility. So we are proposing lifting the restriction on that type of school."

Pupils
BBC

Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat) said: "I do disagree fundamentally with grammar schools. The evidence shows that it is precisely the opposite of social mobility it produces.

"We say we should mainting funding for schools. The Conservatives plans would see a 7% cut per pupil in spending by 2022."

Richard Bearman (Green Party) said: "I have been a school governor for 20 years and we know what makes a good school - not a nice new building, not an academy.

"You get a good school by having a good headteacher and a dedicated staff. That is what I support."

Sarah Simpson (Labour) said: "The top tier of the student population don't really need that much more help. Teachers and the education system are serving them well.

"Who are not served well are those with special educational needs. That is our greatest aim."

David Moreland (UKIP) said: "UKIP would endorse grammar schools and have one in every town.

"We also want to encourage businesses to link up with comprehensive schools such as plumbing and carpentary businesses [to encourage pupils to learn new skills]."

Debate briefing: Schools and education

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

Three years ago the head of schools watchdog Ofsted described education in this part of the world as dire and said some of the unluckiest children in the country studied here.

Pupils
PA

Since then there has been a concerted effort to improve standards - often by taking schools out of county council control and turning them into academies.

Several free schools have been set up and last year the Government made Norwich an education improvement zone.

The National Union of Teachers claims there is a funding crisis in education- and they say Norfolk schools face cuts totally £3bn by 2020.

Already some are cutting courses for next year and laying off support staff. This issue is close to many parents' hearts in Norfolk.

NHS and social care

Our next question came from Henry Newton who asked: "Is it time that we except people need to pay for greater proportions of NHS services?"

Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat) said: "I am a strong supporter of the principle of the NHS and free access to health care.

"We all have access to healthcare regardless of our ability to pay. We will put 1p on income tax to raise £6bn and in the longer term have an NHS tax."

James Paget Hospital
BBC

Chloe Smith (Conservative) said: "I do not regret talking about social care because it is one of those knotty issues that need to be spoken about.

"You can't spend as much as you like because there is not a magic money tree."

Sarah Simpson (Labour) said the Conservatives have hit elderly people with a "triple whammy".

She criticised proposed winter fuel allowance changes, ending the triple-lock on pension increases and the taking into account the value of someone's home when means-testing for care at home, which has been dubbed a "dementia tax". "It's brutal," she added.

David Moreland (UKIP) said: "When we go to work we pay tax so when we retire the NHS will look after you and you will get a pension.

"But the NHS can't stand the huge numbers of people coming into this country."

Richard Bearman (Green Party) said: "The problem we have with the NHS is, it is working at full capacity because council social care budgets have been cut and have reduced the ability to get people out of hospitals [freeing beds in hospitals].

"We need to fund this service properly."

Debate briefing: NHS and social care

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

The NHS is always near the top of any list of issues on the minds of voters ahead of a general election. This is probably the second biggest issue in this election.

Norfolk has three main hospitals and over the last few years we have regularly reported on the pressures which they face not just in Accident and Emergency but in other departments and all this against a backdrop of treating more patients and being expected to be more efficient.

Norfolk and Norwich Hospital
BBC

Norfolk has one of the oldest populations in the country - that not only puts pressure on the NHS but social care as well.

The strain of paying for elderly care forced Norfolk County Council to put up council tax by 3% this year.

Care companies struggle to pay the living wage. Norfolk's mental health provision has also been in the spotlight after the Care Quality Commission raised concerns about the standard of care delivered by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation trust.

Terrorism and security

The topic of terrorism is one BBC Radio Norfolk chose to include following the terrible events in Manchester last Monday night. We asked the candidates for their response to security issues.

Sarah Simpson (Labour) said: "You get a consistent message from Jeremy Corbyn. He is very strong and stable. He has been saying for years that peace needs to be part of any foreign policy.

"He does have a point when he says that when we intervened in other people's affairs it has been to our detriment."

Flowers to commemorate victims of Manchester terror attacks
PA

Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat) said: "I think we should all be united in condemnation of the Manchester attack. There needs to be a strategy to isolate extremism working with the communities and the communities must play a part.

"But it is naive to suggest this is not influenced by what we do overseas. The decision to invade Iraq unleashed enormous forces."

Chloe Smith (Conservative) said: "The Conservatives are resolutely backing our police, security services and armed forces with the resources and powers they need.

"We were all overwhelmed and upset by what happened in Manchester and I don't want to see that happen again."

Richard Bearman (Green Party) said: "We have great sympathy for all who were affected by the events in Manchester. These random individuals are evil.

"But spending £100bn on renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent won't help the fight against terrorism."

David Moreland (UKIP) said: "I give my deepest sympathy to the people of Manchester affected by the attack.

"We have got to control our borders. The Border Agency is only stopping and searching 7% of the lorries and cars coming in to our country. That means 93% are not checked."

Immigration and EU nationals

Our second question came from Malika Steed a French national living in Norfolk who asked: "Are the panellists for or against immigration? Would the panel please outline their views on the rights of EU nationals in Norfolk?"

Sarah Simpson (Labour) said: "Labour's position is to defend the rights of EU citizens in the UK and their right to remain.

"With a growing economy we are going to need different skills from people. We need to flexible."

EU graphic
Thinkstock

Richard Bearman (Green Party) said: "Norwich and Norfolk has had a massive history of migration with Dutch, Huguenot and French communities over the years.

"My party welcomes migrants and the free movement of people in Europe. I am not saying no border controls and we do have a complicated process for citizenship."

David Moreland (UKIP) said: "Any Europeans here now should be allowed to stay.

"A lot of them are really useful and highly intelligent people."

The Panel
BBC

Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat) said: "I am in favour of immigration to meet the needs of this country.

"We should recognise the important value these people give to our country. There are also skill gaps where we need people from overseas."

Chloe Smith (Conservative) said: "I sympathise with people from the European Union living in this country."

She said an attempt by Theresa May to make an early reciprocal arrangement on the right of EU citizens in the UK was rebuffed by EU negotiators.

Brexit: Yes or No?

The first question came from Paul Pryce who asked: "How supportive of the referendum result are each of the candidates?"

Chloe Smith (Conservative) said: "I fully support the referendum result. It was a clear result and we have to look forwards now and not backwards.

"We have to get the best Brexit deal for the country. That is what we will be looking for."

EU graphic
BBC

Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat) said: "I voted to remain. I accept the outcome of the referendum and I think the task is to negotiate the best deal to protect the economy and maintaining our trading links is incredibly important.

"Exporters want to export without tariff barriers, this is importants for jobs."

David Moreland (UKIP) said: "I voted to leave and over the last few months the majority for leave has risen to 65%.

"What concerns me more than anything is what sort of deal is Theresa May going to give us. Personally I don't trust the Conservatives."

Audience at debate
BBC

Sarah Simpson (Labour) said: "I am very supportive of the referendum result, although I voted to remain. The Labour Party wants to secure a departure from the EU with the main priority being the economy.

"A hard Brexit is not what the UK needs. We need to make sure of our ties with Europol."

Richard Bearman (Green Party) said: "The Green Party view is we should not have had a referendum. It was a huge mistake.

"If I was MP I'd be fighting hard to retain the environmental protection legislation we have from being in the EU."

Debate briefing: Brexit

Andrew Sinclair

BBC Look East political correspondent

Across Norfolk a total of 58% of people voted to leave the EU in last year's referendum. In Great Yarmouth (pictured) the figure was 71% - one of the highest leave votes in the country.

The one exception was Norwich which recorded a 56% majority for remain.

Great Yarmouth
Stephen McKay/Geograph

Leaving the EU will affect us all in one way or another. Businesses may or may not have free access to the single market, farmers will have to adjust to life without EU subsidies, fishermen will be hoping to have more access to the north sea and there may be restrictions on travel to and from Europe.

But at the moment we don't know the answer to any of those questions because it will all depend on the negotiations which haven't even started yet.

Meet the debate panel

Richard Bearman
BBC

Richard Bearman (Green Party)

Richard Bearman is standing as the Green Party candidate for the Norwich South constituency.

Mr Bearman has lived in Norwich for more than 20 years, and has held various executive roles within Norwich Green Party. He was elected as county councillor for the Mancroft Ward in 2009 and 2013.

Norman Lamb
BBC

Norman Lamb (Liberal Democrat)

Norman Lamb took the North Norfolk seat in 2001 with a majority of just 483. At the last election in 2015, he had a majority of just over 4,000.

Mr Lamb served as health minister in the coalition government and is the party's health spokesman.

David Moreland
BBC

David Moreland (UKIP)

David Moreland is standing as the UKIP candidate for Broadland.

Mr Moreland, who served in the British Army, is a former Metropolitan Police detective and has previously stood as a Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Norfolk.

Sarah Simpson
BBC

Sarah Simpson (Labour)

Sarah Simpson is standing as the Labour candidate for Mid Norfolk.

She was born in a force's family, and studied at the University of East Anglia.

Chloe Smith
BBC

Chloe Smith (Conservative)

Chloe Smith has held the Norwich North seat since she was elected in a by-election in 2009.

During her time as an MP, Ms Smith has been a Minister in the Cabinet office, and a Treasury Minister. She also advises the prime minister and the Conservative Party on youth engagement.

Welcome to the Norfolk Live election debate

In just under a week's time the country will have gone to the polls to elect a new prime minister to lead us through Brexit.

In Norfolk, there are nine parliamentary seats up for grabs: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk Mid, Norfolk North, Norfolk North West, Norfolk South, Norfolk South West, Norwich North and Norwich South.

Five of these are held by the Conservatives. The other two - Norfolk North and Norwich South are held by the Liberal Democrats and Labour respectively.

In a special BBC Radio Norfolk General Election programme, candidates from all five parties took part in a special debate, answering questions from a politically-balanced audience, on a range of issues.

We will have the details here.

The five candidates, Norman Lamb, Sarah Simpson, Chloe Smitth, Richard Bearman and David Moreland
BBC